It's springtime and the San Francisco International Film Festival is here again to enlighten us with the latest best film and commentary. May I say YAY?
There is tons of good stuff in the program, so here's just a bit of what I'm looking forward to:
1st: As usual, The State of the Cinema Address. The seductive combination of academia + film and you have the best event of the year for film nerds. Every time I've been my hand is sore after from excitedly taking so many notes. Hmmm, maybe I'll bring my recorder this year... Check out my coverage of the 2008 State of the Cinema Address with Wired Magazine's Kevin Kelly. This year's address is by independent cinema forerunner and risk taker Christine Vachon, cofounder of Killer Films, who as the SFFS says, "has been at the forefront of the independent film movement, championing risky, emotionally demanding work from unknown filmmakers and never shying away from edgy material." She's behind Boys Don't Cry, and a bunch of other cool stuff including that she produced the TV version of This American Life (personal journalism film nerd win).
2nd: Since such a big part of animation is "you never know what the F you are in for" film festivals are the best place to catch the latest. I've had more than a few experiences where I have seen some awesome animation then it disappears into the abyss of it's not on netflix or youtube how do I watch it world. Needless to say I plan on catching at least one or two animations and some of the childrens' categories. A cat in Paris looks interesting - Paris, french language, "watercolor" style. drool.
3rd: There are some seriously excellent looking documentaries in this year's program. Years past at the SFIFF I have seen great documentaries such as Age of Stupid, Crude, and A Journey with Peter Sellars... This year there are 30 documentaries in the program. American Teacher looks like a must-see: we need passionate teachers yet we underpay them. What to do? An inside look into the strife of the modern American teacher through 4 different perspectives. Education is such an important issue right now that every American should feel passionate about embracing, the more we all can learn the better. Cave of Forgetten Dreams- Herzog's latest, filmed in 3D, a look at cave paintings from 30,000 years ago. I heard him discuss it on npr yesterday, and he said once he went into the caves he decided not to go back in for 5 days because "he needed to absorb it." There's also an Yves Saint Laurent doc I'd love to see, Women Art Revolution about women artists in the 60s and 70s, Page One: Inside the New York Times (journalism nerd super win!). Let the Wind Carry Me, an inside look into a cinematographer's world that "details the itinerant lifestyle of a deeply observant and philosophical artist and the tolls that his profession takes on his family life." Enough said.
4th: New Skin for the Old Ceremony: 11 short films set to each track in this 1974 album by Leonard Cohen. "The films will be projected uninterrupted with the album as a soundtrack." HELL YES. I experienced this sort of thing at last year's SF animation fest with the Decemberists' Hazards of Love Visualized and it was awesome. A 21st century cinematic experience. Plus it includes the screening of a 1967 documentary of the young Cohen: Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Mr. Leonard Cohen.
5th: An Evening with Oliver Stone: Oliver Stone will be on stage for a Q&A. As I mentioned above, I love hearing interesting people speak their minds, and I worked at fora.tv for a year so by now I know enough about lectures to know when it's going to be GOOD. Oliver Stone? Enough said.
6th: Any of the unexpected awesome films I run into and am transfixed by. Stay tuned...
Hopefully I can make it to all of this. Being currently based out of Reno makes things a bit tricky but yes I will drive hundreds of miles for this stuff.
This is also posted on my film blog over at Fest21.