Some Familiar Faces in the Chronicle

Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle Datebook featured some familiar faces with a double feature on the San Francisco Film Society. Executive Director Ted Hope made the cover(!) and Filmmaker360 Director Michele Turnure-Salleo talked about helping great films get made.

Also, make sure not to miss the bonus 16 capsules full of exciting SFIFF films and events! See you at Opening Night this Thrsday!

SFIFF 56 in Depth: Focus on Asia

Whether you're hankering for gangster action or stunning non-fiction, SFIFF56 has something for every cinephile, especially in our focus on Asian films. Watch trailers here of some the best films in contemporary cinema from Indonesia, China, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, and Hong Kong - including the award-winning Cold War.   Don't miss their screenings at this year's festival!

A Toast to SFIFF56!

Yesterday we toasted to the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival with our Press Conference, Member's Night, and Festival website launch! Our trailer has gone public, film guides are out, and merchandise is in and on sale.  Hats off to our amazing staff, volunteers, members and supporters who made last night a blast!

George, Sean & Willie Welcome the Annual SFIFF UFO

George Gund III was an avid film lover and distinguished philanthropist, and his unwavering support of the San Francisco Film Society spanned more than four decades. He led SFFS and its annual San Francisco International Film Festival into a period of unprecedented growth and success, resulting in a robust year-round cultural organization that now reaches more cinema enthusiasts and supports more filmmakers than any other time in its history.

Just for fun, George joined Sean Penn, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Bay Area writer Armistead Maupin in making a cameo appearance in the 41st San Francisco International Film Festival trailer at Tosca Cafe.

And just so you know - The press conference for our 56th San Francisco Interplanetary Film Festival is just a few days away (April 2)!!

SFIFF56 In-Depth: Honoring An Audio Tech Pioneer

The San Francisco Film Society announced today that Ray Dolby, inventor of numerous recording technologies and founder of local industry powerhouse Dolby Laboratories, will be the recipient of the George Gund III Award at Film Society Awards Night during the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 25–May 9). The George Gund III Award, given in tribute to the longstanding Film Society chairman of the board who passed away earlier this year, honors a worthy member of the filmmaking community for their outstanding and unique contributions to the art of cinema.

Ray Dolby, founder and director emeritus of Dolby Laboratories, pioneers Dolby’s work in noise reduction and later in surround sound has earned extensive recognition worldwide. He holds more than 50 U.S. patents, and has received many accolades for his work, among them an Academy Award for Scientific or Technical achievement and an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

SFIFF56 In-Depth: Big Nights

Our countdown is going, and our much anticipated SF International Film Festival is just 34 days away!  We're excited to announce that we'll be opening our 56th with Scott McGehee and David Siegel's film What Maisie Knew, celebrating our Centerpiece with Jacob Kornbluth's film Inequality for All, and closing with the last of the beloved trilogy Before Midnight by Richard Linklater.

Member tickets available for Big Night films today.
Open to the general public tomorrow, March 22.


Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel (USA 2012)

In this loose adaptation of Henry James's 1897 novel of the same name, Scott McGehee and David Siegel focus on the effects of a marriage's unraveling as viewed through the eyes of a couple's six-year-old daughter. Shuttling between narcissistic parents and bemused but compassionate parental stand-ins, young Maisie comes face to face with the mercurial world of grown-ups who are anything but. With Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Onata Aprile, Steve Coogan.


Directed by Richard Linklater (USA 2012)

They're still the same romantic, articulate and gorgeous couple that met on a train in Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995), but now, nearly 20 years on, Jesse and Céline (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) are approaching middle age and facing questions of commitment, family and, as ever, the staying power of love. Before Midnight, with a funny and touching screenplay cowritten by Linklater and his two lead actors, is that rare sequel (rarer still: a sequel to a sequel) that not only delivers the charm and energy of its antecedents but adds layers of poignancy, standing firmly on its own as a mature observation of love's pleasures and discontents. With Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior.


Directed by Jacob Kornbluth (USA 2013)

In this Inconvenient Truth for the economy, the Sundance Special Jury Award-winning Inequality For All introduces former Secretary of Labor (and current UC Berkeley professor) Robert Reich as an inspirational and humorous guide in exploring the causes and consequences of the widening income gap in America and asks what is means for the future of our economy and nation. Passionate and insightful, Reich connects the dots for viewers by providing a comprehensive and significantly deeper understanding of what's at stake if we don't act.

Flashback Friday: State of Cinema by Tilda Swinton

The San Francisco International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary of the State of Cinema Address this year with Steven Soderbergh. The Festival has had many talented speakers including: author Jonathan Lethem, film producer Christine Vachon, film editor Walter Murch, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, Wired publisher Kevin Kelly, writer/directore Brad Bird, cultural commentator B. Ruby Rich, longtime editor of the influential French film magazine Positif Michel Ciment and actress Tilda Swinton.

Here are a few highlights from the magnificent Tilda Swinton's speech when she delivered the annual State of Cinema address at the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival in 2006.

SFIFF56 In-Depth: Live & Onstage

We just announced that Steven Soderbergh, one of the world’s most celebrated figures in contemporary filmmaking, will deliver the tenth annual State of Cinema Address at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival. The State of Cinema will headline the Festival’s Live & Onstage program of unique one-time-only events featuring elements of live music, multimedia presentations and audience participation - read what we have lined up below:


State of Cinema Address by Steven Soderbergh
Saturday April 27, 1:00 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

On the 10th anniversary of SFIFF’s annual State of Cinema Address, we are excited to present iconoclast and (currently designated) filmmaker Steven Soderbergh as he discusses the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema, culture and society. Always riveting and defying expectation, Soderbergh doubtlessly will clarify and challenge one’s current views on where cinema is going and what it should be.

$20 for SFFS members - On sale today! Not a member? Join here.
$25 for the general public - Box office opens March 15.


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Show or Tell
Friday April 26, 9:15 pm
New People Cinema

Bay Area artists and visiting filmmakers of SFIFF present their passions, experiences, relationships and obsessions with the moving image. This will be a true variety show with music, an illustrated lecture, surprises and a behind-the-scenes story or two. The show will include musician/cinephile Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), writer/editor/designer Eli Horowitz (former McSweeney’s managing editor), artist/filmmaker Lucy Raven (RP31, China Town) and musician/activist Boots Riley (The Coup) and others to be announced. (Photo by Tommy Lau.)


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Inside the Drunken Mind of Derek Waters
Saturday April 27, 9:15 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Friend of the Festival, writer-producer-actor-comedian, hyphenate Derek Waters (A Drunken Evening with Derek Waters SFIFF 2010, Only the Young SFIFF 2012) will be on stage presenting a program whose origins are best described as welling from deep inside Waters’ mind. Waters will share his personal discoveries of media from around the world, plus we get a peek at his new Drunk History television show for Comedy Central.


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No More Road Trips?
Sunday May 5, 4:30 pm
Castro Theatre

Founder of the Prelinger Archives, Rick Prelinger brings us No More Road Trips?, a dream ride through 20th-century America made entirely from home movies that asks whether we’ve reached the end of the open road. The soundtrack for this fully participatory film is created by audiences at each screening.


Waxworks with Mike Patton, Scott Amendola, Matthias Bossi and William Winant
Tuesday May 7, 8:30 pm
Castro Theatre

As has become a tradition at SFIFF, we again unite vital contemporary musicians with classic silent film. Mike Patton and three percussionists—Scott Amendola, Matthias Bossi and William Winant—team to create an original score for the classic German expressionist film Waxworks (1924) that they will present in a live world premiere.

Tickets on sale now!

While You Wait...

While you wait for the San Francisco International Film Festival to start at the end of next month (April 25-May 9), we thought it might be fun to catch another film festival. This week PBS launched its 2013 Online Film Festival, showcasing 25 films, including award-winning films from independent filmmakers, with a wide array of styles, perspectives and subject matter.  Vote for your favorite and get ready for next month!