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Art and Heart: The World of Isaiah Sheffer

Art and Heart, Catherine Tambini’s spirited documentary celebrates the life of Isaiah Sheffer, the founding artistic director of Symphony Space and host of Selected Shorts on public radio who inspired everyone from Leonard Nimoy to Stephen Colbert. Paired with Making Morning Star. Academy Award–nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s intimate documentary relates the creation of Morning Star, a new opera by composer Ricky Ian Gordon as he brings 11 years of ideation to life. —Neha Talreja Preceded by Making Morning Star
Wed, Jul 27, 2016 3:20 PM
Thu, Jul 28, 2016 1:30 PM
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 1:40 PM
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Baba Joon

Israel’s submission to the 2015 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film surprises in many ways. For starters, the screenplay is almost entirely in Farsi, not Hebrew. The semi-autobiographical feature film debut from writer/director Yuval Delshad depicts three generations in the Morgian family, Persian immigrants from Iran to Israel eking out a living as rural turkey farmers. Sensitive performances, gentle pacing and refreshing plot twists combine to weave a richly satisfying story. —Emily Kaiser Thelin
Sat, Jul 23, 2016 1:50 PM
Mon, Jul 25, 2016 8:20 PM
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 2:10 PM
Sat, Aug 6, 2016 2:05 PM
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The Bentwich Syndrome

Humorously examining Anglo-Jewish life of the 19th and 20th centuries, directors Gur Bentwich and Maya Kenig embark on a road trip to dissect the origins of their family. An array of aunts and cousins hold court, as well as long-departed Bentwiches, who come to life through zany Monty Python-esque animation. In the end, we become Bentwiches-by-proxy, crammed into the back seat of the family car, enjoying the ride. —Alexis Whitman Preceded by Spring Chicken, Dir. Tamir Elterman.
Mon, Jul 25, 2016 1:20 PM
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 11:50 AM
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Disturbing The Peace

This inspiring documentary finds a spirit of compassion and empathy in an unexpected place: among combatants from both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian divide. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters come together to form Combatants for Peace, a nonviolent group that uses dialogue, theater and art to try to end the conflict. Disturbing the Peace doesn’t shy away from harsh realities and, somehow, still leaves you inspired. —Tamar Fox Director Stephen Apkon in person Preceded by Hitchhikers, Dir. Yair Agmon
Tue, Jul 26, 2016 11:45 AM
Mon, Aug 1, 2016 1:15 PM
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False Flag

Not since Prisoners of War has there been such a provocative, nail-biting espionage thriller on Israeli TV. In False Flag five Israeli citizens wake up one morning to discover that they are suspects in the kidnapping of the Iranian minister of defense. The five become wanted and news coverage turns their world upside down. Their attempts to deny involvement are in vain. Even their loved ones question, could they be guilty? —Lexi Leban
Sat, Jul 23, 2016 8:30 PM
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 6:50 PM
Sun, Jul 31, 2016 6:30 PM
Sat, Aug 6, 2016 6:30 PM
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Fever At Dawn

A Swedish refugee camp doctor gives Holocaust survivor Miklós six months to live. But the young man refuses to die before meeting the love of his life. He sends letters to 117 Hungarian women in sex-segregated camps throughout Sweden. The response of 19-year old Lilli captures his heart and his imagination. Péter Gárdos’s romantic drama, based upon his novel of his parents’ post-Holocaust courtship creates indelible images of heartbreak and hope. —Sara L. Rubin
Tue, Jul 26, 2016 8:55 PM
Thu, Jul 28, 2016 3:45 PM
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 9:00 PM
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For The Love of Spock

“Live long and prosper.” It’s impossible not to cherish those famous words spoken by the beloved half-human Vulcan. Leonard Nimoy, the man behind the pointy ears, left an indelible mark as an artist and as a mensch. Featuring clips from Nimoy’s career and inspiring interviews with the Star Trek cast, director Adam Nimoy has crafted a loving tribute to not only his father, but also to the man we know as Mr. Spock. —Joshua Moore
Sun, Jul 31, 2016 7:45 PM
Mon, Aug 1, 2016 8:30 PM
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Freedom to Marry, The

What’s the definition of a mensch? After watching this inspiring documentary, you’ll have a two-word answer: Evan Wolfson. Founder of the advocacy group Freedom to Marry and the acknowledged “godfather” of the marriage equality movement, Wolfson’s 30-year struggle to bring about justice for millions of gays and lesbians is the heart of this fascinating history that retraces the circuitous path towards legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. —Peter L. Stein
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 3:50 PM
Wed, Aug 3, 2016 8:35 PM
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Germans and Jews

This thoughtful documentary is a subtle examination of the history of Germany’s postwar Jewish population and of the fraught and fragile relations between Jews and non-Jews. Structured around a dinner party attended by Germans and Jews—some of whom were born in Germany, some who are “Germans by choice”—the film negotiates sensitive questions of memory, guilt, identity and redemption with grace and aplomb while giving access to both sides of a crucial historical dialogue. —Seth Barron *SJM: Single Jewish Mom Free Screening
Sat, Jul 23, 2016 12:00 PM
Thu, Jul 28, 2016 12:00 PM
Tue, Aug 2, 2016 4:40 PM
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Holy Zoo

In Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, Israelis and Palestinians work alongside one another to tend to the zoo’s elephants, crocodiles and rhinos. Inevitably, tensions within and across animal species reflect themselves in the mostly good-natured, always edgy interactions between employees, who lead regular tours of Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren through the zoo’s grounds. Katharina Waisburd’s keen eye results in an unforgettable lens into the current conflict in the Holy Land. Preceded by The Mute’s House. —Zoe Pollak
Wed, Jul 27, 2016 12:50 PM
Thu, Jul 28, 2016 4:10 PM
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 4:05 PM
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In Search of Israeli Cuisine

Renowned chef Michael Solomonov explores a diverse world of food drawn from more than 100 cultures. Chefs, farmers, vintners, cheese makers and home cooks discuss their roots and show specialties that both preserve and update traditional recipes using global inspiration. Uniquely and lovingly prepared shakshuka, boreka, maqluba, couscous and a kugel that challenges expectations are just a few of the irresistible dishes featured. Warning: This movie will make you hungry!
Sat, Jul 23, 2016 3:50 PM
Sun, Jul 24, 2016 2:15 PM
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 12:00 PM
Fri, Aug 5, 2016 4:20 PM
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Keep Quiet

Extreme in his anti-Semitic beliefs and denial of the Holocaust, Csanád Szegedi rose up through the ranks to a leading position in Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party, and became a member of the European Parliament. At the height of his political career, documentation surfaced showing that Szegedi’s maternal grandparents were Jewish. In a stunning about-face, Szegedi chose to explore his Jewish roots, study Judaism and make a trip to Auschwitz with Holocaust survivors. —Sara L. Rubin
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 4:40 PM
Wed, Aug 3, 2016 6:30 PM
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Koudelka Shooting Holy Land

Award-winning Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka captures within the frame of his lens how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has changed the landscape of the Holy Land. This documentary shows the man behind the camera, one who is relentless in pursuit of his craft but increasingly dismayed at seeing a land that is holy to multiple faiths disfigured by the erection of walls, barricades and security checkpoints. Preceded by The Man Who Shot Hollywood. —Mark Valentine
Mon, Jul 25, 2016 4:00 PM
Sun, Jul 31, 2016 1:55 PM
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The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh explores the role of humor and its limitations in confronting tragic events, including the Holocaust. It is a journey across a comedic landscape marked by speed bumps, caution signs and potholes big enough to swallow a clown car. Comedic giants like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Sarah Silverman will leave you laughing and appreciating the importance of humor even in the face of events that make you want to cry. - Mark Valentine
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 7:10 PM
Sun, Jul 31, 2016 2:55 PM
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Mr. Gaga

Inspiring and tough, charismatic yet prickly, Ohad Naharin is Mr. Gaga, Israel’s rock star choreographer and the artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company. He is the subject of this exciting new documentary from returning SFJFF favorite, Tomer Heymann. Naharin invented his own playful style of movement called Gaga and returned to Israel to create some of the most provocative and physically demanding choreography of the 21st century. Winner, Audience Award, SXSW 2016. —Tien-Tien L. Jong Audience Award, SXSW 2016
Sat, Jul 30, 2016 11:30 AM
Sun, Jul 31, 2016 11:30 AM
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Natasha

Jewish Canadian writer David Bezmozgis directs his acclaimed short story of forbidden teenage love between Mark, a Toronto slacker and his troubled Russian cousin by marriage. Bezmozgis’s highly provocative and deeply poignant coming-of-age drama features the extraordinarily measured performances of Alex Ozerov as Mark and newcomer Sasha K. Gordon as the sexually precocious Natasha, the dark star who forever alters Mark’s staid, suburban existence. —Thomas Logoreci
Tue, Jul 26, 2016 6:20 PM
Wed, Jul 27, 2016 7:50 PM
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 6:25 PM
Sat, Aug 6, 2016 8:30 PM
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A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone

Bay Area artist and civil rights activist Edythe “Edy” Boone is a sprightly septuagenarian who seems only to gain energy over the years. Since she was a girl, this celebrated muralist (i.e. the San Francisco Women’s Building) has aspired “to develop a new color no one has seen in life.” Her unflagging drive and determination are captured by Berkeley filmmaker Mo Morris in this film’s every frame. Preceded by Arc of Justice. —Zoe Pollak
Fri, Jul 29, 2016 11:00 AM
Thu, Aug 4, 2016 1:50 PM
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Rabin in his Own Words

This examination of the life and times of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is constructed largely from archival footage, photographs and interviews, from Rabin’s early days to his tragic death. Director Erez Laufer (One Day After Peace, SFJFF 2012) takes us from Rabin’s childhood, through his experience fighting in three wars, to his assassination, and reminds us of the possibility for peace that remains for those who want it. —Seth Barron
Fri, Jul 22, 2016 4:15 PM
Sun, Jul 24, 2016 12:00 PM
Wed, Aug 3, 2016 4:15 PM
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