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San Francisco International Film Festival

Lisa Aschan's First Feature: She Monkeys at SFIFF54

Recently I had the chance to interview an art director about his craft. I asked him to describe how he thought all the effort that he put into the sets will translate to the audience when it's all said and done. "You hope it's just a feeling... you know?" I realized then that's the most any artist hopes for, to display or transfer a feeling, not describable by logic. That's why Black Swan was enchanting, why Cave of Forgotten Dreams was so moving, and it's why I couldn't separate my ...

Werner Herzog in 3D: Cave of Forgotten Dreams at SFIFF54

I have been delaying it long enough, it's time to write about experiencing Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams Monday night. Not that I have much to say besides SEE IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Let the film envelop you and enjoy the ride. I won't be a fool and spoil for you or try describe the near out of body experience in too many words. Here are just a few thoughts: As she introduced the film festival programmer Rachel Rosen said, "This film reminds us how extraordinarily wonderful...

Christine Vachon: The State of Cinema is...Not Necessarily Taking Place in a Cinema

Last night, closing out day 4 of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Christine Vachon of Killer Films delivered the State of Cinema Address. Christine has personally produced over 60 films, including I'm Not There, Boys Don't Cry, One Hour Photo, and the 2010 HBO mini series Mildred Pierce. The annual Address is billed as assessment of cinema + culture + society. Here's a little summary. The style of the talk was the type where Vachon would ask a question, sort of state that she ...


 French Actor Mathieu Amalric Directs and Stars in This Sexy, Wistful Comedy, Featuring Burlesque Performers from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and New York San Francisco, CA – The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21–May 5) will close with On Tour, Mathieu Amalric’s directorial feature about brassy American burlesque performers touring the French countryside, 7:00 pm, Thursday, May 5 at San Francisco’s landmark movie palace the Cas...


 New Print of Italian Classic Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée Will Screen at Castro Theatre with Support From Gucci and Scorsese’s Film Foundation   San Francisco, CA – The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21–May 5), with support from Gucci and Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, will present a new print of the 4K digital restoration of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (Italy 1960), a film that shook up international...


 Screenwriter/Director Will Receive Honor at Film Society Awards Night and an Onstage Tribute Featuring Dog Day Afternoon   San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Film Society announced today that Frank Pierson will be the recipient of the Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting at the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21–May 5). The Kanbar Award, which acknowledges the crucial importance of a script in the production of an exceptional film, will b...

San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21 - May 5) will open with Beginners (USA 2010), by Mike Mills

  Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent Star in Personal Story of Coming Out and Starting Over   The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21 - May 5) will open with Beginners (USA 2010), writer/director Mike Mills' deeply personal and universal contemplation of chances and choices in life and love, which spotlights beautiful portrayals by Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Mélanie Laurent. Beginners will screen 7:00 pm, Thursday, April...

Rockwell the Inspiration for Duncan Jones' 'Moon'

Rockwell the Inspiration for Duncan Jones' 'Moon' WHOA! This movie is a mind-blow. Let me start by saying that I am quite unfamiliar with the genre of science fiction. When I read about this movie I didn't think, 'Oh what a cool sci-fi this movie will be.' SO it was a surprise to me when during the Q&A at the West Coast premiere of the movie at the SFIFF Sunday night so many questions and answers had to do with the sci-fi genre (themes borrowed from other movies, etc...


Longest-Running Film Festival in the Americas Enjoys a Spectacular 52nd Year with Superb Programming, Numerous Special Guests and Many Memorable Sold-out Events The San Francisco Film Society wrapped its 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23-May 7) with 272 screenings of 151 films from 55 countries, with 144 filmmakers and 54 industry guests from 25 countries in attendance, with an estimated 82,000 filmgoers. Over its packed 15 days the Festival set new record highs for att...

'Age of Stupid' Finally, BOLDLY Shows Fate of Earth

Last night 'Age of Stupid' had its North American premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and after watching I feel more called to action than I have in my 23 years on earth. "I hope you enjoy the film- well not enjoy exactly- it's not a feel good movie but a feel inspired movie," director Franny Armstrong said before the show. This is not your average documentary. Age of Stupid starts in the future- the year 2055 at a [computer generated] "digi...

Coppola, American Zoetrope Founders Thrill San Franciscans

Forty years ago Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Carroll Ballard, and Walter Murch moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles, and founded the film company American Zoetrope.  Three years later Coppola made ‘The Godfather.’ Accompanied by their wives, last night the men sat around on stage at the world-renowned Castro Theatre, telling the story of how it all began.   Zoetrope was $30,000 in dept before Coppola did ‘The Godfather.’  Worried about the debt and knowing that C...

Everything Strange and New in San Francisco

Last night I watched 'Everything Strange and New' - showing one last time tomorrow- Saturday, May 2nd at the Kabuki cinema for the San Francisco International Film Festival.  Two minutes in I wanted to skip back to the beginning because I was stopped in my tracks by the style of film making.   I wanted to watch it over so as to catch every detail.  This is a BLEAK movie.  And man, the filmmaking is incredible at illustrating bleakness.  Eerily slow zooms and dolly shots ...

European Film Talents Shine At San Francisco Film Festival

 TROUBLED WATER  At mid point of the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival, the oldest in North America, films from European directors have been making the most impact. With its cosmopolitan air and its distinctive European ex-pat communities, San Francisco is not only a destination for European artists but also a place to sample the best of the new European cinema. Most of the European films on display are congregated in the World Cinema section. ...

The Story of A San Francisco Icon

  In the beautiful city of San Francisco, history is never far away from the gleaming city by the bay that has been its modern identity. Yes, tech companies prosper and it is a financial and business hub. But the glories of San Francisco past is still very much in evidence. Some would say the glory years were the 1950s and 1960s, when San Francisco was the home to the beats and the  hippies, and had an international reputation for tolerance and forward thinking. It still has that ...

Robert Redford Considers His Career

  The atmosphere was tinged with excitement in the glorious movie palace that is the Castro Theater. Eager audiences were assembled to worship at the feet of one of filmdom's true icons. Here, on this stage, was an actor who has made women swoon, made man envious and made his mark as one of the last true Hollywood stars. Robert Redford, with a face and physique that still makes heads turn, was being honored by the San Francisco International Film Festival with the Peter J. Owens Award f...

Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola to be Honored Live at SFIFF

  Robert Redford will be honored in San Francisco tomorrow night as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival.   Redford will be receiving the Peter J. Owens award, named for the longtime San Francisco benefactor of arts and charitable organizations Peter J. Owens (1936-91), this award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. The San Francisco Film Society notes about Redford... Such intention of purpose and unwave...

Coppola And Friends In San Francisco

The San Francisco Film Society has announced a special program as part of the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival scheduled for next Friday, May 1. An Evening with Francis Ford Coppola & Friends, to be held at the historic Castro Theater, will honor the brilliant career of one of the seminal figures in American film. The event will take the form of a free-ranging onstage conversation between Coppola and his longtime colleagues and collaborators George Lucas, editor Walter...

Double Woods Honored In San Francisco

  Actors Evan Rachel Wood and Elijah Wood (no relation) have been chosen to receive this year’s Midnight Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival tomorrow evening. The Awards have been designed to honor a dynamic young American actor and actress who have made outstanding contributions to independent and Hollywood cinema. The Awards ceremony and after-hours cocktail reception is one of the Festival’s hottest tickets. This year, the actors will be interviewed in a rel...

A New Mexican Talent To Watch

  With all the headlines emerging from Mexico about drug cartels and gang wars, the zeitgeist culture of America's neighbor to the south is undeniably dramatic and more than a bit terrifying. Out of this cultural conflict often emerges great art and artists, and Mexico has been for the past decade a prime resource of exceptional film talent. Add to the list that includes Del Toro, Cuaron and Innaritu, the name of writer/director Fernando Eimbcke, whose film LAKE TAHOE is premiering at t...

Robert Redford To Receive Owens Award

  Robert Redford has won many hats in his nearly 50 year career: leading man, Oscar-winning director (ORDINARY PEOPLE), social activist and founder of the Sundance Film Institute. However, it is his acting that will be honored next week at the San Francisco International Film Festival, where he will receive the Peter J. Owens Award at the Festival’s Tribute Gala. In addition, the notoriously publicity-shy Redford will appear at a public onstage tribute at the Castro Theatre in a ...

LA MISSION To Open San Francisco FF

  San Francisco, April 18-------The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (23 April – 7 May) will open with local director Peter Bratt’s LA MISSION, a powerful story about the ties of family and responsibility set in the city’s Mexican-American community. The film, which stars Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander and Jeremy Ray Valdez, had its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was made, in part, with monies from the Scene in San Francisco financial rebate pro...

SFIFF52 Lineup Announced

The full schedule for the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival, April 23-May 7, is now available at Keep an eye out for new films by masters like Claire Denis (35 Shots of Rum), John Boorman (The Tiger's Tail) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking); brilliant documentaries by Heddy Honigmann (Oblivion), Joe Berlinger (Crude) and Anne Aghion (My Neighbor, My Killer); and remarkable feature debuts from Benjamin Gilmour (Son of a Lion), Aida Begic (Snow) an...

State of Cinema Address in San Francisco

Sunday morning in San Francisco, Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine, delivered the State of Cinema address. Kelly has worked in digital technology since his founding role with The Well, in 1985, one of the first "true" online communtities. So he had a lot to say about what the future, inevitably and obviously digital all the way, will look like for motion pictures. He opened his talk with a little factoid about life today: the amount of screens everywhere. "Anywhe...


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