SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME at Castro Theatre

July 29, 2018 @ 7:45 pm – 9:45 pm
Castro Theatre
429 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$25 General Admission | $22 Member Admission

The  38th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) will close with Sam Pollard’s exploration of the life and career of legendary Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr., SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME. The screening is the centerpiece of a strategic partnership between the Festival and the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) to promote dynamic engagement about issues of identity and representation in the arts.

The film will screen Sunday, July 29th at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco with Pollard in attendance.

“Sammy Davis Jr. knocked down a lot of doors for Black folks with style and fearlessness. Fearless leaders can often be misunderstood.  This film goes deeper in many aspects of his life  as it shares Sammy’s commitment to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement and the Black men and women serving in the Vietnam War.  A man comfortable with his identities. I’m looking forward to this film changing the perceptions of what is Black, Jewish and decidedly American. An impactful must see film.”

– MoAD Director & CEO Linda Harrison


At the age of three his immense talent was already on display as he sang and tap danced his way across the country performing with his father and godfather. In the 1950s, he notoriously dated Hollywood star Kim Novak prompting Columbia Pictures bigwig Harry Cohn to order him to stick to Black women. Following a serious car accident in which he lost an eye, Davis converted to Judaism. In the 1960s, the only African American member of the legendary Rat Pack, he supported John F. Kennedy’s candidacy, marched in Selma with Martin Luther King and became a prominent activist in the civil rights movement. And then in 1972 he shocked the country by supporting Richard Nixon for reelection, giving him a famous hug on stage during the Republican convention. It’s hard to imagine a more talented and groundbreaking performer who led a more complicated and contradictory life than Davis. He did not shy away from controversy and was not afraid to use his name and talent for a good cause. Featuring excerpts from his exhilarating performances and interviews with the likes of Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis and Whoopi Goldberg, director Sam Pollard’s riveting documentary unpacks the apparent contradictions and presents a very full and very human portrait of this complex, courageous and conflicted man. The film made its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

After the screening July 29th at the Castro Theatre, SFJFF and its Closing Night partner MoAD will host the Closing Night Reception on the Castro Theatre’s Mezzanine. Enjoy tasty drinks and dishes while toasting to the end of the festival’s  San Francisco run.