[San Francisco, CA] The full lineup for the 66th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival), the longest-running film festival in the Americas was announced this week. This year’s program, curated from over five thousand submissions and invitations, will screen exclusively in theaters across San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley from April 13–April 23.
“It is SFFILM Festival season once again and I cannot wait to share this year’s program with local audiences,” said Jessie Fairbanks, SFFILM’s Director of Programming. “The line-up includes a wealth of Bay Area filmmakers across all sections, and highlights new—and seminal—work from eminent filmmakers. Our curatorial team, dedicated to showcasing evocative stories, prioritized films that unite us all through cinematic expression and outstanding narrative craft. We continue SFFILM’s legacy of bringing international work to the Bay with stories from 37 countries and an exciting array of emerging artists. For the third year in a row, half of this thematically diverse program is helmed by female or non-binary filmmakers and we are so proud to share these stories with festival attendees.”
The 2023 SFFILM Festival will run in theaters across the Bay Area, including the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, the Dolby Cinema @ 1275 Market, the Castro Theatre, the Premier Theater, The Walt Disney Family Museum, and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). The central hub of the Festival will be at CGV San Francisco to allow for maximum viewing; this location will also feature a hospitality lounge presented by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for guests to meet and mingle with each other in between screenings.
“We are thrilled to bring an array of exciting new films and filmmakers to our discerning and passionate Bay Area film lovers,” said Anne Lai, Executive Director of SFFILM. “Each year, our Festival unites us both inside and outside of theaters where we engage in conversations across audiences, filmmakers, industry guests, and others who help us deepen our understanding of the craft, and of the fascinating world we all share. I am particularly delighted that in addition to hosting screenings in venues across the Bay Area, we will have a Festival hub at the CGV San Francisco. We are excited to host a space this year that harnesses the energy of multiple screens. As audiences gravitate towards different fare, they will also be able to spend time in a gathering place designed to create connection, possibility, and opportunity with one another. Find your spot, and we’ll see you there.”
Opening Night and Closing Night spotlight new projects from celebrated Bay Area filmmakers. Peter Nicks opens the Festival at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre with the hometown premiere of Stephen Curry: Underrated, and the festival finishes with a major sneak of the hotly anticipated Prime Video series I’m A Virgo from Boots Riley starring Emmy-winning actor Jharrel Jerome, who also serves as an executive producer. Local filmmakers make a significant showing throughout the lineup featuring W. Kamau Bell’s latest project, 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed as well as SFFILM-Supported filmmakers with outstanding debuts: Earth Mama from Savanah Leaf and Fremont from Babak Jalali, as well as several mid-length and short films. SFFILM is pleased to welcome local youth organizations including East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, and the Oakland Unified School District to Opening Night.
Big Nights are rounded out with Centerpiece arriving straight from Sundance and Berlin, the critically acclaimed Past Lives starring Greta Lee from playwright turned filmmaker Celine Song.
Some of the special honors of the 2023 SFFILM Festival include SFFILM’s Persistence of Vision Award going to Northern Irish director and film historian Mark Cousins. The Mel Novikoff Award will honor Firelight Media founded by filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith, and will be presented along with a special retrospective screening of Nelson’s pivotal work, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. There are two Sloan Science in Cinema programs featuring the Sloan Science in Cinema Award for Matthew Johnson’s SXSW standout BlackBerry, a film about the rise and fall of the world’s first smart device, as well as a special presentation of Sundance favorite The Pod Generation, which will be screened in Dolby Atmos at the stunning Dolby Cinema. SFFILM will honor Canadian-British director Mary Harron with a tribute and screening of Dalíland, her latest film starring Sir Ben Kingsley. Harron’s work has been ahead of its time for decades, and it’s time to celebrate her vision.
Four exceptional marquee documentaries include Being Mary Tyler Moore from James Adolphus and produced by Lena Waithe; Invisible Beauty about groundbreaking Black fashion model and icon Bethann Hardison co-directed with Frederic Tcheng and produced by Lisa Cortes; STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie from Davis Guggenheim who will join in person; and a very special Castro Theatre screening of Joan Baez I Am A Noise with the inimitable Ms. Baez in person.
Family-friendly offerings include a free community screening of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, and Academy Award nominee Rachel McAdams and an animation workshop with Disney legend Andreas Deja. SFFILM Education will also host its 32nd annual ‘Schools at the Festival’ for students and educators in the Bay Area.
The prestigious juried competition Golden Gate Awards carries on for the 66th year with the following categories: New Directors Prize, McBaine Best Documentary Feature, McBaine Best Bay Area Documentary Feature, Best Mid-Length Film, the Cine Latino Award, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Animated Short, Best Bay Area Short Film, Best Family Short Film, and Best Youth Works Short Film.
For more information on this year’s program and events, visit the festival website.