Founded in 1995, the Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF) is an annual, 11-day and year-round cinematic exploration and celebration of global Jewish and Israeli life, history, complexity, culture and film for everyone. SJFF is the largest and most highly anticipated Jewish event in the Pacific Northwest and a mainstay in the Seattle arts calendar, attracting approximately 7,500 diverse patrons annually to the festival and garnering international acclaim. SJFF showcases the best international, independent and award-winning Jewish-themed and Israeli cinema, enhanced by educational, family, social, performing arts and year-round programming. The Seattle Weekly praised SJFF as the best ethnic film festival in our region.
The Unorthodox | Opening Night Film
- A spirited and suspenseful David-and-Goliath morality tale about the founding of Israel’s first Sephardi political party, actor Shuli Rand dazzles in this fictionalized (and quintessentially Israeli) story about the rise of the Shas Party. In his first screen role since 2004’s theatrical hit USHPIZIN, his daughter is expelled from religious high school for not “fitting in” (ethnically). That is when Yaakov Cohen (Rand), a Jerusalem widower and print shop owner, resolves to fight back and even the playing field between the powerful Ashkenazi religious establishment and the Sephardi and Mizrahi underclass.
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (with a live performance by Garfield High School Jazz Program Combo)
- A horn riff. A thump of the bass. A tinkle of the keys, followed by the “boom-bap” of the drums. These are the hallmarks of pioneering jazz label Blue Note Records, the first recording showcase of talents like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and many more iconic jazz legends. Gorgeous black-and-white archival photographs, album covers, and stirring video of live performances by jazz greats are underscored by a crisp, rich soundtrack spanning the record label’s 80-year history. ”Beyond the notes,” the unlikely partnerships behind Blue Note Records supported great art and artists and fostered creativity, equality, and freedom of expression. The rise of this improbable empire, founded by German-Jewish refugees in 1939, is chronicled in this new documentary, in which we see jazz as a metaphor for escape from repression, frustration, and restraint.
- The Hungarian prime minister returns from Germany in a coffin, his dream of making Hungary into a fascist state snuffed out—for now. Meanwhile, in Budapest, a beautiful, well-dressed young woman is found dead with only a Jewish prayer book in her purse. To solve the mystery of her demise, a scruffy, unflappable crime reporter enlists the help of a beautiful photographer, who once broke his heart and whom he does not fully trust. Together, they reveal shocking truths about Budapest’s seedy underground crime syndicate and its shady political patrons. A politically charged tale of corruption and betrayal, BUDAPEST NOIR will transport you to an ominous time and dark place, and hold you there spellbound. Based on the bestselling novel by Vilmos Kondor.
Death Metal Grandma
- Ninety-seven year-old Holocaust survivor, Inge Ginsberg, rose to fame as a songwriter for legendary musicians such as Doris Day, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. Follow her journey to break out as a performer in a different musical genre in her audition for America’s Got Talent: death metal. Ginsberg redefines what it means to grow old and reminds us it is never too late to try something new.
For a full list of films visit the event website.