Held each spring for 15 days, the San Francisco International Film Festival is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring 174 films and live events, upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests and diverse and engaged audiences with more than 70,000 people in attendance. Remarkably intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the International combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, hard-hitting documentaries, digital media work and star-studded gala events. The 55th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 19-May 3.
Opening Night kicks off Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm at the Castro Theatre with Benoît Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen (France, 2012), a sumptuous and intimate portrayal of court life at Versailles during four crucial days of the French Revolution, painting a fascinating picture of social breakdown—mounting chaos calmly observed. Diane Kruger is electric as the youth-obsessed Marie Antoinette, and Léa Seydoux is wonderfully enigmatic as the queen’s confidante. Following the screening there will a lavish Opening Night Party held at the gorgeous Terra Gallery at 9:30 pm where guests are invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, sophisticated cocktails and, of course, dancing. Opening Night is dedicated to the memory of Executive Director Graham Leggat, who always loved a great party. You must be 21+ to attend the party. http://festival.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=31
At the center of the Festival is an extraordinary event featuring an edgy new film by a celebrated director and this year the Festival’s Centerpiece screening will feature Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister (USA, 2012) staring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewtitt and Mark Duplass. When Iris (Blunt) sends her best friend Jack (Duplass) to a cabin on Puget Sound, thinking the isolation will help him come to terms with his brother's death, he arrives to find Iris’s sister, Hannah (DeWitt), recovering from a bad breakup and they quickly bond over their shared misery. When Iris turns up to surprise Jack, she notes a new connection between him and her sister and friendships and sibling bonds are soon tested in this funny, truthful and largely improvised dramedy. Your Sister’s Sister will screen on Saturday, April 28 at 7:00 pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, followed by a chic Center Piece Party at 9:30 pm at CLIFT, one of San Francisco’s hottest nightspots. http://festival.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=118
The 55th San Francisco International Film Festival ends on a high note—a really high note—with an all night celebration kicked off by a rousing screening of Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey (USA, 2012) at the Castro Theatre on Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 pm. A documentary by Ramona Diaz, the film follows Arnel Pineda who, despite being born into desperate poverty in Manila, never stopped believing in something better. Pineda sang Journey songs for years with cover band Zoo and it was his postings of their performances on YouTube that is the catalyst of this unbelievable story. Youtube is where the band—the original Journey—found him and made him their new lead singer. Now they’ll all discover if this remarkable story is too good to be true as they embark on a major world tour. Closing Night will feature very special guest appearances, and a rockin' party with live entertainment, dancing, food and drinks. The party will commence at 9:30 pm at the newly renovated Sloane Square(d) on Mission Street. You must be 21+ to attend the party. http://festival.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=23
Join the Festival for a very special award night Wednesday April 25th in the Castro Theater to celebrate the career of Judy Davis, one of cinema's great acting talents. Named for the longtime San Francisco benefactor of arts and charitable organizations, Peter J. Owens (1936–1991), The Peter J. Owens Award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. The evening will include a clip reel of career highlights and an onstage interview with Davis, followed by a screening of her recent film The Eye of the Storm (USA, 2011). http://festival.sffs.org/awards/peter_owens_2012.php
The Founder’s Directing Award will be presented at An Evening with Kenneth Branagh on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 pm in the Castro Theater. Kenneth Branagh is one of the world's most consistently acclaimed filmmakers, and his work as a director is trademarked by quality, truth and passion. The Film Society is thrilled to celebrate Branagh with the Founder’s Directing Award, given each year to a master of world cinema in memory of Irving M. Levin, the visionary founder of the Festival in 1957. The event includes an onstage interview and the screening of one of Branagh’s lesser-seen gems, Dead Again (USA, 1991). http://festival.sffs.org/awards/founders_directing_award_2012.php
The Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting acknowledges the crucial role that strong screenwriting plays in the creation of great films. For his indelible contributions to American cinema, the Film Society presents the 2012 Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting to David Webb Peoples. Join the Festival in honoring Peoples on Saturday, April 28 at 12:00 pm in the Sundance Kabuki Cinema with an onstage interview prior to a screening of Unforgiven (USA, 1992), frequently heralded as one of the best Westerns ever made. http://festival.sffs.org/awards/kanbar_david_peoples_2012.php
This year’s Live and On Stage acts will include a live performance on Monday April 23 at 8:00 pm in the historic Castro Theater by Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. She will score short films by Buster Keaton, adapting her previous work while collaborating with local wunderkind guitarist Ava Mendoza. Like Garbus, Keaton (as both actor and director) excels with just a few basic props—a house askew, a slippery floor, a piece of trash—manipulating them in absurd and incredibly nuanced ways that frequently escalate into a cacophonous riot. For this very special live engagement, Garbus and Menodza will be joined by the entire tUnE-yArDs crew, accompanying the films One Week (1920), The Haunted House (1921)— and with Fatty Arbuckle—Good Night, Nurse! (1918) and The Cook (1918). http://festival.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=64
The International is deeply rooted in the strongest and finest traditions of appreciation of film both as an art form and as a meaningful agent for social change. It is a cultural treasure for Bay Area audiences, who embrace new ideas, compassionate humanity and world citizenship. SFIFF features a bonanza of narrative feature films, live action and animated shorts, television and theatrical documentaries, experimental work and a variety of new digital media, as well as a smart lineup of industry panels and seminars, awards events, onstage tributes, retrospectives and the highly acclaimed Schools at the Festival program, which brings more than 3,000 elementary, middle and high school students and their teachers into the festivities. More than 75,000 filmgoers attended the 2011 Festival, which played at venues throughout an enthusiastically responsive Bay Area. For me information visit festival.sffs.org.
Added by cinesoul on April 11, 2012