We at the Social Justice Film Festival have been closely following developments during the pandemic, watching as organizers of events large and small have responded to Covid-19.
Closer to home in Seattle, Washington, the cancellation of the Seattle International Film Festival, North America’s largest film festival, was followed by cancellations of other annual traditions like SeaFair, FolkLife and the Washington State Fair.
Recent developments across the country show rising case numbers. Johns Hopkins University data show Covid-19 cases are growing in the majority of US states, while daily new cases in Washington State have tripled since a local low in mid May, and we’ve had to make a decision to plan for the future.
The Social Justice FIlm Festival will go on, but for 2020 it will move online. We will continue to present films and talks virtually, during our October event, which will run from the 1st to the 11th.
We are committed to the safety of our audience and community, and we believe that an online event is the best way to maintain that safety in this time, while staying true to the mission of connecting great Social Justice films, audiences, and film makers. We look forward to seeing you, virtually, there.
Be sure to follow us on our Instagram and Facebook pages for updates. We look forward to seeing you online this year.
Due to COVID-19, we are partnering with Meaningful Movies and Northwest Film Forum to present this year’s festival entirely online. Together, we will raise awareness, build community, and support the art of storytelling through films. The SJFFI also aims to support underrepresented filmmakers and provide a platform for unacknowledged stories.
Your support will help bring the festival to life.
Your sponsorship and participation is crucial to our ability to present our 2020 festival. Due to COVID-19, we are partnering with Meaningful Movies and Northwest Film Forum to present this year’s festival entirely online. Together, we will raise awareness, build community, and support the art of storytelling through films. The SJFFI also aims to support underrepresented filmmakers and provide a platform for unacknowledged stories.
People we reach
Advocates, changemakers, and other thoughtful and committed community members at screenings in King County, Snohomish County, and Spokane County, with some 4,500 viewers to date.
An engaged and loyal audience, with more than 2,000 community members following the festival through our digital newsletter year round.
30 social justice film groups around Puget Sound through special festival events in collaboration with the Duwamish Tribal Community, Northwest African American Museum, and Meaningful Movies.
What does your support mean?
A much-needed platform for the unique stories of our world and community that relate to social justice and courage.
Encouragement for young, independent, and underrepresented filmmakers and community producers to develop their craft.
Unique postfilm discussions with special community guests, journalists, and filmmakers, bringing together cinema and conversation for the common good.
We continue to reach out to partners whose mission aligns with the Social Justice Film Festival & Institute and hope that you feel inspired to support this experience of film and fellowship. Please review our sponsorship packet and join us in bringing this year’s festival to homes across Seattle and the country!
Since the American Revolution, American Indians have served in the United States military at a greater proportion than any other ethnic population. The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders are an organization dedicated to honoring the sacrifice, supporting the legacy, and serving the needs of those military families who have served the United States.
In 2018, the Social Justice Film Institute completed a new cut of Ralphina Sorrel’s prize-winning documentary Honor Riders, its first Incubator project.
Today, we are proud to share the completed film in honor of Memorial Day, and to show our gratitude to veterans everywhere who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Now through Wednesday, May 27th, visit our Vimeo page and use the password “memorialday” to watch ‘Honor Riders’ and an accompanying interview with documentarian Ralphina Sorrel on what motivated her to make this compelling film.
We are excited to announce our newest project, the Justice in Motion Podcast!
Click PLAY below to listen to our trailer episode, hosted by Daniel Swan.
In this episode: what you can expect from our podcast, a primer on social justice film, and a teaser of what’s to come in our first episode on Tuesday, May 5th. (Hint: this trailer is being released on National Superhero Day 2020…)
The inspiring story of how a major energy utility in Washington State worked at a grassroots level with a small, economically distressed county to create one of the largest wind producing facilities in the west.
Inspired by Incident at Restigouche (Alanis Obomsawin, 1984), Mi’gwidelmag Gnitjgamitj is a short essay film that captures the beautiful landscapes of Listuguj, but also a dark side of Canada. The film focuses on the experiences of director Nation Isaac’s grandfather in the 1981 Quebec Provincial Police raid of Listuguj, and on Isaac’s own relationship to her grandfather’s life and legacy.
Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression
(Miranda Kahn, 6 min, USA)
Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression is a short documentary that cuts between interview footage of Shaina Simmons, a young woman who has struggled with mental illness, and stop motion animated shadow puppets which tell her story. Shaina is a young performing artist who grew up in New Orleans and suffered from colorism and racism which led to anxiety and depression. With extraordinary strength and clarity, Shaina explains her degrading youthful experiences and through Miranda Kahn’s lyrical puppetry, we come to understand how deeply our perceptions of someone can change how they perceive themselves.
(Hannah Dweck, Yael Luttwak, 75 min, USA)
Guest House is a documentary feature that captures a six-month period of life of three women previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes and now living together, taking the viewer through the realities of reintegration from the prison system and dissolving some of the ’otherness‘ that makes us feel more comfortable with our system of justice.
Patrinell: The Total Experience
(Tia Young, Andrew Elizaga, 94 min, USA)
Seattle was a rude awakening for singer Patrinell Wright when she moved here from East Texas in 1964 ‐ far from the bastion of racial tolerance she’d expected. But she did have musical talent, deep faith, and unstoppable drive, which she channeled into founding the Total Experience Gospel Choir, building it into an internationally recognized pillar of Seattle’s black community.
She was not without opposition. Church leaders gave her flak for singing in nightclubs, and then years later for her ordination.
By 1977, the Choir was touring the country and ‐ eventually ‐ the globe. Generous home-movie footage shows the choir’s shrinking, aging, and whitening over its 45 years, a transformation that played out against the Central District’s similar gentrification. Although Wright finally retired the choir in 2018, Patrinell remains as a loving testament to her extraordinary career and the joy and spiritual solace her music brought to thousands.
Harvesting the Wind
(Ann Hedreen, Rustin Thompson, 27 min, USA)
Harvesting the Wind is the inspiring story of how a major energy utility in Washington State worked at a grassroots level with a small, economically distressed county to create one of the largest wind producing facilities in the west.
(Sally Fenaux Barleycorn, 6 min, Spain)
The Central Mediterranean is considered to be the deadliest migration route in the world; since 2014 more than 14,500 people have died trying to reach a safe port. Hundreds continue to die monthly. Spanish and Italian governments have started prosecuting and forbidding navigation to any organizations that try to save lives. Our brothers and sisters keep dying. The seas of the world are filled with black bodies.
Festival Panel — April 22
On Tuesday, April 22nd, you can join us on Facebook for a live-streamed panel and interactive Q&A with some of our featured filmmakers, hosted by the Social Justice Film Festival and Institute, directed by Jody Cole, and moderated by Aurora Martin
Wherever you are on Earth, come celebrate with us.
Mark your calendar for a virtual, ready-when-you-are mini festival featuring some of our favorite films from 2019, and some of the best environmental justice films we have ever screened.
Beginning on Tuesday, April 21st, we will host a selection of films to watch for free online through Thursday, April 23rd, as well as an online panel with some of our featured filmmakers on Wednesday, April 22nd.
We hope that, wherever you are on Earth… Day, you’ll be able to join us online to celebrate the goal of environmental justice and equity around the world!
Information about how to access our Mini Festival remotely will be updated regularly on our website and Facebook page.
In light of the pandemic, we are extending our earlybird entry fee pricing through the regular deadline, April 30. We are already in the midst of viewing this year’s earlybird entries and we are so grateful to everyone who sent us their film in this time of increased uncertainty.
We hope you and yours stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.
April 30, 2020: Regular Deadline May 31, 2020: Late Deadline September 1, 2020: Notification Date October 1 – 10, 2020: The Social Justice Film Festival
We may be social distancing, but we are still hard at work.
We have an exciting new project that we cannot wait to share with you.
COVID-19 magnifies the injustices and inequities of our age, and we are committed to standing by the social justice film makers who challenge these systems.
We currently plan to move forward with the Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle, Washington, from October 1-10, 2020, in the hope that gatherings will be safe by then. We are tracking developments, have back-up plans, and will adjust as the situation continues to unfold.
If you are a filmmaker in the United States whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic, there is assistance and relief available from the US Government. Please visit the Filmmakers Guide to Applying for US Coronavirus Federal Relief, released by the International Documentary Association, for more information.
Thank you to everyone who is working to protect health, rights, and justice around the world, now and always.