Last Monday we attended the festival’s centerpiece documentary, Watchers of the Sky, at the Castro Theater. The film, directed by Edet Belzberg, chronicles the life and influence of Raphael Lemkin. A Polish lawyer who lost a large portion of his family to the Holocaust, Lemkin coined the term genocide and lobbied the UN to elevate these acts internationally as a punishable crime. Through old footage, animation, and interviews, his narrative is interlaced with several other stories about leaders guilty of similar brutalities and those willing to bring them to justice. The film brings a raw perspective and deeper awareness to these war crimes and a greater appreciation to modern international laws and efforts that expose current day genocide.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival runs from July 24 to August 10. A list of remaining films can be found here.