The diversity of the Bay Area is reflected in the film festivals that are celebrated here. From short to feature-length, local to international, documentaries to fantasies, the films represent the full breadth of experiences and stories that happen both in front of and behind the lens. Film fans can dive deep into one festival or sample them all for a truly eclectic mix.
CAAMFest San Jose (10/6–10/14)
Celebrating its fourteenth year, CAAMFest San Jose presents films reflecting the impact and influence of Asian Americans in Silicon Valley and their continuous innovation in technology, arts and culture, media, and community. Re-envisioned to be more community-driven and accessible, this year’s festival features five days of free public screenings, including a screening of Mele Murals about the blending of modern graffiti art with traditional Hawaiian culture to inspire young people.
Silicon Valley African Film Festival (10/14–10/16)
The Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF) promotes an understanding and appreciation of Africa and Africans through moving images. SVAFF is the only film festival in California that is exclusively focused on films made by African filmmakers and provides the Bay Area community access to the richness, diversity, and vitality of Africa’s creative expressions through the lenses of Africa’s seasoned and emerging filmmakers. The festival includes film screenings, live performances, an African marketplace, dialogue with filmmakers in attendance, panel discussions, community forums, food, and more. A centerpiece feature of the festival is the Diaspora Spotlight, a program that honors and celebrates Africa’s ancestral footprint in a country or region of the African diaspora through film screenings, exhibitions, performances, and panel discussions. The inaugural Spotlight program will feature Brazil.
San Jose International Short Film Festival (10/20–10/23)
The San Jose International Short Film Festival began as a collaboration between Bill Hargreaves and Sinohui Hinojosa, both avid movie fans and patrons of the arts. Looking for ways to connect brilliant short form filmmaking to appreciative audiences in San Jose, they organically grew the festival from a single screening to the four-day event it is today. The films are gathered into blocks organized by genre or theme, and the 8th annual festival will present an incredible array of world class short films from across the globe.
United Nations Association Film Festival (10/20–10/30)
The United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) was originally conceived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded by Stanford educator and film critic Jasmina Bojic with the participation of the Stanford Film Society and the UNA Midpeninsula Chapter, it is now one of the oldest solely documentary film festivals in the United States. UNAFF has grown and earned the respect of audiences and filmmakers alike for its fearless independence and integrity. In addition to providing early outlets for films, many of which later go on to win major awards, UNAFF prides itself on creating a community forum with year-round programs for discovery and dialogue about different cultures, issues, and solutions.
Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival (10/27–11/20)
The Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival (SVJFF) aims to be a unifying event in Silicon Valley that drives connectivity with and within the multi-generational and increasingly diverse Jewish community through the power of films that showcase Jewish spirit, culture, traditions, and humor. Filmgoers can enter a dialogue around entertainment, art, politics, society, and global issues before, after, and between screenings at this nearly month-long festival.
Photo by Gregory Cortez