The Covenant Grants

JFI On Demand for the Next Wave

Organization: Jewish Film Institute, San Francisco, CA

Grant Year: 2016

Project Director: Lexi Leban

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000 (1 year)


To support a pilot program that builds on the success of its Video On Demand platform. The pilot offers an innovative hybrid approach to engagement that allows users to view the highest quality independent films exploring Jewish themes outside of traditional theatrical environments and to participate in post-screening conversations with filmmakers and scholars in live and online environments.

Using compelling and relevant films selected from Jewish Film Institute’s (JFI) digital archive of over 1,600 titles the pilot will provide this target demographic nationwide with tools for online participatory engagement and opportunities for live conversations in organizational settings. JFI will partner with Jewish educational organizations, confer with scholars, and create additional film listings to augment understanding about a diversity of Jewish subjects. Suggested films will be viewed independently or in small groups and followed by designated quarterly Q&A’s with invited international filmmaker guests, scholars in the respective fields, and a moderator. Opportunities will also be provided for live engagement through JFI’s partnerships with national organizations. 

Each quarter, JFI will offer a film to be selected in conjunction with a particular Jewish holiday, current world event, or pressing theme, to young adults from a diversity of communities for viewing in multiple locations during the same time period. At select times, JFI will convene online discussion groups and will work with partners for subsequent live events that can further build on this momentum. JFI will live-stream international filmmakers and experts into a virtual “hangout” to provide greater insight into filmmaking and the filmmakers, and offer a deeper contextualization of the films.

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