Announcing the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Award Winners

The Jewish Film Institute (JFI) wrapped the 39th edition of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) on August 4, 2019 following a successful year with over 40,000 attendees and 22 sold out shows. Facing the self-posed challenge of what makes a film Jewish, SFJFF39 continues to presents film and media that celebrates the diversity of global Jewish life. Engrossing along with engrossing cross-cultural and intersectional dialogues, a variety of new and returning community partnerships, and engaging and lively special events and performances cemented and which reaffirmed the Festival’s position as the premier international event for Jewish-content cinema.

SFJFF39 presented several awards for achievements in feature length and short filmmaking — read more about the award winners below:

SFJFF39 Audience Award | Best Narrative Feature

The Keeper
Marcus Rosenmüller, UK, 2019, 119 minutes, English

This compelling drama tells the remarkable true life story of Bert Trautmann, a German footballer who raised the bar for soccer goalkeeping while playing for Manchester City, and as a decorated SS veteran tested the country’s willingness to forgive. Centered around the love story between Trautmann and the coach’s daughter, as a central part of its appeal, the film raises tough questions about forgiveness, forgetting and the power of sports to (re)unite.

RUNNER UP: Tel Aviv on Fire

SFJFF39 Audience Award | Best Documentary Feature

Picture of His Life

Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir, Israel, 2019, 75 minutes, Hebrew w/ English subtitles

World famous underwater still photographer Amos Nachoum is not satisfied. He wants to get the “picture of his life,” a polar bear up close and personal, a task considered not only dangerous, but maybe impossible.

RUNNER UP: Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles

SFJFF39 Best Short Documentary Award

Guy Hirschfeld: Guy With A Camera

Andrés Gallagos, USA, 2018, 12 minutes, English and Hebrew

A veteran who served in the Israeli military, Guy Hirschfeld now fights against the Israeli occupation and environmental warfare with his only weapon, a camera. 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 2020 Academy Awards®.

SFJFF39 Youth Jury Award

Black Hat

Sarah Smith, USA, 2019, 14 minutes, English

A seemingly pious Hasidic man living a secret double life misplaces his black hat one night causing his two separate lives to collide in a way he never imagined.

For the inaugural Youth Jury Award, several Bay Area teens conducted a brief Q&A with the filmmakers. Youth Jury Prize was made possible by a grant from the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative. The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (Teen Initiative) is a project of the Federation, in partnership with Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, and with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation.

SFJFF39 Film Movement Award

Black Hat

Sarah Smith, USA, 2019, 14 minutes, English

In partnership with Film Movement, the 2019 Film Movement Award was also presented to Sarah Smith for her film, BLACK HAT, about a seemingly pious Chasidic man living a double life, and the aftermath of misplacing his black hat. Thanks to our partners at Film Movement for the upcoming Jewish Film Institute digital shelf feature! Visit to learn more.

For more photos from the Festival, click here.
For select filmmaker Q&As, click here.
To read the full SFJFF39 Wrap Release, click here.

Stay tuned for information about the 40th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 17 — August 3, 2020, at

Inspiring communities to expand their understanding of Jewish life through film, media and dialogue. Presented by the Jewish Film Institute!

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