The San Francisco International Film Festival unveiled its far-ranging 60th anniversary lineup yesterday, along with an earlier calendar spot (April 5-19), a new shorthand moniker (hello SFFILM Festival, goodbye SFIFF) and a cascade of one-off events (the first weekend, especially). Tickets go on sale to the public at noon on Friday, March 17, which gives you ample time to mark up your calendar with films to see. Here’s a tip sheet of the programs likely to sell out first.
'The Green Fog — A San Francisco Fantasia' with Kronos Quartet
For the closing night program on April 16 (note that Festival screenings continue through April 19), SFFILM commissioned a new work by cult hero Guy Maddin. With a couple close collaborators, Maddin has fashioned an alternate view of San Francisco circa Vertigo from a dizzying, delectable assortment of vintage footage. Jacob Garchik composed a score to accompany the visuals, which the redoubtable Kronos Quartet will perform.
18 Black Girls/Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Arrived at the Singularity and Are Thus Spiritual Machines
Terence Nance’s acclaimed performance pieces combine dance, music and images from the internet to examine perception, stereotypes and identity. Black girls have the spotlight at the April 16 show, followed by the boys the following evening (both shows at the Victoria).
'Long Strange Trip'
Amir Bar-Lev’s six-part, four-hour Grateful Dead documentary premieres May 26 on Amazon Prime, but why wait to start your Summer of Love commemorative celebrations? Catch a contact high at the Festival’s tax day show at the Castro, where dancing in the aisles is permitted. (Possibly. Smoking is definitely verboten, so if you want to party like it’s 1969, plan accordingly.)
A Tribute to Ethan Hawke
It took me a long, long time to warm up to the Austin-born actor, director and novelist. The turning point was his unshowy performance a decade ago as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s dim-bulb brother in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Hawke takes a bow and takes questions at the YBCA on April 8, followed by a screening of Maudie starring Sally Hawkins as Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis and Hawke as the fish peddler she married in 1938.
East Bay filmmaker Pete Nicks’ hotly awaited follow-up to The Waiting Room (shot in the ER at Oakland’s Highland Hospital) observes the Oakland Police Department at a crucial juncture in the national debate over police power and racial injustice.