37th Annual Jewish Film Fest Commences
The 37th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has begun. Jewish themed films from around the world will screen at San Francisco’s venerable Castro Theater, Oakland’s New Parkway, among other Bay Area venues. In addition to films about Jews, there will also be films which aren’t about Jewish subjects–it’s the filmmakers who are Jewish.
Examples of this include An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Bonni Cohen’s and Jon Shenk’s sequel to the groundbreaking, Oscar winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth (2006), in which former Vice-President Al Gore’s attempts to educate the world about climate change. The ex-VP appears in the newer film as well–a highlight for festival goers will no doubt be Gore’s appearance at the July 24 screening of the film.
Another timely film scheduled to be screened at noon on Saturday, July 22 at the Castro will no doubt be be Stranger in Paradise, a fiction/documentary about the current refugee crisis. The film is divided into three acts and will be followed by a panel discussion. Panelists will include Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. Hetfield will be joined by Amy Weiss, Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services of Jewish Family and Community Services, East Bay, an Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee and LGBTQ activist.
The Holocaust will be remembered in the docu-drama Paradise, and in Fanny’s Journey–the latter is a Holocaust-era thriller about a group of Jewish kids trying to reach the Swiss border.
Film buffs will love the closing night feature: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, a fascinating documentary about 1940s-50s movie star Hedy Lamarr, who shocked the world when she appeared nude in the 1933 film Ecstasy. A stunningly beautiful woman, Lamarr was also a brilliant scientist who may have given us the technology which brought us wi-fi and Bluetooth. The film delves into Lamarr’s battles to be judged for her brain and not for her looks. Lamarr also hid her Jewish heritage, as the filmmakers note.
Dozens of films will be screened at the festival’s various venues. The festival runs through August 7. Browse the complete schedule here.