The San Francisco International Film Festival is underway, and while we recently offered our 10 Must See-Films, those certainly aren't the only 10 movies you should see. Indeed, if that list had gone up to 11 -- and, really, shouldn't they all? Down with base-10 tyranny! -- we absolutely would have included Good Ol' Freda. So, consider this our official extra recommendation: You should totally check out Ryan White's heartwarming documentary about the Beatles' secretary, Freda Kelly.
The 56th annual San Francisco International Film Festival kicked off last night at the Castro Theater, screening What Maisie Knew to a packed house of well-coiffed cinephiles clamoring for buttered popcorn and a plush seat beneath the silver screen.
As dusk crept along the streets of the Castro, so, too, did bevies of stilleto-ed blondes and blazer-ed critics; all types of culture hounds gathered to celebrate on the makeshift red carpet outside the theater.
By 6:45 (the movie didn't start until 7:12) the Castro was a pleasant madhouse; staff darted about with clipboards, the candy counter churned out its confections and the throng of movie-goers already seated clapped along with the gilded organ.
Director Steven Soderbergh's much-discussed retirement from directing feature films notwithstanding, there is quite possibly no better filmmaker to assess the current status of the filmmaking arts, as Soderbergh will do this Saturday at the San Francisco International Film Festival's State of the Cinema address.
A restless innovator and a lifelong student of the movies, Soderbergh's eclectic filmography demonstrates the kind of searching, experimental creative energy that is difficult to imagine petering out. Despite swearing off features, Soderbergh's desire to create has in no way flagged; he has discussed focusing on painting, on directing plays and musicals, on a 12-hour miniseries adaptation of John Barth's enormous satirical novel, The Sot-Weed Factor, and on an extensive revision of his own 1991 film, Kafka.
I think it's safe to say that Soderbergh isn't retiring at all -- but he is, apparently, leaving behind a medium that is undergoing vast changes, after spending 25 years (and 25 features) immersed in it.
The Human Rights Film Festival at the University of San Francisco is the 11th annual event, and like previous years, the lineup is sure to galvanize audiences with a mixture of shorts and features that span the globe. Shorts programs feature work by USF students and alumni. The award-winning feature, Dear Mandela, which follows three South Africans who struggled to prove that the Slums Act was unconstitutional, is followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.
Marking a transition from what was formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, this year the Center for Asian American Media introduces CAAMFest, an 11-day smorgasbord of music, food, digital media -- and film -- featuring the work of Asian and Asian-American artists from all over the world. Although the festival's artistic horizons have expanded to include other forms of expression, the primary focus is on film, with a number of high-profile screenings and premieres scheduled.