Janis Plotkin programmed and produced the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival from 1982 through 2002. While at the Festival she was instrumental in building diverse audiences that reached 35,000 attendees and programmed local television broadcasts of Jewish-subject cinema to audiences of 500,000. Since 1998, she has curated monthly screenings at the prestigious San Francisco Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
On the international scene, Plotkin co-produced the first Jewish Film Festival in Moscow in 1990. In 1992, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Spain, she organized a Jewish film festival in Madrid. Plotkin has been a leader in the field of independent Jewish subject cinema. She co-wrote, edited and published Independent Jewish Film, a resource guide about the more than six hundred films presented in the Festival. This resource information is now available at sfjff.org, an on-line library and archive of Jewish films presented at the San Francisco festival.
Plotkin holds a double master’s degree in social work and Jewish community studies from the University of Southern California and the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles (M.A., M.S.W., 1976) and a B.A. in social welfare from the University of Washington in Seattle (1973). In 2001 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew Union College for her work. After twenty-one years at the Festival she resigned in 2003 to pursue other interests in film. She is currently teaching a film class at Stanford University and is a film programmer for the Mill Valley Film Festival.