This Year’s San Francisco International Film Festival Announced—Raw Version

These are my unedited notes from the SFIFF press conference. I don’t have Internet access here at the Westin, so I’ll post this as soon as I can. When I get a chance, I will post an edited version.

Update: I had that chance. You’ll find a more readable version here.

I’m not totally comfortable withb this netbook’s keyboard, so excuse the many typos.

Graham Leggat: Talked about organization and what it does year around. Thanked everyone in the room. Award ceremony at Bimbo’s. Thanks sponsors. Different beer this year; didn’t catch the name.

“Official vodka, without which, it wouldn’t be a festival.”

I don’t like all this corporate sponsorship, and the necessity to kiss ass, but I suppose it’s all necessary.

189 films.

Milestones:

  1. 45th festival with cooperation from George ?, who has been supporting the festival a long time
  2. 20th anniversary of Schools at the Festival program. Started on modest scale, grown.
  3. 3th aniversary of daily online magazine, 360.org. Not a house organ, independent.

Most difficult part of my job: Getting people to show up on time and under budget. Part of the reason one guest had to drop out is that that guest thought that San Francisco was in Los angeles.

screenwriter Frank Pearson will be here. Do masterclass. Other award winners will be announced later. Graham took responsibilitgy for that.

Closing nighbt film: Some of the performers will be there.

Credit for program goes to staff.

Rachel Rosen, Difrector of Programming: More thanks, this time to people involved with the pre-screening work.

Matthew Barney gets Persistance of Vision award. Multimedia artist.

Novikof award: Serge Bromberg. He programs a festival, collector, restorer. Will be showing series of 3D shorts. He accompanies them on piano.

State of Cinema: Christine …: Still on cutting edge of how independent filmmakers can get their work out there.

Organization changes: Basically the festival is whatg it’s alwayts been. Local productions will take their place along side other films. Not a separate section in the program.

Grant from Academy to do spotlight on World Cinema. We program the festival as we would, and keep our eye open for a trend. This yeafr: Painting with Light. Three interesting films about painting. Including Herzog’s new 3D documentary on cave paintings. I’ve been dying to see that. Also Polish The Mill and the Cross. And an Indian film.

Sean Uyehara: Pogrammer: Live performance. New skin for the old ceremony. Based on work by Leonard Cohen. Each track has a different ffiln by differfent filmmaker. Gonna try again with Porchlight, which apparently was a disaster last year (I don’t recall it).

Rod Armstrong: Late show. World premiere of The Selling, about how haunted houses can be difficult to sell in a down market. Another bouty Troll.s

Audrey Chang: Films in competition. Cinema Communisto about Tito. Position under the Stars about slum family.

Rachel: Documentaries: Well-known names like Herzog. French film about Detroit and flight from the city. What’s sprouting up in empty places.

New director section: strongest representation by women: 12 out of 28.

World Cinema section: Restored La Dolcha vita. Digital restoration of Fassbinder’s…didn’t catch the title. Shown digitally in SF, new film print at PFA.

Trends: No supercolorful ones. Films that find their own length. five films that are 75 minutes or shorter. 65 to  257 minutes. Number os films set in a semi-realistic near-future.

Any trend might not reflect cinema as a whole but maybe our taste.

Q&A:

Human rights and environmental issues: Yes. One about farming community in Ireland that finds that a pipeline will go through their common land. How people react.

Graham listed titls.

Focus on 12 films from Latin America: Asleep in the Sun. Near future/recent past movies. Ulyssess, echos theme of people forced to migrate to work.

How many black directors in narritive features: A small number

Why not the Clay Theater: Negotiations in holding pattern. Technical genius of New People theater extraordinary. Size fitted us better.

Directors who will definately attend: Many of them.

Not doing iphone app, but mobile site.

Graham’s favorite film: The MIll and the Cross. Literally brings to light Brugal’s Road to Calgary.

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