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.

2016 Winning Films Announced


It was definitely not easy, but the awards panel has made its decision about this year’s crop of films. The Social Justice Film Festival 2016 is proud to announce the following films as very well-deserved award winners:


Director’s Choice Award

East of Salinas, directed by Laura Pacheco (USA)

The story of an undocumented 3rd grader whose dreams are threatened by deportation and gang violence.

Gold Jury Prize – Feature

Jackson, directed by Maisie Crow (USA)

An intimate look at the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, and the struggles of three women caught up in the abortion issue.

Silver Jury Prize – Feature

The Good Mind, directed by Gwendolen Cates (USA)

The leaders of the Onondaga Nation in New York strive to protect their sovereignty and culture within a state that stole most of their land.

Bronze Jury Prize – Feature

In Our Son’s Name, directed by Gayla Jamison (USA)

A couple who lost their son on 9/11 choose to seek reconciliation over revenge, and find their lives are changed by their decision.

Gold Jury Prize – Short

Transit Zone, directed by Frederik Subei (Scotland/UK)

Set in the ‘jungle’ in Calais, this is the story of a young man fleeing the regime of Sudan and dreaming of a new life in the UK.

Silver Jury Prize  – Short

Surviving International Boulevard, directed by Sian Taylor Gowan (USA)

Through the experiences of two women in Oakland CA, this film explores the complex realities of domestic child sex trafficking.

Bronze Jury Prize – Short

Safe Passage, directed by Jessica Plumb (USA)

Two Pacific Northwest tribes endeavor to save the Salish Sea and protect their traditional fishing grounds from fossil fuel exports.

Best Narrative Feature

On the Farm, directed by Rachel Talalay (Canada)

The story of the women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside during the reign of serial killer Robert Pickton.

Inspirational Justice Award

Truth Seekers, directed by Lani Cupchoy (USA)

A student-driven social justice movement tries to change educational courses and textbooks in California to include the 1930’s ‘Mexican Repatriation’.

Best Narrative Short

Tadaima, directed by Robin Takao D’Oench (USA)

A Japanese-American family returns home from an internment camp after World War II and attempts to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Best Documentary Micro-Short

Invisibility, directed by Sarah Emery (Australia)

4 people who identify as having a mental illness work with a costume designer to create outfits that represent how their illness makes them feel.


We wish to extend a sincere thank you to the hard-working crews behind every film we screened this year. The strength of the filmmaking, as well as the sheer breadth of topic and style, made this an incredible year for the festival.

As ever, we want our festival to be a jumping off point for discussion and action, and are confident that this year many eyes were opened and many hearts were inspired around some very important topics.

Roll on 2017!

The SJFF Team

2016 festival line-up finalized!

ecc-houseJudging for the 2016 SJFF is done and filmmakers are sending in their press material and films. We are excited to present a program that includes powerful films on worker rights,  immigration, prisoner justice, privacy and surveillance, union struggle, reproductive rights, cyberbullying, Black Lives Matter, Native American rights, police violence, refugees, trafficking, financial control and austerity, shoreline restoration, disability rights, ending war, and more.  Complete details will be online within a week.

**A sneak preview:

The 2016 festival features will be East of Salinas, The Good Mind, Goodwin’s Way, Here’s to Flint, If I See You I’ll Say Hi, In Our Son’s Name, Jackson, Katarina Taikon, Kidnap Capital, Killswitch, Milwaukee 53206, On the Farm, Promised Land, Scene Queen, Transient, La Troisième Langue, and Zona Intangible.

Festival shorts will be:  A Job I Can Enjoy, Baltimore: A Moment to a Movement, A Call to Action, Children in Gold, Climb to Justice, Counter Act, Divestment Victory at Columbia, An Education, Exile Incessant, Fare Share, Fashion to Die For, Film Forever, For the Birds, From Flint, HOPPLA!, I Am a #young worker, Invisibility, La Condena, Les Cloys, Limpiadores, Local Treasure, Mothering Inside, Nation, Poison Control, The Real Work, Right to Be Rescued, Safe Passage, Surviving International Boulevard, Tadaima, Thailand’s Seafood Slaves, Transit Zone, Truth Seekers, Voices from Kaw Thoo Lei, The Wall, What Makes Black People Black?

**Full Program Schedule to be Posted Soon!**