Best of the Fest: Highlights of Social Justice Film Festival 2020 [Online]


Presented by the Social Justice Film Institute and Northwest Film Forum

We would like to acknowledge that the Social Justice Film Festival was organized on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe. Wherever you are, please take a moment to recognize the land you are living in and its first stewards. To learn more about supporting the Duwamish Tribe, please click here.

These programs will be available Jan. 22 at noon – Jan. 24, 2021 at 11:59pm PST

18 award-winning films selected from the program of the 2020 Social Justice Film Festival - TRANSFORM: Another World Is Possible.

Through dozens of strategic partnerships with Pacific Northwest organizations working on issues of social justice, the Social Justice Film Festival exhibits a series of short and feature-length documentaries and narrative films broadly related to social justice, with a special focus on prisoner justice in the US. As a movement, social justice promotes a global culture where equality is achieved on all levels. This includes issues pertaining to incarceration, the environment and sustainability, oppression, race and racism, the arts, animal rights, alternative currency and lifestyles, corruption within the system, and so much more. The festival will showcase works that challenge society structures all over the globe on a macro and micro level, as well as works that challenge the medium.

The festival’s mission is to forge creative alliances with diverse communities, bring inspiring filmmaking to new audiences, and make the art of filmmaking an integral part of social change.

** GENERAL FESTIVAL CONTENT WARNING: This year’s festival selections run the continuum of pain, celebration, heartache, injustice, and perseverance. Please note that some of the films include triggering or violent content, including racial slurs. **

Ways to Watch:



Festival passes and individual tickets are all sliding scale, pay-what-you-can. Please contribute at whatever level is appropriate to your means. Pass sales are an excellent way to support SJFF and NWFF’s work. Plus, they grant the most streamlined, flexible viewing experience possible!

Each passholder is granted online access to every film program in the festival.


BLOCK 1: Indigenous Futures

• The Last Ice (83 min.)
For centuries, Inuit have lived on the frozen ocean. Now, as climate change rapidly melts Arctic sea ice, Inuit in Canada and Greenland are fighting to protect what will remain of their world.

La Vida de Un Latero (10 min.)
In New York, each redeemable bottle is worth 5 cents. Meet Josefa and Pedro, a canning couple who earn their living one nickel at a time.


BLOCK 2: Be Seen, Stand Up

• Augustus (Jon Alston, US, 2020, 15 min.)
An escaped slave masquerading as a free man in pre-Civil War Massachusetts experiences nightmares of a future America that resembles the struggles of his own time.

Suppressed 2020: The Fight to Vote (Robert Greenwald, US, 2019, 40 min.)
A short, powerful documentary about the growing threat of voter suppression to our 2020 election.

• Liberation Heroes (Vanessa Roth, US, 2019, 40 min.)
Through the firsthand testimony of WWII liberators and liberation witnesses, parallels between the past and present are revealed. This film demands we heed the warnings to take a stand against hate.


BLOCK 3: Ask for Jane

• Ask for Jane (Rachel Carey, US, 2018, 108 min.)
Based on real events, Ask for Jane tells the story of a group of young college women who developed an underground abortion network that helped over 11,000 women get illegal abortions in Chicago between 1969 and 1973.

BLOCK 4: A Higher Calling

• Seva (Rippin Sindher, US, 2019, 16 min.)
August 5, 2012 marks the most violent hate crime against Sikhs in America. Following the temple massacre, Sikh activists combat rising xenophobia through the religious practice of selfless service.

Can Art Stop a Bullet (Mark Street, US, 2019, 90 min.)
William Kelly, widely considered the social conscience of Australian art, once said: “Art can’t stop a bullet, but it can stop a bullet from being fired.” Can it?

BLOCK 5: Racial Justice

AN UNINVITED GUEST (Richard B. Pierre, Canada, 2020, 4 min.)
When a Black man is viciously assaulted by a police officer right outside their window, all of the guests at a dinner party seem to consider the attack unremarkable except for one.

Since I Been Down (Gilda Sheppard, US, 2020, 105 min.)
In America’s backyard, a community held captive by policies targeting gangs and drugs, sacrifices their youth for a false sense of justice, and safety. Nearly forty years later, a true path to justice and healing is led from inside their prison walls.


BLOCK 6: Big Ideas, Small Run Times

• Target Practice (Yasmin Neal, US, 2019, 7 min.)
A lost boy seeking help is faced with a harsh reality.

Dani Burt (Brian Olliver, US, 2019, 11 min.)
Confronted with a dark reality as a new amputee, Dani Burt finds freedom and inner peace when she’s introduced to the sport of surfing.

Stronger than Steel (Jacob Pincus, US, 2019, 7 min.)
Stronger than Steel reflects on the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, seeking hope for the future of our divided nation.

Canary in a Mine (Takaitheartist, US, 2019, 16 min.)
A young Black man who is led to discover happiness during dark times by a strong Black woman, after losing his younger brother at the hands of the police.

Thin Blue Variety Show (Gretta Wilson, US, 2019, 3 min.)
On a day in the life behind your television, five personified movie cop costumes attempt to guard the line of justice under rising pressures.

Wednesday at Elizabeth (Noa Wollstein, US, 2020, 15 min.)
The story of Mabel, an asylum seeker detained by ICE. Hoping for release and fearing deportation, Mabel provides a harrowing view of the migrant detention system.

Unsaid (Eric Frost-Barnes, US, 2019, 19 min.)
A woman grapples with the sudden loss of her daughter and husband, who were killed in a mass shooting earlier that day.

Butterflies (Yona Rozenkier, Israel, 2020, 8 min.)
Another Sunday in April. A kibbutz in the North of Israel. A natural phenomenon. A family on an impromptu ride, maybe the last one…

Rebel (Pier-Philippe Chevigny, Canada, 2019, 15 min.)
To Alex, a naive six years old boy, the mysterious patrols his father leads with his right-wing militia are just more occasions to go play hide and seek out in the woods.

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