Lessons in Film Style and Fashion 2012

by Joslyn Thoresen

I'm a film viewer who mostly enjoys the whole ensemble;  what I truly relish are the particular details of well-dressed characters.  It is with this particular taste that I present a  montage of some of my favorites: the lessons from the stylists, costume designers, cinematographers, directors, and others with 'the eye' behind these films enjoyed on the SFFS and SFIFF screens. 

Style—all who have it share one thing: originality.
— Diana Vreeland

Hover over image for the caption

Bah, Humbug: 6 Anti-Holiday Holiday Movies to Entertain Your Inner Scrooge

by Rod Armstrong

Rather than revisiting feel-good family classics It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street for the millionth time, why not ring in the holidays with one of these violent, scabrous, not-suitable-for-family-viewing faves?

Bad Santa (2003) — Billy Bob Thornton is unforgettable as an alcoholic con man who uses a Santa suit as distraction for various acts of thievery and bad behavior. Directed by Essential SFer Terry Zwigoff and holds the record for most profanity in any holiday-themed film.


Black Christmas (1974) — Regarded as one of the first slasher films, this seminal Christmas-themed horror pic influenced Carpenter’s Halloween four years later. Around ten years later, director Bob Clark would make the far more wholesome holiday favorite A Christmas Story. (Ed: Plays tonight on the big screen at the Roxie with Margot Kidder in person!)


New Year’s Evil (1980) – Underrated early slasher film details the bad deeds of a man who calls himself Evil and who plans on murdering someone from each U.S. time zone as the clock strikes midnight. Happy New Year, indeed.


Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) — It's the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, and an archeological dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn't the one you want coming to town! A blackly comic gem.


Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) — After his parents are murdered by someone in a Santa suit, poor Billy is forever traumatized and the holiday season will never be the same for him. Followed by four terrible sequels. Due to parental protest over Santa depicted as a killer, the movie was pulled from theatres after only two weeks.


Strange Days (1995) — Cult favorite from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (currently receiving raves for Zero Dark Thirty), this is a stylish and nutty murder mystery set just before New Year’s in 1999. Bay Area band Testament is one of the featured groups during the Millennium party scene.

My 17 Favorite (Unseen) Photos from SFIFF 2012

by Bill Proctor

Here are a few of my favorite photos taken at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival.  It’s my great pleasure to work closely with the outrageously talented photographers that document our big show every year, and they captured some fantastic moments in 2012.

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In Focus: SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners

In Focus: SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners

Yesterday we announced the latest winners of this fall's SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant, which supports feature narrative films that uplift the Bay Area professionally and economically. Or as our Executive Director Ted Hope put it, "Wow. We just gave away $300K!" So without further ado, we invite you to meet the winning bunch of filmmakers.

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Sundance 2013 Roundup

Sundance 2013 Roundup

By now, you've probably heard—the official selections are in for Sundance 2013's U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions. Among them are five films that the Film Society has supported through grants and fiscal sponsorships as they've developed into feature-length, fully-formed films:

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An Interview with Ryan Coogler

by Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director, Filmmaker360

It's clear when you meet Ryan Coogler that he is something special.

I met Ryan in January 2012 at Sundance Film Festival. Soon after the festival, we met again back in San Francisco and began talking about living in the Bay Area, filmmaking and his film, Fruitvale, which follows the true story of Oscar Grant, who was killed in a police shooting in Oakland on New Year’s Eve 2008.

He shared his script with me and it was clear that he was a natural fit for our recently launched Off the Page program, where we bring actors to the Bay Area to workshop scripts with writer/directors involved with us in various ways. Ryan had actors Melonie Diaz and Michael B. Jordan attached and it looked likely that they were going to start shooting in July. We thought it would be an incredible experience for them all to get to know one another in the Bay Area where the film would be shot, and to meet Oscar Grant’s family prior to beginning production.

Ryan was already a finalist for the SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant, but it was during the months leading up to and during Off the Page that we really got to know him, his producing team (Nina Yang, Sev Ohanian and Gerard McMurray) and his project. He had recently graduated from USC and had returned to the Bay Area determined to make films here. We introduced him to Bay Area crew and then in late spring 2012 awarded him a $100,000 SFFS/KRF grant for production. The grant review panel was incredibly moved by this very timely and poignant story of Oscar Grant, and its exploration of the contemporary issue of the police shooting and killing of young unarmed African American men. And while we are committed to working with filmmakers from all over the country, finding someone local who so perfectly fit our mandate to support filmmakers and films that uplift the Bay Area professionally and economically . . . was like hitting the jackpot.  

But to be honest, a big reason the film was funded is because we were so taken by Ryan as an individual. He is talented, passionate, creative, collaborative and yet very humble . . . Every interaction with Ryan has been a pleasure. He is the heart and soul of his film and that really came out in the way we’ve worked together this past year.  Hard to believe it’s only been a year.

I wonder who I’ll meet next year . . .


Ryan Coogler is currently a finalist for the Fall 2012 SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant. Winners will be announced in early December.

"Welcome to the Digital World, Movie Version"

[Sony] told me that they can’t print [Martin Scorcese’s 1993 film The Age of Innocence] anymore because Technicolor in Los Angeles no longer prints film. Which means a film we made 20 years ago can no longer be printed, unless we move it to another lab—one of the few labs still making prints.
— Theresa Schoonmaker, editor

Daniel Eagan writes about the historical, archival and aesthetic ramifications of the move away from 35mm film projection, and why it's not so easy (or cost effective) to make a new print at a different lab.

80s Movie Rap Revival: Amigos!

Remember when movies recapped their entire plots with a rap song over the end credits? San Diego-based writer Ryan Bradford does. He and his cohorts were inspired to write and record their own alternate credits song for the Steve Martin/Chevy Chase/Martin Short classic ¡Three Amigos! (because of course that's the movie they chose). Listen above, and check out the lyrics below.

In Defense of Final Cut Pro X

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was what became FCP 7 . . . Concision, after all, is the soul of editing, and the film-editing project begun a century ago with scissors and glue may yet reclaim its own simplicity. What we really want, if we’re unashamedly honest, is facility of editing with the ease of dreaming. To say, “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and see instant results on the screen.
— David Leitner, Filmmaker Magazine

David Leitner raises some interesting arguments in favor of Final Cut Pro X being the next step in non-linear editing's evolution. Have you made the switch over to FCPX or are you abandoning Final Cut Pro? Those of you who use FCPX, has your opinion changed since its initial release?

Keep your friends close...

Peter Greenaway at the 40th San Francisco International Film Festival, 1997. Photo by Pamela Gentile.

I am now making a 3D movie in Portugal. I think there is no future whatsoever in 3D, it does nothing to the grammar and syntax or vocabulary of cinema... but I think it’s important for me to learn as much as possible about cinema and optics.
— 4-time SFIFF featured filmmaker Peter Greenaway