S.F. International Film Festival timeline 

In 1956, Irving "Bud" Levin organizes San Francisco’s Italian Film Week. The success of the film series prompts Italian consul general Pierluigi Alvera to suggest to Levin that he start an international film festival in San Francisco.

» 1957: The San Francisco International Film Festival, run by Irving Levin, makes its debut on Dec. 4. Fifteen feature films screen at the 15-day affair, which takes place at the Metro theater. Satyajit Ray’s "Pather Panchali," receives the best-picture prize.

» 1964: The festival is no longer a one-man affair. Claude Jarman and Albert Johnson create a new, nonjuried format, and the event is more soundly financed.

» 1965: Tribute presentations begin. Director Mervyn LeRoy becomes the first recipient. Additional honorees include John Ford, Busby Berkeley, William Wellman, John Frankenheimer, King Vidor and Gene Kelly.

» 1973: George Gund assumes the position of chairman, and Lorena Cantrell, Mark Chase and Martin Rubin become associate directors, with Jarman remaining as director. The festival continues to grow in international stature.

» 1983: Peter Scarlet, above, becomes festival director. During his years at the helm, the festival achieves international standing as a mecca of foreign screen gems.

» 2005: Current director Graham Leggat takes charge.

» 2007: The San Francisco International Film Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary.


Watch videos of the San FranciscoInternational Film Festival at the San Francisco in Video blog.

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