The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival wrapped its 38th annual event with the Aug. 6 announcement of this year’s audience award winners, chosen by the festival’s 40,000 attendees.
The best narrative feature award went to the Spanish drama “The Last Suit,” directed by Pablo Solarz. The film tells the tale of a Polish immigrant in Buenos Aires who fulfills a promise made to a friend who helped him escape the Holocaust.
Roberta Grossman’s “Who Will Write Our History,” which had its international premiere at the festival, won best documentary feature. The film, based on the book by the historian Samuel Kassow, recounts the heroic effort by Polish Jews to document what went on inside the Warsaw Ghetto and the steps the Nazi regime took toward the final extermination of the Jews.
Runners-up in each category, respectively, were Claus Räfle’s World War II drama “The Invisibles” and Ron Yassen’s documentary “Crossroads.”
“The SFJFF has a famously opinionated audience, and what better way to thank our loyal attendees for their considered feedback than with an audience award from the mother of all Jewish film festivals?” said Jewish Film Institute program director Jay Rosenblatt.
The juried best short documentary award was presented to “A Perfect Day for Banana Leaves,” Yavin Rubinstein’s look at the bananas grown in Northern Israel and their journey to their final destination in Gaza. As an Academy Award-qualifying film festival in the documentary short subject category, the film will be eligible to be nominated for the Oscar at the 2019 Academy Awards.
The San Francisco Film Critics Award for best narrative feature went to Martin Šulík’s “The Interpreter.” The film critics’ organization called the film an “expertly crafted, beautifully acted Slovakia-set film that eloquently ruminates on the Holocaust’s shattering legacy.”
“Summer,” Pearl Gluck’s narrative short about the sexual awakening of two Orthodox Jewish girls at a summer camp, earned the SFJFF Film Movement Award. The award honors achievement in short-fiction 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.
The 2018 Freedom of Expression Award was presented during the festival to Liz Garbus for her impassioned defense of the free press in “The Fourth Estate.”