Wednesday, April 01, 2015

SFIFF58 Opening Press Conference

Yesterday morning the San Francisco Film Society held the opening press conference for the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs April 23 to May 7. Executive Director Noah Cowan gave us an overview of this year's films & events, along with programmers Rachel Rosen, Rod Armstrong, Sean Uyehara & Audrey Chang.

The printed program groups over 180 films under blurry categories like "Masters," "Global Visions" & "Vanguard" but is difficult to navigate. There is definitely a strand about technology, starting with opening night film Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, a new documentary by Alex Gibney. Mr. Gibney will also be interviewed onstage in a separate Cinema Visionaries event. Alex Winter's documentary Deep Web explores the trial of Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht. Special effects master Douglas Trumbull will discuss new immersive cinema experiences in a State of Cinema talk, & Nonny de la Peña will talk about using technology to create immersive journalism.

Guillermo del Toro & Richard Gere are among the special guests receiving awards. Performance artist Miranda July will do a live event involving audience participation. The Kronos Quartet will accompany a film constructed from World War I footage. Films about music include a Brian Wilson biopic & documentaries about Nina Simone & The Residents. The documentaries City of Gold, about food critic Jonathan Gold, & Very Semi-Serious, a look at The New Yorker's cartoonists, should be entertaining. Monte-Cristo, a 3-and-a-half-hour French silent film from 1929, will be presented with a recorded soundtrack as part of an afternoon with subtitler Lenny Borger.

Ms. Rosen announced 3 films not in printed program: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Overnight & Ride, with Helen Hunt acting, directing & writing. Mr. Cowan tried to end the event without a Q&A, but a few media representatives piped up with questions anyway. I felt sorry for the publicity staff, who had to check in attendees using a multi-page list that did not have our names in alphabetical order.

§ Festival Website | Film Finder | Calendar | Program Guide PDF | Tickets

§ Opening Press Conference
March 31, 2015
The Crown Room of the Fairmont San Francisco

§ 58th San Francisco International Film Festival
April 23 - May 7, 2015

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