The 32nd annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which opened July 19 and runs through Aug. 6, will screen 63 films from 17 countries at seven venues, 125 screenings in all.
With many music-themed films — from the world premieres of “Hava Nagila” and “A.K.A. Doc Pomus” to the West Coast premiere of “Gypsy Davy” — there’s a touch of Woodstock to this year’s festival.
There are many documentaries: topics include Arabs serving in the Israeli army (“Ameer Got His Gun”), Albanian Muslims who saved Jews during World War II (“Besa: The Promise”), a pioneering Jewish American athlete and sportscaster (“Glickman”) and a former Polish anti-Semite who evolved into an Orthodox Jew (“The Moon is Jewish”).
But there are plenty of lighter themes as well: comedies such as “Hello I Must Be Going,” “Dorfman” and the third season of the hit Israeli sitcom “Arab Labor.”
High-profile guests this year include Elliott Gould, who will accept the festival’s 2012 Freedom of Expression Award, author Judy Blume, Jewish rapper Y-Love and director Henry Jaglom.
Organizers, including SFJFF executive director Lexi Leban, promise a festival to remember.
Venues are: in San Francisco, the Castro Theatre and the JCCSF; Roda Theatre in Berkeley; Piedmont Theatre in Oakland and a one-time outdoor screening (Aug. 3) at Oakland Art Murmur; CineArts in Palo Alto; and Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
For ticket information and a complete listing of films, parties and other special events, go to www.sfjff.org or call (415) 621-0523.
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cover illustration/cathleen maclearie