You Had To Be There: My Top 10 Memories from SFIFF55

by Rachel Rosen

4/19: It's On

photo by Pamela Gentile

Opening Night Post Screening Q&A. I love it when post-screening Q&A’s don’t go as planned. I would call this one an even draw between Benoit Jacquot, director of Farewell, My Queen and interpreter Natacha Ruck.

4/20: Marilyn Embarrassment

photo by Pamela Gentile

Our festival KinoTek presentation of the work of  Karolina Sobecka included Pornographic Pursuit 2, a film loop of Marilyn Monroe disrobing that only runs to completion if gallery visitors jog in place. A trio of young women wanted to experience the art but, due to embarrassment, jogged avidly facing away from the projected image.  (Sadly, We only have a picture of the piece being experienced with the more common facing-the-image method.)

4/22: Fire Drill!

photo by Pamela Gentile

I know a fire alarm should not necessarily be a festival highlight, but thankfully not a single film was on the screen at the time.  Our festival operations staff got to show their stuff and what could have been a disaster turned into an impromptu 15-minute street event.

4/23: TuneYards and Buster

photo by Pamela Gentile

I got to experience this one as a regular audience member. Just an all-round great night of cinema and music.

4/26: Award Winners and Cows

photo by Pamela Gentile

What did Award recipient Kenneth Branagh do during the day before the Film Society’s Awards Night Gala? He went to see the Swedish documentary Women with Cows.  And he liked it. And he talked about it on the radio the next day.

4/28: Men of Cinema

photo by Pamela Gentile

Some of our favorite men of cinema turned out to honor well-loved “man of cinema” and Novikoff Award recipient Pierre Rissient, including the Film Society’s Ted Hope (who managed to evade the camera).

4/28: We Are the World

photo by Robert Jerome

Apparently the Bay Area has a large number of expatriates from the remote Azores island of Corvo depicted in our documentary award-winning film It’s the Earth Not the Moon. Here are some of them who turned up for the film’s Pacific Film Archive screening in Berkeley.

5/1: Hometown Heroes

photo by Tommy Lau

The Waiting Room Q&A. I love a huge hometown screening, especially when it gave the audience a chance to show their enthusiasm to documentary subjects who are probably too busy helping patients to feel the love at a lot of festival screenings.

5/2: Best. Filmmaker. Lunch. Ever.

Only the Young’s Garrison Saenz and Kevin Conway got to experience San Francisco’s ornate Palace Hotel. Plus, Golden Slumbers’ Davy Chou hooked up an invite to Magic Mountain from Kevin.

5/3: Hometown Heroes, Part II
Journey’s Arnel Pineda gave us a little a cappella treat to ring out the festival.

Bonus: Favorite Festival Sweater

And the winner is... Davy Chou!

Rachel Rosen is Director of Programming at the Film Society.