Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SFIFF54 Press Conference

SFIFF54 Press ConferenceThis morning in the swank Westin St. Francis, the San Francisco Film Society held a press conference announcing the up-coming San Francisco International Film Festival. Executive Director Graham Leggat and programmers Rachel Rosen, Sean Uyehara, Rod Armstrong & Audrey Chang gave us an overview of the wide selection of films, though it is difficult to get one's mind around a schedule of 189 films plus special events. Ewan McGregor is expected to be present at the opening night movie, Beginners. Closing night is Tournee, a French film featuring a cast of New Burlesque performers, some of whom will attend & perhaps perform. One of them, Suzanne Ramsey, aka "Kitten on the Keys", was at the press conference, wearing a voluptuous red dress & cat ears.

The Festival Spotlight is on 3 films exploring "flat art": Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog's documentary about the Chauvet cave paintings; The Mill and the Cross, about Bruegel's The Way to Calvary; and Nainsukh, about an 18th century Indian miniaturist. Live events include Tindersticks performing a live soundtrack to short films, Leonard Cohen's New Skin for the Old Ceremony, the Zellner Brothers, & Porchlight, which Mr. Uyehara described as a "disaster" when done last year. Documentary highlights include Detroit Wild City and Cinema Komunisto. Under the New Directors category, programmers noted Sound of Noise, End of Animal & Le Quattro Volte. The programmers also pointed out 3 films from the Middle East: Microphone, Circumstance & The Green Wave. Fassbinder's TV movie World on Wire will be screened in a digital version in San Francisco & as a film print at the FPA, so you can compare & contrast.

When asked to name a favorite film, Mr. Leggat did not hesitate to name The Mill & the Cross. He recommended A Cat in Paris for children. Programmers also mentioned The Trip & Letters from the Big Man, which Mr. Uyehara said makes you ask yourself, "Why am I resisting this film?" There are already 3 more films added to the festival which are not in the printed schedule: Magic Trip, Another Earth & Submarine.

This event started at 10am but must have been early for many of the attendees, who were competitive in the coffee line. A large screen sat in the room, but we did not see any film clips. I sat behind an official from the San Francisco Arts Commission who turned out to be the person who brought Zhang Huan's wonderful 3-headed buddha to Civic Center Plaza.

§ San Francisco International Film FestivalApril 21 - May 5, 2011
Screenings at the Kabuki Cinema, Castro Theatre, New People VIZ Cinema, SFMOMA & the PFA. Ticket sales for the general public begin tomorrow.

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