Media Contact: Briana Sapp
Chief Operating Officer​


Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival to Showcase Best Lineup Yet

Featuring Central Coast premiers of comedies, dramas, documentaries, and shorts

Santa Barbara, California (September 26, 2023) — A stellar lineup of award-winning international comedies, dramas, documentaries, and shorts are slated for the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival at The New Vic Theatre from Wednesday, November 1 to Sunday, November 5, 2023. A full listing can be found at

The festival opens on Wednesday, November 1 with four Israeli films: Romantic comedy Paris Boutique, nominated for six Israeli Academy Awards (Ophirs), coming-of-age drama Sand Flakes, and documentary 40 Steps about a religious school asked to share its campus with a new school for refugee children.

Sponsored by the Israel Committee of Santa Barbara, the first day concludes with The Monkey House, nominated for 11 Ophir Awards, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Avi Nesher, one of Israel’s most famous directors, in conversation with CEO and Executive Editor of The Montecito Journal Gwyn Lurie.

Thursday, November 2 begins with Burning off the Page, a unique documentary about a Russian-American Yiddish-speaking female poet who dared to write about women’s sexuality and erotic subjects during the first half of the 20th century. The documentary Reckonings, commissioned by the German Ministry of Finance and the Claims Conference, explores the untold story of reparations discussions for Holocaust survivors before the Luxembourg Agreements of 1952. Next, the first of two shorts programs features stories of family, loss, and memories: Walking with Satva, The Walk, Nobody Told Me, Elisheva & Ruthi, and The Fisherman’s Wife; followed by a panel discussion with community rabbis discussing Jewish traditions around death and burial.

Thursday closes with Canadian comedy Less Than Kosher, followed by an exceptional live performance by the film’s star Shaina Silver-Baird. Shaina’s character Viv is forced to move home after her career as a pop singer fails. Having long let go of her Jewish roots, she begrudgingly takes a job as cantor at her family’s synagogue and unleashes her incredible talent, bringing traditional Jewish songs to life and falling in love along the way.

Friday, November 3 kicks off with The Shadow of the Day, an Italian love story set in the 1930s between a World War I fascist sympathizer and a young Jewish woman who comes to work in his restaurant. Israeli documentary, Journey to the Past, follows five actors who travel to Poland to visit areas where Jewish communities were exterminated during the Holocaust; a trip that changes them forever. Romantic comedy Elik & Jimmy follows two friends from their 20s serving in the army to their 30s when feelings have changed. Jimmy is no longer the chubby friend, but something more.

After Shabbat ends on Saturday evening, viewers will enjoy the French biopic, Simone Veil: Woman of the Century, about the incredible life of a Holocaust survivor who became one of France’s most influential and beloved politicians.

The festival wraps up on Sunday, November 5 with a full slate: Polish drama March ’68 tells the story of love between a Jewish woman and a Gentile man who risk being torn apart by the rise of antisemitism during the 1960s.

Israeli drama Barren follows a young Hasidic woman desperate for a child who trusts the wrong person to help and ends up being shunned by her family. The film is followed by a panel of women from Chabad who can speak about Hasidic laws and customs around fertility.

The second shorts program of the festival features two comedies and two inspiring stories not to be missed: Grandma Bruce, Cut, Paddling of Life, and The Anne Frank Gift Shop.

The festival’s final feature Stay with Us (Reste un Peu) stars beloved French-Moroccan-Jewish comedian Gad Elmaleh who returns to his parent’s home in Paris after 3 years in LA with a newfound love for the Virgin Mary and plans to convert to Catholicism.

For a full listing and schedule of films visit All access passes are on sale for $180 and offer five days of incredible films plus guest speakers, a musical performance, opening night reception, coffee and bagels, and more. Individual tickets will be sold onsite before each film for $18.

All net proceeds support the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara’s cultural programming, Portraits of Survival Holocaust education, and social support services.


About the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival

Organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival features five days of world-class international and independent comedies, dramas, documentaries, and shorts from Israel, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. premiering for the first time in Santa Barbara.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara comprises the Adam Bronfman Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, and Camp Haverim. We offer Jewish educational, cultural, and religious programming as well as social services in a warm gathering space in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. For more information, visit

Screening on 11/1, 7:00 pm

Screening on 11/2, 1:00 pm

Screening on 11/2, 7:00 pm

Screening on 11/5, 1:00 pm