SFFILM Festival Reveals 2017 Schedule

The Sundance breakout ‘Patti Cake$’, Jill Soloway’s new show, Jon Hamm’s new flick, and live performances with DeVotchKa and Asian Dub Foundation highlight the lineup.

Image: Joe Kukura, SF Weekly

The San Francisco International Film Festival turns 60 this year, but the longest running film festival in the U.S. is not showing its age. The festival has changed its name to the much catchier SFFILM Festival, and today announced this year’s full schedule for two weeks of movies and events running April 5-19, 2017. 

Your Centerpiece film is Patti Cake$, this year’s Sundance sensation about a plus-size female rapper trying to make it big. Your Opening Night movie is the comedy Landline starring Jenny Slate, John Turturro and Jay Duplass. The Closing Night film is The Green Fog — A San Francisco Fantasia with Kronos Quartet with the band playing live in a mixed-media tribute to our fair city.

“We really went all-out with the music this year,” says SFFILM Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. DeVotchKa will be on hand for the annual “old silent movie with a cool band playing an original score,” which this year is Dziga Vertov’s 1929 Russian classic Man with a Movie Camera. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down’s Thao Nguyen will be presenting at the storytelling event More Things in Films, and the Asian Dub Foundation will be mixing a live score of George Lucas’ THX 1138 . “The four-piece band will be playing with the existing score of the film, which was kind of a landmark in its time for its use of electronic sampling,” Rosen says.

Big films you will care enough to stand in line for include Jon Hamm’s new flick Marjorie Prime (he plays a hologram), and sneak preview episode screenings of Jill Soloway’s new series I Love Dick with star Kevin Bacon expected to attend. Citizen Kane with William R Hearst III will screen Orson Welles’ classic along with a conversation with William Randolph Hearst’s grandson, which promises to be fascinating, if not a little awkward.

Documentary dorks will go bananas over the provocative docs scheduled, often with the subjects and directors in attendance. Transgender YouTube superstar Gigi Gorgeous is expected to be in attendance for This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip kicks off your Summer of Love golden anniversary, Kitty Green’s Casting JonBenet is exactly what it sounds like it is, and Bill Nye is expected to be in attendance for Bill Nye: The Science Guy.  

“Bow ties are optional,” quips SFFILM Programmer Amanda Salazar.

A few free shows highlight the festival’s social justice repertoire. “This is really a way for us to reach out and hopefully engage some communities that might not experience the festival,” Rosen says. The Ferguson documentary Whose Streets? will have an outdoor screening at Hayes Valley’s PROXY, Defender covers the horrifying local story of police brutality that caused a miscarriage, and Rivers and Tides — Andy Goldworthy Working with Time highlights the work of the “tree artist” featured in The Presidio. These shows are free, but advance ticketing is sometimes required.

Advance ticketing for all shows is available online beginning March 17, and also via the new SFFilm app that offers calendars, schedules, tickets, and an online screening room that’s free for SFFILM members. The SFFILM Festival runs April 5-19 at venues all over town.

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