SJFF partners with Meaningful Movies Project

The Meaningful Movies Project and the Social Justice Film Festival are excited to announce a new strategic partnership to expand their social-justice film presentations and community conversations throughout Washington.

Meaningful Movies Project (MMP) is a volunteer-run organization that screens films for free in 22 neighborhoods across Western Washington. Each film is followed by a facilitated, non-partisan discussion about the film and ways to mobilize for social change. MMP events often include the filmmaker or other guest speakers from allied social justice groups.

The Social Justice Film Festival (SJFF) presents new films in a two-week series each fall in Seattle. SJFF’s events include discussions with filmmakers and notable activists, plus media outreach to educate the public. Later this year SJFF will become a project of a newly formed umbrella organization, the Social Justice Film Institute, which has the broader mission of providing technical and creative support to filmmakers and offering school-based programs to students.

What will change:

  1. SJFF will continue to curate films for its festival while opening new distribution channels through MMP’s venues. MMP will gain access to SJFF’s curated slate of timely, high-quality, independent films—all in coordination with the filmmakers.
  1. Both organizations will start to expand their presence in Eastern Washington where fewer opportunities exist for residents to watch social-justice films and hold community discussions. SJFF is now organizing a festival in Spokane for February 2019, and MMP plans to open a venue there.
  1. Both groups will co-promote their films and events. MMP members will enjoy discounted tickets to SJFF events.

With the Festival’s curation process and Meaningful Movies’ multiple venues, our plan is to introduce more movies, more conversations, and more civic action at this important time in America.

2018 Program and Tickets LIVE!

Ticket sales are now LIVE for the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival! Get yours today and join us for a compelling line-up of films that explore this year’s theme: HOPE & DEMOCRACY. Amidst turbulent times, our festival reveals the bright and most human moments. Come see what’s happening in the world. Prepare to be inspired. #HopeDemocracy #sjff2018

Check out the full schedule HERE and be sure to grab your tickets! You can also purchase a FESTIVAL PASS.

It’s World Social Justice Day – Send in your Film!

In celebration of World Social Justice Day today, February 20, submit your documentary or feature to the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival!

The festival will take place in venues around Seattle this October 5-14, 2018. Join us as we showcase the very best of social justice film-making on a range of topics from indigenous rights and prisoner justice to immigration and #blacklivesmatter. More details coming soon!

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Announcing our 2017 Jury Prizes

Managing director Aurora Martin awards the Tulalip Cares prize to Honor Riders director Ralphina Hernandez.

Managing director Aurora Martin awards the Tulalip Cares Prize to Honor Riders director Ralphina Hernandez.

After much deliberation, we’re thrilled to announce the prize-winning films of this year’s Social Justice Film Festival. Here are a few highlights, and you can scroll down for the complete list of winners.

Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine—Gold Jury Prize for Feature Film—vividly documents Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and local citizens’ resistance in Ukraine.

Gold Mettle—Gold Jury Prize for Documentary Short Film—follows several soccer teams competing during Special Olympics Weekend at Villanova University. An audience favorite, the film shows the joys and struggles of players who aim high both on and off the pitch.

Honor Riders—winner of the inaugural Tulalip Cares Prize for top Native American film—profiles a group of motorcycle riders on the Navajo and Hopi reservations who set out to honor the first Native American woman soldier killed in Iraq. The ride has become a tradition through which tribal members unite to commemorate fallen warriors and heal veterans’ and their families’ pain.

“Some of the most beloved films this year featured people facing down powerful institutions and making their voices heard,” says Festival Director Anne Paxton. “Films showed us the profound impact of reframing conventional thinking and resisting injustice through theatre, sports, and dance as well as through collective political action.”


Complete List of 2017 Awards

Gold Jury Prize – Feature

Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine, directed by Mark Jonathan Harris (USA) and Oles Sanin (Ukraine)

Silver Jury Prize – Feature

American Circumcision, directed by Brendon Marotta (USA)

Bronze Jury Prize – Feature

It’s Criminal, directed by Signe Taylor (USA)

Gold Jury Prize – Documentary Short

Gold Mettle, directed by Nick Carney (USA)

Silver Jury Prize – Documentary Short

The Gathering, directed by Micki Dickoff (USA)

Bronze Jury Prize – Documentary Short

Rohingya Testimony, directed by Shafiur Rahman (Bangladesh/United Kingdom)

Gold Jury Prize – Narrative Short

The Cage, directed by Ricky Staub (USA)

Silver Jury Prize – Narrative Short

New Neighbors, directed by E.G. Bailey (USA)

Bronze Jury Prize – Narrative Short

I Seek Asylum, directed by Anna Southgate (United Kingdom)

Best Animation

The Wall, directed by Nick Baker and Tristan Klein (Australia)

Best MicroShort

Primary Colours, directed by Derek Price (Canada)

Tulalip Cares Prize

Honor Riders, directed by Ralphina Hernandez (USA)

Directors’ Choice Award
Dogs of Democracy, directed by Mary Zournazi (Australia/Greece)

Youth Visions Prize – Gold

The Sunrise Storyteller, directed by Kasha Sequoia Slavner (Canada)

Youth Visions Prize – Silver

Hell You Talmbout, directed by Denzel Boyd, Tyler Rabinowitz and Joseph Webb (USA)

Youth Visions Prize – Bronze

STOP. Directed by Jules Retzlaff (USA)

Festival Season Pass Available Now!

SocJustice-78We’re excited to announce that 2017 Social Justice Film Festival Season PASSES are now available for purchase!

For the screaming-deal rate of $75, you will receive a pass that allows admission to ALL events and screenings! Purchasing a pass is a fantastic way to show your support of the festival and is also a great bargain if you plan to attend multiple screenings and events.

Nitty gritty details: Pass-holders are allowed first access to theaters, at 20 minutes before show time. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to show time to secure a seat. Entry is not guaranteed.


2017 Festival Program Now Live

The 2017 Social Justice Film Festival program has been finalized and the schedule for all screenings is online, along with ticketing information. (See the Events pages to the right.)

This year, our theme being The #Resistance, we present special evenings devoted to climate change, immigration, and Black Lives Matter. Disability rights, prisoner justice, Native American rights, austerity, campaigns for peace, and animal rescue are only a few of the other subjects in our wide-ranging six-day festival.

We are excited to present such an amazing slate of new films and look forward to seeing you at the festival from November 16-21!

New prize to go to Social Justice Film Festival’s top Native American film

The Social Justice Film Festival welcomes the Tulalip Tribes of Washington as a new Founding Sponsor. With their debut, the tribes will sponsor a special prize for the 2017 festival.

The festival, which runs November 16-21, will present the Tulalip Tribes Prize to the best new feature or short film that focuses on Native American or indigenous rights, with an award of $500.

We urge all filmmakers—and especially Native American filmmakers—with an interest in Native American rights to submit films for this prize that explore tribal recognition, the protection of lands, indigenous identity, and other issues. For the Tulalip Tribes Prize competition in 2017, film submission fees are waived. The final deadline for submission is July 4, 2017.

tulalipcares“We are honored to have the Tulalip Tribes join us as a Founding Sponsor,” said festival director Anne Paxton. “The Tulalip Tribes Prize will help draw needed attention to Native Americans’ quest for justice.”

Native rights have long been an important focus of the festival’s programming. In 2014, the festival screened Honor Totem, about the community response to the killing of John Williams in Seattle, and Return of the River, which documented the historic fight of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to remove the Elwha dam. Return of the River was awarded our 2014 Gold Jury Prize.

In 2016, the festival screened Promised Land, Safe Passage, On the Farm, and The Good Mind. Promised Land followed the Duwamish and the Chinook as they fought for the restoration of treaty rights. In Safe Passage, two Pacific Northwest tribes worked to protect the Salish Sea and their fishing grounds. The Good Mind documented the Onondaga Nation’s struggle as they sought justice for a broken treaty, receiving our Silver Jury Prize. On the Farm, which portrayed the investigation of serial murders of many First Nations women in Vancouver, BC, won our Best Narrative Feature prize.

Filmmakers may submit their films on Native American or indigenous rights through WithoutaBox and FilmFreeway until July 4, 2017, with a note requesting a waiver for the Tulalip Tribes Prize competition.

Saying Goodbye to Rick Turner

We are sad to share today that Rick Turner, founder of The Meaningful Movies Project (MMP), passed away on December 16, 2016, from an acute flare-up of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease he was diagnosed with six years ago.  Rick had also been diagnosed earlier this year with acute myeloid leukemia, and had undergone chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

Rick was a long-time supporter of the Social Justice Film festival, contributing enthusiasm and encouragement and each year helping to further the festival’s mission.

Above all, he was passionate about and tirelessly committed to the vision for Meaningful Movies: educating people about social justice issues, while at the same time building bonds between people.  And to have fun while doing it!  Rick ignited an amazing spark and grew it into a fire that is now nurturing communities far and wide.

Rick, you will be missed by all of us at the SJFF. Thank you for your tireless work on behalf of social justice.