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Bruce Goldstein honored at at the 52nd San Francisco Fest

Bruce Goldstein will receive the Mel Novikoff Award at the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23 - May 7). Named for the pioneering San Francisco art and repertory film exhibitor Mel Novikoff (1922 - 87), the award acknowledges an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public's knowledge and appreciation of world cinema. The Novikoff Award will be presented at An Afternoon with Bruce Goldstein on Sunday, May 3 at 5:00 pm at the Castro Theatre preceding an onstage interview with Goldstein by Anita Monga. Included in the program, a 20-minute reel of Rialto Pictures trailers (edited by Goldstein) will screen, as well as a 35mm print of Nights of Cabiria (Italy/France 1957), one of many films to benefit from Goldstein's dedication to restoring and revitalizing classic films.

One of Federico Fellini's early films, Nights of Cabiria is distinctly rooted in the Neorealist movement, following a nimble prostitute, Cabiria (Giulietta Masina), as she searches for love but encounters frequent heartbreak. Mistreated and taken advantage of by almost everybody she encounters, Cabiria eventually meets a man who promises her a respectable future and falls head over heels in love with him. What follows is a series of humiliating episodes, in which the defiantly positive Cabiria is hurt, but never broken.

Film Forum director Karen Cooper hired Bruce Goldstein to program the theater's second screen in 1987; Goldstein soon turned it into the city's pre-eminent repertory cinema. In the past 22 years, he has programmed over 300 film series and retrospectives and unveiled over 700 new 35mm prints. Under Goldstein's direction, Film Forum's repertory division has been the showcase for most of the major restorations of the past two decades, including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Touch of Evil, Metropolis, Rear Window, Rules of the Game and many others. In 1997, Goldstein founded Rialto Pictures (a year later joined by partner Adrienne Halpern), a distributor specializing in classic restorations, responsible for such high-profile reissues as Godard's Contempt and Band of Outsiders, Nights of Cabiria, Jules Dassin's Rififi, Alberto Lattuada's Mafioso and Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows, which was named Best Foreign Film of 2006 by the New York Film Critics Circle. Most recently Rialto has restored Godard's Made in USA (U.S. premiere), Costa-Gavras' Z and Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. Goldstein is also editor-in-chief of Film Forum's quarterly repertory calendar, which is awaited eagerly by film buffs around the country.

Director of Programming, Linda Blackaby points out, "We knew we had the right guy for this year's award when Bruce started recalling having dinner with Mel Novikoff in 1983 when he was in San Francisco for the premiere of his film, Hollywood Out-takes, which had a subsequent successful run at the Castro. As Jim Hoberman says, Bruce is a 'programmer's programmer'; he is a great showman, an exemplary exhibitor and a true cinephile. We are especially thrilled to screen Nights of Cabiria at the Castro, as Novikoff committee member Phil Kaufman recalls it was a film Mel loved."

Previous recipients of the Mel Novikoff Award are Jim Hoberman (2008), Kevin Brownlow (2007), Anita Monga (2005), Paolo Cherchi Usai (2004), Manny Farber (2003), David Francis (2002), Cahiers du Cinéma (2001), San Francisco Cinematheque (2001), Donald Krim (2000), David Shepard (2000), Enno Patalas (1999), Adrienne Mancia (1998), Judy Stone (1997), Film Arts Foundation (1997), David Robinson (1996), Institut Lumière (1995), Naum Kleiman (1994), Andrew Sarris (1993), Jonas Mekas (1992), Pauline Kael (1991), Donald Richie (1990), USSR Filmmakers Association (1989) and Dan Talbot (1988). The Mel Novikoff Award Committee members are Francis J. Rigney (chairman), Linda Blackaby (ex officio), Helena R. Foster, George Gund III, Maurice Kanbar, Philip Kaufman, Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer, Janis Plotkin and Peter Scarlet.


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