THE LINEUP FOR SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 4-17, 2018

SFFILM Festival

SFFILM Festival

Lights, camera, action, cut, edit and watch the creations of the celluloid dreamers on the big silver screen. Yes, it is that time of the year in the Bay Area. Get ready for the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM) that runs from April 4-17, 2018. The 10-day festival is packed with films, live music, award nights, conversations, master classes and a tribute to actress Charlize Theron. The events for SFFILM are spread across San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

The opening night film on April 4, 2018 is director Silas Howard’s  A Kid Like Jake with Claire Danes, Jim Parsons and Octavia Spencer. The closing night film on April 14, 2018 is director Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot with Joaquin Phoenix, Johan Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black.

Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, and Leo James Davis appear in A Kid Like Jake by Silas Howard. Photo by John Pack.

Here are some films that caught my eyes while browsing through SFFILM’s lineup. The festival features both new and old films from masters like Olivier Assayas and John Woo.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is a documentary by Marina Zenovich. Williams lived in the San Francisco Bay area. The film screens on April 7, 2017 at Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Come Inside My Mind by Marina Zenovich. A documentary on Robin Williams

Robin Williams appears in Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind by Marina Zenovich. Photo by Mark Sennet.

 

Filmmaker David Sington’s Mercury 13 is a documentary about a group of women that were trained by NASA for a space flight. But, their turn to travel to space did not come through. The film explores what happened and why their mission was still born.

Mercury 13

Mercury 13

 

RBG is a film about US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The film is directed by Betsy Wise and Julie Cohen, who will be at the Castro Theatre screening on April 14, 2018.

 

Neville Morgan’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a portrait about Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame. The film screens on April 7 and April 9, 2018 and Morgan will be at the screenings.

SFFILM provides a rare opportunity to listen to a mix of interesting people on films, filmmaking and technology like Wayne Wang, Guy Maddin, Alex Garland (director of Ex Machina) Annette Insdorf, and Jaron Lanier (who coined the term Virtual Reality).

Tickets for the  61st San Francisco Film Festival go on sale from Friday, March 16, 2018.

 

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VIDEO: ACTIVIST DOLORES HUERTA & FILMMAKER PETER BRATT ON “DOLORES”

Activist Dolores Huerta is the subject of filmmaker Peter Bratt‘s new documentary Dolores. I caught up with them at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival to find out why it took so long to make a film on Huerta, who worked alongside Cesar Chaves on California’s farm workers movement. Huerta’s involvement goes back to the 1960s and she shares how she got involved and the influence of Gandhi and his non-violent philosophy on Chavez and herself.

Dolores releases Sept 1, 2017 in San Francisco Bay area. In early 2018 the film will air on PBS stations.

Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where we feature new interviews.

VIDEO: SFFILM’S NOAH COWAN

We sat down with Noah Cowan, Executive Director of SFFILM to find out about their long-term strategic direction and what it means to be a film institute in San Francisco. In early 2017 they changed their name to SFFILM from San Francisco Film Society.

SFFILM has year around programs and works with various organizations to help promote films,filmmakers, artist development and outreach programs for students. They host an annual international film festival, provide grants and support artists, and work with high schools to educate students on how to read films and apply them in learning other subjects. SFFILM has one of the biggest grant making programs for commercial films and were instrumental in the making of Patti Cake$, Fruitvale Station, Beasts of Southern Wild and other films says Cowan.

We are not a standalone entity but are part of the San Francisco Bay area fabric points out Cowan. They work with various organizations like San Francisco MoMa, San Francisco Opera, Pacific Archives and others. It is essential to connect with the technological change in cinema and evolve with the community points out Cowan. Earlier this year they introduced an online screening room and a mobile app for their members.

Cowan joined SFFILM in 2014 and prior to that he spent many years at the Toronto Film Festival.

This interview was aired on TV in the US.

You can watch our weekly TV show in the US. Here is a list of TV stations that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcasts where we feature new interviews.

VIDEO: JAMES IVORY ON FILMS, ISMAIL MERCHANT AND INDIA

We sat down with director James Ivory to talk about growing up on the west coast, arts, films, Ismail Merchant, Ruth Prawar Jhabvala, Satyajit Ray and India. Ivory also shares some of his favorite films from his childhood days.

Ivory was born in Berkeley, grew up Oregon and every year they visited San Francisco Bay area to spend time with their extended family. He studied architecture and fine arts at the University or Oregon and filmmaking at University of Southern California (USC). At USC he made a short film called Venice: Themes of Variations. His second short film The Sword and the Flute was inspired by Indian miniature paintings that he first saw in an art gallery in San Francisco. It was this film that led to his interest and connection in India and also his first meeting with Ismail Merchant.

In 1961 Ivory and  Merchant formed the Merchant Ivory Productions. Around this time they also started their collaboration with writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. The trio made award-winning films like Shakespeare Wallah, Heat and Dust, A Room With A View, Howard’s End, The Remains of the Day and others.

This interview was recorded at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, where his film Maurice was screened.

This interview was aired on TV in the US.

You can watch our weekly TV show in the US. Here is a list of TV stations that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where we feature new interviews.

VIDEO: FILMMAKER AMIT MADHESHIYA ON THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS, WALTER MURCH & FILMS

Filmmakers Amit Madheshiya and Shirley Abraham’s award-winning documentary The Cinema Travellers shows you a different side of India’s love for films. The duo takes you on a magical ride around the small villages and towns outside of Mumbai (Bombay), India’ entertainment capital, which is home to Bollywood film industry. What we get to see in the film is a dedicated band of cinema travellers or dream merchants who show films to an audience that gets to see 35mm films about once a year.What you see is a whole different world – an analog world filled with old 35mm films and 35mm projectors and the films are screened in pitched tents.

We sat down to speak with Madheshiya during the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. Madheshiya and Abraham produced, directed and co-wrote their debut film that took them nearly 8 years to make. Both had to learn a lot about filmmaking and how to edit the film. Madheshiya shares that he learnt a lot by reading Academy Award winner Walter Murch’s (The Godfather) books and watching his films.  The films’ cinematography is the one that hooks you into the film and we wanted to find out how Madheshiya shot the film and what kind of camera he used. We also find out how he developed an interest in photography and about his mentor in his boarding school in Nainital, India. Tune in to find out about the making of The Cinema Travellers.

This interview was aired on TV in the US. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where we feature new interviews.

VIDEO: NOAH COWAN OF SFFILM ON 60th SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Noah Cowan of SFFILM shares what is in store for the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the US. The festival runs from April 5th to April 19th 2017 in San Francisco and Berkeley.

This year’s festival features over 180 films. And, for the first time the festival will honor a Bollywood star. Well-known Bollywood start Shah Rukh Khan will be in town on April 14th.

For tickets and information go to SFFILM’s website.

This interview aired on TV in the USA. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our weekly TV show. You can subscribe to our  YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.