The San Francisco International Film Festival celebrates its 60th with expanded programming, new venues and name tweaks—Wed, April 5, through Wed, April 19, 2017
The 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival opened Wednesday at the historic Castro Theatre with Gillian Robespierre’s sentimental indie comedy, Landline (2016), and runs for the next 14 days, offering 181 films from 51 countries, 6 world premieres, 57 women directors and upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests. This grand festival, the longest running film festival in the Americas, celebrates its 60th anniversary with a few changes and expanded programming that tackles urgent social issues and captures the immense talent as well as the heart of its Bay Area locale.
New this Year
This mammoth fest is now called “SF International Film Festival,” instead of SFIFF, and that’s because its sponsor, SFFILM, changed its name; it was formerly the San Francisco Film Society. SFFILM’s mission remains to “champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area.” Other changes in the festival include: a start date that is two weeks earlier than usual; closing night festivities that occur two days before the festival’s actual end date; the main Festival Box Office is now headquartered in SOMA, in the YBCA Grand Lobby; and the festival itself is spread all over in 14 San Francisco and 1 Berkeley venue, including the Castro Theatre, the Roxie, the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater, SFMOMA’s new state of the art Phyllis Wattis Theater, the new Dolby Cinema (on Market St.) and PFA (inside Berkeley’s new BAMPFA).
The sprawl presents a logistics nightmare for those driving in who require parking. Your best bet is to buy all your tickets in advance and plan to see films within walking distance of one another. It’s worth the hassle to get there. Nothing beats seeing a film the way it was meant to be seen—on the big screen with state-of-the-art acoustics and an engaged audience to keep you company. This festival delivers one of the highest ratios of face time with creative talent and flies in special guests from all over the world for nearly every film who participate in engaging post-screening Q & A’s. These are the exchanges that build lifelong memories and a foundation for understanding cinema.
Be on the lookout for a series of high-profile tributes and awards: (Ethan Hawke (April 8, YBCA), Tom Luddy (Mel Novikoff Award, April 9, Castro), Eleanor Coppola (George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award, April 10, SFMOMA), Lynn Hershman Leeson (Persistence of Vision Award, April 11, YBCA), John Ridley (April 12, Alamo Drafthouse), Gordon Gund (April 13, SFMOMA), James Ivory (April 14, SFMOMA), Shah Rukh Khan (April 14, Castro).
There’s an enhanced music and film schedule. This year’s Centerpiece feature is Geremy Jasper’s Patti Cake$, about an aspiring rap star (April 12, Castro). The Man With a Movie Camera with Devotchka (April 13, Castro) combines Dziga Vertov’s 1929 avant-garde trip through three Soviet cities with a live Devotchka performance.)
The festival is also unveiling new programs involving the technology world. An inaugural Creativity Summit will launch with Dr. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Dsiney Animation Studios giving the State of Cinema address (April 8, Dolby Cinema).
The first weekend is dedicated to parties, special events and major new films. Following that is a week of international and Bay Area cinema mixed with cross-media explorations culminating in the festival’s 60th anniversary commission at Castro on April 16: The Green Fog–A San Francisco Fantasia, an exciting new collaboration by SFFilm and Stanford Live in which the renowned Kronos Quartet will perform a new score by composer Jacob Garchik to accompany a visual collage by filmmaker Guy Maddin. In addition, the festival continues to tip its hat to new and global filmmakers through its awards. Ten narrative features and ten documentary features will compete for the Golden Gate Awards (GGAs) and nearly $40,000 in total prizes.
Stay-tuned, ARThound will next preview the festival’s top films.
When: The 60th SF International Film Festival runs 14 days─ Wednesday, April 5 –Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
Tickets: $15 most films, more for Special Events and Parties which generally start at $20. Passes—the popular CINEVOUCHER 10-pack ($140 general public and $120 for SFFilm members) and the exclusive CINEVISA early admittance to every screening, party, and program (with exception of Film Society Awards Night) ($1350 SFFilm members and $1675 general public). How to buy tickets—purchase online at http://www.sffilm.org/festival/attend/tickets or in person during the festival. Main Festival Box Office: is YBCA Grand Lobby, open daily Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 16, noon to 8 pm. During the festival , other screening venues also sell tickets.
Advance ticket purchases absolutely recommended as many screenings go to Rush. Check the festival website to see which films are currently at rush (the list is updated frequently).
Day-of Noon Release Tickets: Each day of the Festival, tickets may be released for that day’s rush screenings. Pending availability, tickets may be purchased online or in person at the main festival box, starting at noon. Not all shows will have tickets released, and purchasing is first-come, first-served.
Rush tickets: Last-minute or rush tickets may be available on a first served basis to those waiting in line for cash only about 10 minutes before show time. If you want rush tickets, plan to line up at least 45 minutes prior to screening time. No rush tickets for screenings at BAMPFA
More info: For full schedule and tickets, visit: http://www.sffilm.org/festival