The 2024 Seattle Jewish Film Festival: A celebration of community, culture, and diversity | Events

Through the brightest and darkest of times, community is what brings us strength. In its 29th year, the Stroum Jewish Community Center will kick off the 2024 Seattle Jewish Film Festival, “Lights, Camera, Community,” on March 2. The festival will feature films from nine countries and spotlight the diverse nature of Jewish culture, as well as the Seattle, and broader, Jewish community. 

As a hallmark of Jewish culture in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Jewish Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running Jewish film festivals in the country. Featuring an interactive agenda this year, with both in-person and virtual events, the festival encourages the celebration of Jewish art, culture, food, and diversity.

According to festival director Pamela Lavitt, the Stroum Jewish Community Center aims to provide a Jewish experience and learning environment for all members of the community, Jewish or not. 

“We say that this festival lights up people, and also lights up and turns the light on, and the camera lenses on, to the nuanced stories of Jewish and Israeli life,” Lavitt said. “I think that’s something we all really need at this time. And then ultimately, the end goal is for it to build community. We need to spend more time on what unites us versus what divides us.”

This year’s festival boasts an impressive film line-up, sure to bring about laughter, tears, and reflection around every corner. Film-goers can expect a wide array of genres ranging from witty comedies to starcrossed romances to emotional dramas, representing the broad variety of Jewish life and talent. 

As a brief introduction to this year’s film catalog, “Remembering Gene Wilder, is not one to miss. A tribute to one of Hollywood’s most beloved and influential figures, the documentary paints a beautiful and touching illustration of the life of American actor, writer, and filmmaker Gene Wilder. Evoking a remarkable amount of laughter, tears, and nostalgia, the documentary depicts Wilder’s heartwarming story, largely narrated by himself, while simultaneously highlighting the prominence of Jewish culture in American life and entertainment. 

Another event worth noting would be the “Safe Travels?” Shorts Program, curated by Warren Etheredge and set to show at Hillel UW on March 6. As a collection of short films highlighting a theme of travel and the journey one may take in finding oneself, the program underscores important notions of culture, upbringing, struggle, and growth while representing global Jewish voices and stories. Admission is free for UW students. 

An addition to this year’s festivities is the first Red Carpet Oscars Party on March 10. Attendees are invited to the Stroum Jewish Community Center to celebrate and enjoy a live screening of the Academy Awards alongside food, drink, and company. 

“This year especially, with everyone really needing that leadership and space for conversation and community connecting, we looked for films that lent themselves towards social opportunities,” Lavitt said. “We’re really trying to repair the world through community connecting.”

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival will run from March 2 to 17 across the greater Seattle area. Tickets for both in-person and virtual events are available now. You can learn more about the event online

Reach contributing writer Addie Picker at X: @addiepickeruw

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