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!

Global images of Earth from NASA’s Galileo orbiter on December 11, 1999. In each frame, the continent of Antarctica is visible at the bottom of the globe.

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.

Important Dates

April 30, 2020: Regular Deadline
May 31, 2020: Late Deadline
September 1, 2020: Notification Date
October 1 – 10, 2020: The Social Justice Film Festival

Click to submit on FilmFreeway


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.

Can you guess what we are working on?

COVID-19 Update

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.

Wishing you health, safety, and strength,

The Social Justice Film Institute Team

BEST OF THE FEST – Spokane 2020

This Saturday and Sunday, be sure to check out Social Justice Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest” in Spokane, WA. 

Don’t miss the Oscar winning documentary short, “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If you’re a girl)”

2:30 PM and 6:30 PM
25 W Main Ave. #125, Spokane, WA 99201

6:00 PM

721 N Cincinnati St, Spokane, WA 99202

A Special Encore Screening of “True Justice,”
A documentary about the life of Legendary Alabama Lawyer,
Bryan Stevenson – author of “Just Mercy.”


2019 Prize Winners

Congratulations to our award winning films for 2019.

This year brought us an abundance of captivating films that pushed the boundaries of creative filmmaking and shone an important light on the issues, struggles, and lives that exemplify this year’s theme, #StoriesOfCourage. Some straddled the boundaries of narrative and documentary, entering the realm of lyrical poetry. We even were honored to host a 3D virtual reality experience through #oculusvrforgood.

We are incredibly proud of all the films we shared with audiences this year, and the talented filmmakers behind each of them. It was difficult to make a choice among them, but here are our jury prizes for #sjff2019.  

Gold Jury Prize – Feature

Silver Jury Prize – Feature
Condor and the Eagle

Bronze Jury Prize – Feature

Directors’ Choice
Patrinell: The Total Experience

Gold Jury Prize – Documentary Short
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Silver Jury Prize – Documentary Short
Mi’Gwidelmag Gnitjgamitj (Remembering Our Grandpa)

Bronze Jury Prize – Documentary Short
Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism & Depression

Gold Jury Prize – Narrative Short

Silver Jury Prize – Narrative Short

Best Microshort
Elegy Ending with a Cell Door Closing

Youth Visions Prize
Lights, Camera, Representation

Prisoner Justice Prize
Guest House

Art & Activism Prize
The Observer

COURAGE: The 2019 Social Justice Film Festival

Mark your calendars and join us for films, food, and conversation at COURAGE: the 8th Social Justice Film Festival, screening at venues around Seattle this October 3-12. This year’s films will showcase fresh voices and brave storytelling that demonstrate courage in action.

Screenings will take place at the Duwamish Longhouse and the Northwest African American Museum, as well as several (possibly new!) locations in the University District and Capitol Hill.

Stay tuned for more details and the full program, coming this summer!

– The SJFF Team

Announcing our 2018 Jury Prizes!

Packed night at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center for the 2018 Indigenous Futures special event.

Packed night at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center for the 2018 Indigenous Futures special event.

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.

The Providers—Gold Jury Prize for Feature Film—shows the tireless work of healthcare providers battling the opioid crisis in rural America and highlights innovative solutions to solving the rural healthcare shortage.

Side by Side: Out of a South Korean Orphanage & Into the World—Gold Jury Prize for Documentary Short Film—uses a series of intimate, first-person narratives filmed around the world to bring audience members face to face with stories of the Korean adoptee experience. Skillfully poignant, the film brings home the experience of abandonment, relinquishment, and reunification.

Reclamation: The Rise at Standing Rock—winner of the second-annual Tulalip Cares Prize for top Native American film—tells the inside story of the 300 Native Nations who, for the first time in 150 years, unite at Standing Rock to protect their land and water from an unlawful pipeline, awakening and inspiring the world with their peaceful movement of resistance.

“With our theme his year, Hope and Democracy, we sought to emphasize how people can hold onto hope in a period of turmoil and potential despair,” says Festival Director Anne Paxton. “Our top films found a fresh artistic vision to celebrate dedicated individuals easing misery and saving lives in their daily work, people challenged by and striving to heal the wounds of historical injustice, communities uniting around a common vision of their future, and the profound rewards of validating and valuing diversity.”


Complete List of 2018 Jury Prizes


Gold – The Providers, directed by Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin (USA)

Silver – Go Penguins!, directed by Randy Caspersen (USA)

Bronze – The Guardians, directed by Billie Mintz (USA)


waałšiʔaƛin (Coming Home), directed by Brandon Thompson (Canada)


Gold – Side by Side: Out of  a South Korean Orphanage and into the World, directed by Glen Morey & Julie Morey (USA)

Silver – Sincerely, The Black Kids, directed by Miles Iton (USA)

Bronze – Mexico: Looking for Lost Migrants, directed by Leo Mattei & Alex Gohari (France/Mexico)


Take Good Care of My Baby, directed by Nicolas Daenens (Belgium)


Dignity of Risk, directed by Prateek Bandopadhayay, Jeremy Ley, & Joseph Ibrahim (Australia)


Same Drum, directed by Poppy van Oorde-Grainger (Australia)


Reclamation: The Rise at Standing Rock, directed by Michele Noble (USA)


We Are the Mass Shooting Generation, directed by Maggie Budzyna (USA)

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.