Last week I attended the San Francisco International Film Festival's opening press conference, which was held under an outrageous chandelier at the Fairmont Hotel. Noah Cowan, the SF Film Society's 4th Executive Director in as many years, briefly touted the Film Society's educational & grant programs, then festival programmers Rachel Rosen, Rod Armstrong, Audrey Chang & Sean Uyehara gave a general rundown of festival events.
Opening night film is The Two Faces of January, an international thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. The centerpiece film is Palo Alto, a film by yet another Coppola, based on a book by James Franco. Mr. Franco, who already did a good job publicizing the film last week, is also represented in the festival as the director of Child of God. The closing night film, Alex of Venice, is another film from an actor, Chris Messina.
Richard Linklater will attend for a 3rd time, receiving the Founder’s Directing Award & presenting Boyhood, which was shot with the same cast over a span of 12 years. Live events include Thao Nguyen accompanying short films, including Charlie Chaplin’s The Pawnshop, & Stephin Merritt accompanying the silent horror film The Unknown, starring Lon Chaney. Hasan Minhaj will appear in an evening of stand-up comedy.
The documentary Return to Homs was mentioned several times during the press conference. Bob Weir is expected at the screening of the documentary The Other One. All that Jazz, Manila in the Claws of Light & Queen Margot are being shown in newly restored versions. All About the Feathers is the 1st film from Costa Rica to play at the festival. I'm glad that The Trip to Italy, a follow-up to Michael Winterbottom's entertaining The Trip, is on the program.
3 films have been added since the printed schedule came out: Begin Again, Calvary & The One I Love. During the Q & A, a journalist asked if there were any films "made under dire conditions."
§ 57th San Francisco International Film Festival
April 24–May 8, 2014
§ Opening Press Conference
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 10:00 am
Fairmont San Francisco