Half a Ton of Bronze - One of the films at this year's SVJFF.

“Not all Israelis are computer scientists, entrepreneurs and military geniuses.” Believe it or not, some are even sumo wrestlers. On opening night of the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival (SVJFF), which happens this Saturday (Oct.8) at the De Anza Visual and Performing Arts Center (tickets), you can witness first hand a spectacle you’re unlikely to see at Cannes.

Three time world sumo wrestling champion “Byamba” will take on two challengers in a live opening night demonstration. The director of the USA Sumo Association will narrate so that you can follow the action; later, you’ll be able to meet Byamba and the other wrestlers during a break.

It’s all part of a fun opening night for the festival that includes a screening of A Matter of Size, a heartwarming story about weight-challenged Israelis who aspire to become sumo wrestlers. Along the way, they learn a lot about the sport and about themselves as well.

Executive Director Mark Levine spent some time with Stark Insider to talk about the festival, the opening night Sumo match, and some of the challenging decisions that go into choosing the programming.

Stark InsiderStark Insider Podcast

Featuring: Mark Levine, executive director SVJFF

Listen now:

“We’ve opened it up. There are films that may have some relationship to the Jewish people, to Israel, to Jewish culture, Jewish religion” said Levine. “But others may not and just touch on it briefly… we just decided we’re going to let the audience decide.”

Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival

Opens October 9
Runs through November 13

22 films with an international theme

Opening night Gala (Oct. 9th):

  • A Matter of Size
  • Sumo Wrestling Demonstration with 3x World Champion Byamba

Wednesday night films will continue to be offered at the Camera 7 Theater, Pruneyard Shopping Center, Campbell.
Sunday films will continue to be at the Cimera 12 Theater, downtown San Jose.
Saturday evening films will be at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, and the Cubberley Community Theater in Palo Alto.

(with Clinton Stark contributing)

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.