Esther Blueburger' Opens Jewish Film Festival
"Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger," a "wacky/serious coming of age comedy" directed by Australia's Cathy Randall, opens the 29th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival on July 23
The festival includes 71 films from 19 nations; nine of the movies are North American premieres. The filmmakers will attend many of the screenings.
"Esther Blueburger" shows at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theatre. A prescreening party with music and food starts at 6 p.m. at the Swedish American Hall/Cafe Du Nord, 2174 Market St. A post-film party will take place at Club Trigger, 2338 Market.
As previously announced, the festival's Freedom of Expression Award goes to Aviva Kempner, whose new film, "Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg," will be screened at 6:30 p.m. July 28. The film is a documentary about Gertrude Berg, whose popular radio show "The Goldbergs" became a pioneering TV sitcom.
The festival is also showing four TV episodes of "The Goldbergs" at 3:30 p.m. July 28 at the Castro, followed by a Q and A with Berg's biographer, Glenn D. Smith Jr.
Other notable festival features:
-- "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe," a film about the prominent radical lawyer made by his daughters, Emily and Sarah Kunstler. The filmmakers will appear at the screening, 2 p.m. July 26 at the Castro.
-- "The Yes Men Fix the World," a film by and about eco-pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano, who infiltrate corporate gatherings to pull off satirical stunts. Bichlbaum will attend the 5:05 p.m. screening July 26 at the Castro.
-- Among the festival's more innovative events - a kind of pre-festival warm-up - is an outdoor screening of Woody Allen's "Manhattan," starting at dusk July 11 at Union Square. Given the variable weather in San Francisco, the festival suggests that viewers bring a sweater.
-- Special "sidebar" events at the festival are a group of documentary films by Israeli women and a series titled "Reel Change" that offers films about social issues with opportunities to "take the 'action' in social-action to the next level."
-- The closing night at the Castro (the festival continues at other venues) is Karin Albou's "The Wedding Song," a film set in wartime Tunisia that portrays a Muslim-Jewish friendship. The film screens at 8:30 p.m. July 30, and the evening includes an onstage conversation with the director.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival runs July 23 to Aug. 10 at the Castro Theater, the San Francisco Jewish Community Center and other Bay Area venues. For tickets, call (415) 256-8499. General festival information is at www.sfjff.org.