Founded in 1980, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), presented by the Jewish Film Institute, is the largest and longest-running festival of its kind and a leader in the curation and presentation of new film and media exploring the complexities of Jewish life around the world. Presenting more than 65 films and 135 screenings, performances and events over 18 days, SFJFF's highly anticipated program attracts over 40,000 filmgoers and industry professionals to venues in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Rafael, Oakland and Albany .
SFJFF presents dramatic and documentary features, television and web series, experimental, and animated features and shorts about Jewish history, culture, and identity as well as films that reflect life through a Jewish lens. The programming staff takes a broad view of what makes a film Jewish and have been known to curate films that are Jew(ish) as well as films about issues that are relevant to Jewish communities and resonate with other cultural communities across the globe. Over the course of nearly four decades, SFJFF has discovered and nurtured international cinematic talents sometimes long in advance of their discovery by mainstream international festivals. Filmmakers exploring Jewish themes often start out their career by having a short film in the SFJFF; many of them return to the SFJFF with feature length documentaries and narratives.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is now an Academy Award® qualifying film festival in the Documentary Short Subject category.
SFJFF Audience Award
Inaugurated at the 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (2017), the SFJFF audience award is chosen by ballot from all 40,000 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival attendees. All selected films are eligible for consideration. Audience Award categories include Best Narrative and Best Documentary.
SFJFF Best Short Documentary Award
Another newly introduced award at the 2017 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, this juried award honors achievements in short documentary filmmaking. All selected short documentaries in the Festival are eligible. The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is an Academy Award® qualifying festival in the Short Documentary Subject category. Recipients of SFJFF's Best Short Documentary Award will be eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards®, without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award
The San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, inaugurated at SFJFF37, represents a new partnership between the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the influential community of Bay Area film critics. The 2018 SFJFF Film Critics Circle Award will be presented in the category of Best Narrative Feature.
SFJFF Film Movement Award
The SFJFF Film Movement Award, co-presented with distributor Film Movement, honors achievement in short filmmaking that expresses the Jewish experience in a unique, original, and meaningful way, or provides a fresh perspective on diversity within the Israeli or Jewish community. SFJFF selected shorts of any genre or style - live action, animation, documentary, etc. - are eligible for the award. The award-winner is announced at the close of that season's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and receives the option of a non-exclusive, DVD and streaming distribution deal with Film Movement.
The Freedom of Expression Award
Since 2005, the Jewish Film Institute and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival have presented an artist with the Freedom of Expression Award to honor the unfettered imagination, which is a cornerstone of a free, just and open society.
You may submit your film to the 2020 SFJFF beginning on October 15, 2019.
There is only one deadline for the Festival: February 10, 2020.
All entries must be RECEIVED by February 10, 2020.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival showcases new independent American and international Jewish-subject cinema. Now in its 40th year, the Festival is the oldest and most prestigious Jewish Film Festival in the world, with total attendance of approximately 35,000. The Festival presents dramatic, documentary, television, experimental, and animated features and shorts about Jewish history, culture, and identity. The 39th festival will be held at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre, with additional screenings in Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Rafael.
Deadline and Fees
All entries must be RECEIVED by February 10, 2020.
$25 - Shorts (under 50 min)
$35- Features (over 50 min)
Complete entry forms can be found at the Festival’s web site at jfi.org
Look for the “2020 CALL FOR ENTRIES” link on our homepage and submit through FilmFreeway
Exhibition Formats and Subtitling
The Festival screens DCP, ProRes, BluRay, and 35mm. All non-English language films must be subtitled in English.
Feature length narratives and documentaries should not screen or broadcast in Northern California prior to or during the Festival. Please note that Northern California includes the metropolitan areas of Sacramento, San Jose, Contra Costa, Monterey and the Napa/Sonoma Valleys, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Preview Screener Format
Preview screeners can be either online links or DVD (NTSC format preferred; PAL and non-region 1 DVD permitted). Screeners of foreign language works must be subtitled in English.
The SFJFF accepts rough cuts of almost completed films as Festival entries. Rough cut entries must have an expected completion date of May 1, 2019 or earlier.
Packaging & Labeling
If mailing a DVD, please label your DVD with the title, director’s name, shipper's name (if different from director) and shipper's address.
Returning Preview DVDs
We are not able to return preview DVDs unless you include a stamped self-addressed envelope with your entry. If you choose not to include a stamped self-addressed envelope and your film is not accepted into the Festival, your submission(s) will be destroyed.
Cost of Shipping Previews
All preview DVDs costs, TO and FROM the Festival, must be paid by the sender.
We suggest that entries from outside of the U.S. be sent via Air Mail Registered or by an express service. We cannot accept preview entries shipped via air freight if customs and delivery fees have not been prepaid.
You must affirm with your signature on the entry form that you are authorized to submit this film to the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. If your film/video is accepted, your signature also authorizes us to retain a copy of the submitted work in our non-circulating Festival archive and to use a two-minute promotional excerpt from it for festival promotion and on the web in perpetuity.
You will be notified of the outcome by email by June 8, 2020.
To enter works or for further information, contact:
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
145 Ninth Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94103