Announcing Jay Rosenblatt’s Next Chapter

Jewish Film Institute
3 min readMar 13, 2024

To our community,

After 15 years as Program Director of the Jewish Film Institute and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Jay Rosenblatt, two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, will be leaving JFI this spring to focus exclusively on his filmmaking. Jay has played an indelible role in JFI’s growth from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival to a robust film institute with a suite of artists services and year-round exhibition programs. He will be sorely missed. We hope you will join us in thanking Jay for his fearless curation and steadfast leadership.

“It’s been a tremendous privilege and honor to work at JFI and to curate hundreds of films for our community. There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing our audiences appreciate a film (and filmmaker) as I hope and imagine they will,” says Jay. “Although I will miss that and more, I know that I am leaving the organization in good hands and am excited for JFI’s next chapter as well as my own. Thank you all and I’m sure I will see you at the movies.”

Through his expansive approach to independent film and media, Jay has done so much to champion bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story, advancing JFI’s vision of a more informed and empathetic world where vital Jewish-content films are made, watched, shared, and treasured. An inaugural recipient of our Freedom of Expression Award in 2005, Jay started his tenure in 2010 as Program Director, working tirelessly to bring the highest-quality, provocative, and memorable films and events to JFI’s Bay Area audiences.

Under his artistic direction, JFI’s programs have shaped the conversation around evolving Jewish identities and experiences and established the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival as, not only the first festival of its kind, but the curatorial leader in independent Jewish film. As a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science documentary branch, Jay was instrumental in establishing SFJFF as the only Oscar-qualifying Jewish film festival for Best Documentary — Short Subject. His soft-spoken, understated stage presence belies an incredibly sharp understanding of film and the creative process that made his onstage conversations with filmmakers riveting.

JFI is in a period of exciting change and expansion. Our live events continue to rebound from the challenges of the pandemic, and JFI has significantly enhanced its continuum of support for independent filmmakers through our successful Completion Grants and Filmmaker Residency programs. As we imagine the future of JFI’s artistic direction, we are also thrilled to announce that Ash Hoyle, an integral member of the curatorial team at the Sundance Film Festival, will be joining the team as the Guest Festival Director for SFJFF44.

If you’d like to experience the breadth of Jay’s oeuvre as a filmmaker, the Roxie Theater is presenting a selection of his films on Saturday, March 16. We all wish Jay the best as he goes “from strength to strength” into this exciting new chapter.

With gratitude,

Lexi Leban
Executive Director

Ralph Guggenheim
Chair, Board of Directors



Jewish Film Institute

The Jewish Film Institute, based in San Francisco, champions bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere.