Your guide to the 2022 San Diego International Jewish Film Festival

A film still from "If You See My Mother," which is playing at the 2022 San Diego International Jewish Film Festival.
(Courtesy photo)

Cinephiles, IRL film festivals are back!

The San Diego International Jewish Film Festival (SDIJFF) — which celebrates contemporary Jewish cinema — kicked off Wednesday and continues through next Sunday. While the 2021 festival was completely virtual, participants have the option to experience this year’s lineup in person at the 500-seat David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, with virtual screenings offered in tandem.

Presented by San Diego for Jewish Culture and Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, the 32nd event features a wide and well-rounded selection — which came as a surprise to the SDIJFF Chair Christina Fink.

“The inflow of potential selections surprisingly did not slow down due to COVID ... I thought we’d be lucky if we had 50 films and could pick some 25 decent ones during the second year of the pandemic, but we had well over 200 films to select from and curate the very best,” Fink said in a press release.

Here’s what you need to know about the festival.

So is the festival virtual, or in person?

Up to you! Those eager to get back in theater seats will have the chance to do so, while those less comfortable with large events can stay home and stream. Every attendee needs their own ticket to be admitted to an in-person screening, while the virtual fee covers the whole household.

A full schedule of in-person screenings is available on the festival website. Virtual films — which can be streamed at any time, but must be viewed within a 48-hour window — have regional availability, so only folks within San Diego County can access them.

Both groups of viewers will be eligible to vote for movies on the Audience Choice Ballot, either by paper at the theater or virtually from home. (Virtual voting is unlocked after the entire film is watched.)

A film still from "Tiger Within," which is playing at the 2022 San Diego International Jewish Film Festival.
(Courtesy photo)

What’s playing

This year there are more than two dozen feature films, along with short films and mini-series, on the schedule. Overwhelmed by all the options? Here are a few highlights and where they fall in the lineup.

  • Unpack maternal dependency and its complications with Nathanaël Guedj’s French comedy “If You See My Mother.” 1:30 p.m. Friday. and 7:30 p.m. Monday.
  • Learn about the first female conductor of a major symphony orchestra in “The Conductor,” a documentary directed by Bernadette Wegenstein. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
  • SDIJFF’s centerpiece film “Persian Lessons” from director Vadim Perelman tells the story of a Jewish man who pretends to be Persian to avoid death at a Nazi concentration camp. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Director Damir Lukacevic brings an autobiography to life with “Wet Dog,” a German film about a young teenager living in a Muslim neighborhood of Berlin. 7:30 p.m. Sunday and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17.
  • The festival’s closing night film “Tiger Within,” directed by Rafal Zielinski, explores a Holocaust survivor’s friendship with a homeless and anti-Semitic teenager. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20.

Bonus content

In addition to the movie screenings, there will be two recorded discussions from filmmakers of “The Conductor,” which also features the documentary’s subject Marin Alsop, as well as “The Dinner,” which invites a few of the film’s actors into the conversation. Both discussions are available to watch for free at

A film still from "The Dinner," which is playing at the 2022 San Diego International Jewish Film Festival.
(Courtesy photo)

Technical difficulties

Having trouble viewing your chosen film from home? SDIJFF’s website has instructional videos on how to stream the movies from various devices — including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick and Chromecast — along with a detailed FAQ page.

If you still need help, guest service representatives are available to answer questions via phone or email from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. For night owls, there is also 24-hour live chat support available through the website.

Health and safety

For the in-person portion, there will be various health and safety protocols put in place due to COVID-19 including required mask wearing and frequent facility sanitation. All attendees age 16 and older must be fully vaccinated and provide proper documentation. Unlike some San Diego events, a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result will not be accepted in lieu of a vaccination card. (Check festival website for updates.)

San Diego International Jewish Festival

When: Now through Feb. 20

Where: David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre at the Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla

Tickets: $15 per film; $12 per film for JCC members