The 2020 Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival is going online October 24 – 29! This page will be updated soon with the film and discussion schedule, and with instructions and links to view films. Send us an email to receive festival information by email. We’ve got an exciting lineup of films to share!

Here’s a glimpse of our 2020 program…

Love in Suspenders, a grumpy comedy from Israel.
PolarBear 2
Polar Bears underwater
Love in Suspenders, a grumpy comedy from Israel. PolarBear 2 Polar Bears underwater

ACROSS THE LINE  –  The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is distilled in this tongue-in-cheek short film. Hananel, a young and stubborn religious Israeli is hurrying home for Shabbat from the West Bank. He encounters Munthir, a needy and equally stubborn Palestinian hitchhiker, and they embark on a series of mix-ups that teach them about communication, friendship, and mutual respect. In English, Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles, 29 minutes.

AULCIE  – Aulcie Perry was a talented African-American player rejected by the NBA but recruited to play for the Maccabee Tel Aviv professional basketball team. He quickly became the country’s biggest star, leading his team to victory in international tournaments. He found love with Israeli super model Tami Ben Ami to form an Israeli power couple. His fall from grace and ultimate redemption fuel this uplifting and soulful story, from award-winning director Dani Menkin. AVAILABLE ONLY OCTOBER 24 – 26.  In English and Hebrew with subtitles, 74 minutes.

BLACK HAT   –  An Orthodox married man carries on a secret life. Will his black hat give him away? Meet the producer of this 15-minute short film on the taboo of homosexuality in the Orthodox community on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 5 pm on Zoom! Join by clicking here:

BOX FOR LIFE  –  Noah Klieger has been described as the Forrest Gump of Israel. He joined the boxing team of Auschwitz and become the last living member of that team. Liberated from those horrors, he nearly drowned after jumping ship when the British stopped the Exodus immigrant transport ship to Israel. He fought in the war of independence and then started a career in journalism, covering the Eichmann and “Ivan the Terrible” trials on his way to becaming the oldest active journalist in the world. Don’t miss this amazing and inspirational documentary biography! In English and Hebrew with subtitles, 61 minutes.

A CALL TO SPY tells the thrilling true story of three women who volunteered to infiltrate Nazi-occupied France to commit sabotage and espionage. Available to view starting 8 pm Saturday, October 24. Presented in partnership with IFC Films and Tamar Simon from Mean Streets Management.

Meet writer/producer/star Sarah Meghan Thomas on a Zoom call Thursday, Oct. 29 at 10 am for Q & A!

THE CHOP  is a cute short film from the U.K. about a talented Kosher butcher who applies for a job in a Halal butcher shop. What could possibly go wrong? Have a free taste of the festival! This link goes live October 24:

HATE AMONG US examines the history and recent rise in hate crimes and anti-semitism, from producers Montel Williams and Dean Cain, who are not Jewish.  “It may start with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews.” ONLY AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING OCTOBER 26 – 28. U.S. documentary, 90 minutes.

JAI,  How do Holocaust survivors explain to their dear grandchild about the numbers tattooed on their arms? The answers they give are nothing short of pure life-affirming magic! Mexico, 9 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles. See it here for FREE now:

LEAVING MEMEL, Refugees from the Reich tells one family’s true story of stealth, deception, and survival, from pre-Holocaust Europe through American immigration. Join filmmaker Fred Finkelstein on a Zoom call Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 pm for Q & A about  the making of the film. Reserve your spot here. U.S. documentary, 42 minues.

LOVE IN SUSPENDERS  – This geriatric  romantic comedy features zany and heartwarming characters in odd and emotional situations. Erratic driver Tammy, a 64 year old widow, distracted by the memory of her loving, late husband, inadvertently hits Beno, a bitter 70 year old widower. So begins an up and down love affair that will leave you inspired and amused. In Hebrew with English subtitles, 98 minutes.

THE PICTURE OF HIS LIFE  –  Brave, iron-willed Amos Nachoum is one of the greatest underwater photographers of all time. Fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth, his unique photographic approach puts him face-to-face with his dangerous subjects without protection. At age 65 he undertakes his greatest challenge: photographing polar bears underwater in the open sea. Another stunningly beautiful film from directors Yonatan Nir and  Dani Menkin. English and Hebrew with subtitles, 75 minutes.

SUSTAINABLE NATION profiles three Israeli entrepreneurs solving environmental problems around the world: in Israel, India, Africa, and even in the central valley of California. An inspiring documentary film for anyone who holds dear the Jewish values of tikkun olam, healing the world, and seeks sustainabe solutions to current environmental challenges. In English and subtitled, 60 minutes. Presented in partnership with OpenDor Media and Tamar Simon from Mean Streets Management.

THEY’RE WITH ME  –   Rachel is a lovesick thirty year old whose broken engagement has left her emotionally paralyzed.  But  that is about to change when she is visited by her dead relatives, who show up to help her move forward in her life. English, 12 minutes.

See the film here for free now and meet filmmaker Rachel Fleischer on Zoom this Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 1 to 1:40 pm for Q&A.

YOUR WISHES IN HEAVEN  (Tu Boca En Los Cielos) – The North African Sephardic community originated with the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492. This documentary, in Spanish and English, uncovers a treasure trove of Sephardic culture, accompanied by the enchanting melodies of original Sephardic music. In Spanish with English subtitles, 56 minutes.

Please visit this page for updates on the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival’s extraordinary week of films and community events. And please donate here to make our festival possible! The films and venues cost money and we need and appreciate your support!

The SCJFF would like to note that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz. May this lesson from history and the memory of the victims never be forgotten.