Enduring S.F. Film Festival will light 55 candles this year 

click to enlarge Barbara Koppel - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Barbara Koppel

Director-actor Kenneth Branagh and two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Koppel are among film industry stars being honored at the 55th annual San Francisco International Film Festival, running April 19 through May 3.

Programming for the festival, presented by the San Francisco Film Society, was announced Tuesday, and even after the deaths of SFFS executive directors Graham Leggat (in August) and Bingham Ray two months ago, the festival is as varied and ambitious as ever. Former SFFS board President Melanie Blum is serving as interim executive director and Rachel Rosen continues as director of programming.

The nation’s longest-running film festival, one of the world’s premier film events, still comes up with big numbers: 174 films from 45 countries, 225 filmmakers and industry guests in attendance, four world premieres, films by 55 women directors and some 70,000 viewers expected.

Among this year’s main attractions:

- Opening night features a screening of Benoît Jacquot’s “Farewell, My Queen,” a historical drama about the French Revolution, with Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette. [7 p.m., April 19, Castro Theatre]

- Koppel will be honored with a Persistence of Vision award before a screening of her film “Harlan County, USA.” [3:30 p.m. April 22, Sundance Kabuki]

- Branagh will appear in an onstage interview and receive the Founders Directing Award at a screening of his film “Dead Again.” [7:30 p.m. April 27, Castro Theatre]

- The centerpiece presentation is Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister,” with Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass. [7 p.m. April 28, Sundance Kabuki]

- Closing night features Ramona Diaz’s “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” a documentary that follows the band Journey and lead vocalist Arnel Pineda on their 2008 “Revelation” tour in the U.S. and Pineda’s homecoming in Manila. [7 p.m. May 3, Castro Theatre]


55th S.F. International Film Festival

Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St.; S.F. Film Society Cinema, 1746 Post St.; Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.; SFMOMA, 151 Third St., S.F.; Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
When: April 19 through May 3
Tickets: $11 to $13 most films, more for special events
Contact: (415) 561-5000, www.sffs.org

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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