Jewish Film Institute serves up ‘Cinegogue Summer Days’

Four-day fest offers drive-in, digital screenings

Though the 40th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival isn’t happening in July, its presenter the Jewish Film Institute is serving up Cinegogue Summer Days, running July 16-19.

The event opens July 16 with live screenings at West Wind Drive-Ins in Concord and San Jose.

At 8:30 p.m. in Concord, Peabody award-winning local filmmaker Abby Ginzberg’s “Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me,” a profile of the esteemed veteran Bay Area congresswoman will be shown. “On Broadway,” a film by Oren Jacoby detailing the pivotal role Jews have played in creating Broadway’s biggest successes, also screens in Concord and San Jose at 8:30 p.m. Tickets, which require advance purchase, are $25 per vehicle.

Virtual programming also begins today, with events continuing through the weekend. While viewers may see online presentations at any time, Summer Days organizers recommend checking out specially timed screenings with live accompaniment.

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain’s “#ZoomChallahBake” at 10 a.m. July 17 offers baking with guests: rabbi-comedian Sydney Mintz from the Bay Area and Prince Challah from Berlin.

At noon July 17, Jewish Film Institute’s Filmmaker in Residence Showcase features Nora Mariana, Theo Rigby, Eva Ilona Brzeski, Yoav Potash and Charene Zalis with clips and discussion of their work with moderator Joshua Moore.

At 3 p.m. July 17 is the premiere of “Irmi,” a film inspired by the memoir of Irmi Selver, who was born in 1906 into a comfortable Jewish family in Germany, who persevered through a life that took extraordinary and tragic twists and turns. Directors Veronica Selver and Susan Fanshel will appear in a Q&A.

At 6 p.m. July 17 is the West Coast premiere of Emma Seligman’s “Shiva Baby,” a comedy about a young bisexual woman dealing with her family, tradition and independence.

At noon July 18, Brad Rothchild’s “They Ain’t Ready for Me,” about Tamar Manasseh, an African American rabbinical student leading the fight against killings on the south side of Chicago, screens, with a Q&A.

San Francisco Symphony’s beloved music director is featured in “Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is,” directed by Susan Froemke and screening at 2:30 p.m. July 18 with a conversation between MTT and Peter L. Stein.

“Broken Barriers (Khavah),” a 1919 silent film by Charles Davenport and adaptation of a story by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye the milkman’s daughter Khavah, with musical accompaniment by Sascha Jacbosen, screens at 6 p.m. July 18 in a co-presentation by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

At 11:30 a.m. July 19, the program features “Those Who Remained,” a 2019 film by Barnabás Tóth set in post-World War II Hungary about a 16-year-old girl who befriends at 42-year-old man who survived the concentration camps, along with a Q&A.

Following, at 2 p.m. July 19, is “Unruly Women: Jewish Female Characters on TV,” a conversation with New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Emily Nussbaum discussing famous real and fictional women from Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers and The Nanny to Mrs. Maisel, Amy Schumer and Jenny Slate.

At 3:45 p.m. July 19 is the U.S. premere of director Judith Helfand’s “Love & Stuff,” a first-person documentary in which Helfand shares her experiences of life after the death of her mother, including dealing with 63 boxes of family heirlooms, and more; a Q&A accompanies the screening.

The event closes at 6:30 p.m. July 19 with an award ceremony and cocktail hour in which the Jewish Film Institute announces recipients of funding from a newly established grant program.

Many events are free, but donations are encouraged. Visit for tickets and registration.

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