By Briana Tivey for Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara

The fifth annual Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara (SBJFF), will run Wednesday, March 11, through Sunday, March 15, at The New Vic Theatre, 33 W. Victoria St., in Santa Barbara.

SBJFF Co-Chair Mashey Bernstein recently announced a wide selection of movies from Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Israel and the U.S., including world and West Coast premieres, three international Academy Awards submissions, and four films that feature women who reveal bravery and strength under dire circumstances.

While most of the fare is uplifting and light, the festival does not avoid the controversial and thought-provoking.

The festival opens at 7 p.m. March 11 with the West Coast premiere of “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit,” Oscar winner Caroline Link’s adaption of Judith Kerr’s semi-autographical bestseller of the same title that is a story about parting, family cohesion, and optimism.

Other films that feature the indominable power of women are “An Irrepressible Woman” (12:45 p.m. March 13), and “Those Who Remained,” Hungary’s 2020 submission for the Oscars.

For some lighter viewing, several comedies will fill out the festival including “Tel Aviv on Fire,” (8 p.m. March 14), and “Forgiveness,” Israel’s most popular movie in 2019.

In a slightly different vein is “The Rabbi from Hezbolah” (10 a.m. March 13), portraying a farmer from Lebanon ends up helping the Israeli army, and “Aulcie,” about the rise and fall and rise of one of Israel’s greatest athletes and basketball players (10 a.m. March 12).

Two special movies are the documentary “Carl Laemmle” (3 p.m. March 13) and “Golda’s Balcony, the Film” (12:45 p.m., March 15). “Carl Laemmle” follows the life of the founder of Universal Studios, but more importantly, a man who rescued more than 300 members of his family from Nazi Germany. “Golda’s Balcony, the Film” features Tovah Feldshuh’s stunning Broadway performance as Golda Meir, and nearly 100 other characters from Henry Kissinger to Ben Gurion.

The free community program starts at 10 a.m. March 15 and features two comics exploring the food delights of Montreal in “Chewdaism.” (Might bring on a craving a good corned beef on rye). Later that day, A featured shorts program will run at 4 p.m.

The festival concludes at 6:30 p.m. March 15 with the Ha’Seret Ha’Mitztayen (Excellence in Film) Awards to best short, documentary, and feature films.


All-Access Passes, which cover all 13 programs plus opening night reception and early entrance to the films, are $118. Individual tickets are $12 and will be available in advance beginning March 11 and at the door.

For a full list of films and other information, visit