Seattle Jewish Film Festival turns 18

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF) celebrates its 18th “chai-life” milestone on March 2-10 at various locations around Seattle. “Chai,” or 18, means “life” in Hebrew.

The event kicks off with a special swanky and delicious Launch Party celebration hosted by Tom Douglas at The Palace Ballroom on Feb. 27.

The festival opens March 2 with the charming, dramatic comedy “The Day I Saw Your Heart.” The film series “Not a Lawyer, Not a Doctor? Jews in the Arts” heralds Jewish creativity in various disciplines, from cartoon arts and animation, to musicals and theater, dance, photography and cinema — from “Tin Pan Alley” to “Tinsel Town.”

Learn more about the creative and sometimes controversial genius of Art Spiegelman, Joann Sfar, the Bolshoi Ballet, Barbra Streisand, Irving Berlin, Roman Polanski and Woody Allen.

On closing Sunday, there will be a panel featuring local Jewish artists discussing “What is Jewish Art?” The festival closes as Seattle native son and Hollywood up-and-comer, producer Michael Benaroya receives the Festival’s REEL Difference Award and presents his critically acclaimed audience-pleasing film, “The Words,” as part of a free closing night program on March 10.

“For all the reasons my bubbe (Yiddish for grandma) warned me in her thick Polish accent to ‘stay away from long-haired boys’ and ‘Jewish artists,’ this year’s festival will celebrate the wellspring and bounty of Jewish creativity,” Pamela Lavitt, the festival’s director, said. “The film series, ‘Not a Lawyer, Not a Doctor? Jews in the Arts,’ celebrates the prolific work of inspired outliers and path-breakers who defy and define Jewish creative output and representation for the masses.”

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival is now a program of the Stroum Jewish Community Center. Venues include AMC Pacific Place 11, SIFF Cinema Uptown and the SJCC.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling the ticket hotline at (206) 324-9996.

A full schedule of screenings and special events is available at

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