Non-profit

Social Justice Film Institute (SJFI)

Website:

socialjusticefilminstitute.org/

Location:

Seattle, WA

Tax ID:

86-1781669

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Film Production Nonprofit

Formation:

2013

Executive Director:

Sam Hampton

Budget (2023):

Revenue: $193,049
Expenses: $170,325
Total Assets: $182,064

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The Social Justice Film Institute (SJFI) is a nonprofit film production organization based in Seattle, Washington. 1 SJFI produces short and full-length films, as well as documentaries that tell stories of alleged racial injustices and which promote left-of-center perspectives on issues like climate change. The Institute hosts the Social Justice Film Festival (SJFF), an annual, week-long forum during which SJFI screens its films and selects its award recipients. 2

Background

The Social Justice Film Institute was founded in 2013 with its first Social Justice Film Festival, although it did not receive its federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit status until 2021. 3 The Institute’s founding members “recognized the value of art and film to educate and raise awareness” to advance left-of-center initiatives. 4 Their vision for the Institute and the Film Festival was to create an environment where film could educate and inspire change regarding left-of-center social justice issues to far-reaching audiences. 5

SJFI produced a short film entitled Defund the Police, which explains in the form of a cartoon how “our ideas about policing are shaped by our race, gender, class, and parents.” 6 The film encourages its viewers to consider defunding the police because no one’s “lived experience” agrees with the “‘Officer Friendly’” image society paints. 7

The Institute claims to seek “equity and justice” through an explicitly “racial justice lens.”  8 The Social Justice Film Institute has explicit statements on its website acknowledging the indigenous lands that it now works upon in Washington and its commitment to antiracism. 9

Programs and Initiatives

The Social Justice Film Institute’s largest project is the Social Justice Film Festival. 10 In addition to screening films, the Festival includes discussions and panels on topics such as promoting abortion, abolishing police, and promoting the individual experiences of younger members of society. 11 The 2023 SJFF showed 45 films across the span of five days in October. 12

SJFI also organizes educational workshops, community outreach programs, and grassroots events in coordination with other nonprofit groups. 13 These programs include workshops like the “Social Justice Documentary Production for Nonprofits” course. 14

The Institute also provides nonprofit consulting and produces two podcasts: the Social Justice Film podcast and Justice In Motion. 15 These podcasts offer a left-of-center perspective on film, contemporary art, and its connection to social justice. 16

Leadership

The executive director of the Social Justice Film Institute is Sam Hampton. 17 Hampton holds a Ph.D. from Cleveland State University in Urban Education. 18 Before joining SJFI, Hampton co-founded Docs in Progress, a Maryland nonprofit that trains documentary filmmakers. 19 He is also the former director of management consulting at 501 Commons, a Seattle–based capacity-building nonprofit. 20 Hampton formerly sat on the American Film Institute’s Documentary Film Festival (AFI Docs) selection committee and sat on the board of the Harley School, a left-of-center New York independent day school. 21

Jody Cole is a co-founder and the artistic director of the Social Justice Film Institute. 22 He is a Seattle native who studied at the University of Washington before beginning his career in festival management and event planning. He formerly worked for the Seattle International Film Festival and other festivals in the U.S. 23

Anne Paxton is a co-founder of SJFI and SJFF, where she still sits as a member of the board. 24 She is also the Director of ProForum, an educational nonprofit. 25 She received her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law in 2015 and is an employment attorney and policy director at Unemployment Law Project. 26

Radical Films

The Social Justice Institute and Social Justice Film Festival have awarded several left-of-center films that explore racial injustice, defunding the police, and left-wing gender ideology. 27

SJFF awarded Short Narrative Gold to a short film entitled The Fourth. 28 This film follows the story of young men of color who are targeted by an unjust police search that leads to an unjust police shooting. The film was directed by Johnny Kirk, who said the film “is based on the countless footage we see on the news of young men of color who experience police stops, for those who don’t make it home after a police or traffic stop.” 29 He said, “It’s common to see another police shooting an armed black man.” 30 The film won 16 other awards, including Best Short Film at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles and Best Director at the Greenwich Village Film Festival. 31

Another film shown was Common As Red Hair, a short-film that follows the story of a husband and wife who feel guilty for electing to have sex-normalization surgery performed on their newborn intersex child. 32 Director Robbie Robertson claimed that such surgeries are “irreversible and medically unnecessary,” and that the film showed the harm caused by the surgery. 33 The film won the Medium Length Narrative Silver Award at the SJFF and Best Drama at the Open Gate International Film Festival. 34 The film, which appears to have been named as part of a narrative that intersex children are as common as people with red hair, raised over $20,000 on the crowdsource platform IndieGoGo. 35 36 It starred former “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” actor Wally Kurth. 37

On These Grounds won Feature Documentary Gold at the SJFF. 38 The documentary follows the true incident in South Carolina from 2015 when a police officer threw a Black student from her chair after being asked to leave by her teacher. 39 The film’s narrative focuses on the idea that American policing is systemically racist, and follows racial activist Vivian Anderson’s efforts to support the girl. 40 Anderson interviewed the officer in question during the film, where she reminded him, “we can say you’re not racist, but there’s racism. And not just that. There’s so many levels—of patriarchy, sexism, gender bias” in American policing.” 41 The film received a critics rating of 88 percent on Rotton Tomatoes, coverage in media outlets such as The Guardian, and accolades from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) labor union. 42 43 44

Donors and Financials

The Social Justice Film Institute has several donors and partners, including City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, which awarded SJFI $7,380 donation in 2023 through the Centering Art & Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) Grant. 45 SJFI also received between $100,000 and $200,000 from a Daffodil Grant given by the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation in 2023. 46 The Arts Fund gave SJFI a Community Accelerator Grant Recipients in 2023 for $22,500. 47

Other partners of SJFI and SJFF are 4Culture, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Contributions, and Taubman Entertainment Group, Inc. 48 SJFI’s total revenue for 2023 was $193,049, its expenses were $170,325, and its total assets were $182,064. 49

References

  1. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  2.  Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  3. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  4. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  5.  “About.” Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  6. Defund the Police. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/film s/64f8de23ca81c7009e3c4820
  7. Defund the Police. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/film s/64f8de23ca81c7009e3c4820
  8. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  9. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  10. Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  11. Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  12. Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  13. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  14. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  15. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  16. Programs. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/programs
  17. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  18. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  19. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  20. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  21. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  22. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  23. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  24. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  25. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  26. Anne Paxton. LinkedIn. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-paxton-7a7878a/
  27. Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  28. Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  29. The Fourth. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/films/64fb3a 4b460ab200c07c08ac
  30. The Fourth. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/films/64fb3a 4b460ab200c07c08ac
  31. Awards. The Fourth. IMDB. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8211614/awards/?ref_=tt_awd
  32. Common as Red Hair. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/film s/64fb381169d56d005708191d
  33. Robbie Robertson. “COMMON AS RED HAIR: raising awareness and funding for a new short film about the intersex community.” YouTube. April 24, 2022. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= T8vuRuMAoN4
  34. Awards. Common as Red Hair. IMDB. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt26682254/awards/? ref_=tt_awd
  35. Common as Red Hair, IndieGoGo. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/common-as-red-hair#/
  36. Colin Wright, “Intersex is not as common as red hair,” Reality’s Last Stand. December 8, 2020. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/intersex-is-not-as-common-as-red
  37. Wally Kurth, Internet Movie DataBase. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0475986/
  38.  Festival. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://socialjusticefilminstitute.org/festival
  39. Ford, Dana and Botelho, Greg and Conlon, Kevin. “Spring Valley High School officer suspended after violent classroom arrest.” CNN. October 27, 2015. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/27/us/south-carolina-school-arrest-video/index.html
  40. On These Grounds. Social Justice Film Festival 2023. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://sjff2023.eventive.org/film s/64fb3d1ae9af4e07e2cb1396
  41. Wissot, Lauren. “Doc Star of the Month: Vivian Anderson, ‘On These Grounds.’” International Documentary Association. September 30, 2021. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.documentary.org /column/doc-star-month-vivian-anderson-these-grounds
  42. Reviews “On These Grounds,” Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/on_these_grounds/reviews
  43. Radheyan Simonpillai, “On These Grounds: a shocking film about police brutality within US schools,” The Guardian. September 21, 2021. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/sep/21/on-these-grounds-documentary-police-brutality-us-schools
  44. American Federation of Teachers, “Learning and lifting up: AFT celebrates Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.” February 13, 2024. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://www.aft.org/news/learning-and-lifting-aft-celebrates-black-lives-matter-school-week-action
  45. Centering Art & Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) Grant. City of Seattle Official Website. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://seattle.gov/arts/programs/grants/centering-art-and-racial-equity-grant#2022
  46. 2023 Partnerships. Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.marielamfrom.org /2023
  47. 2023 Community Accelerator Grant Recipients. Arts Fund. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://www.artsfund.org/ accelerator-recipients/
  48. About. Social Justice Film Institute. Accessed May 5, 2024.  https://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/about
  49. Social Justice Film Institute. ProPublica. Accessed May 5, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/ organizations/861781669
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 2022

  • Available Filings

    No filings available.

    Social Justice Film Institute (SJFI)

    5031 University Way NE, Suite 208
    Seattle, WA 98105-4341