SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Over the next two weeks you'll be able to catch films covering a variety of topics including crows in Japan, dairy cows in Sweden, farmers in India, and porn in San Francisco. Yes, it's time for the 55th annual San Francisco International Film Festival. It runs April 19th through May 3rd.
The festival opens on Thursday, April 19th, with a screening of "Farewell, My Queen." Director of Programming Rachel Rosen said this is an "interesting take on a few days at the beginning of the French Revolution told through the eyes of a woman whose job is to read to the queen [Marie Antoinette] ... by one of France's most interesting filmmakers," Benoît Jacquot, who will be in attendance.
"The goal of the festival is to bring the best of cinema from around the world to the San Francisco audience and also to try and show the full range of what films can be and what it can do," Rosen said.
KCBS' Connie C. Kim talks to Director of Programming Rachel Rosen:
Although the festival features movies from 45 countries in 41 languages, there are also a lot of local offerings.
"There's a wonderful film called 'The Waiting Room' about a public hospital in Oakland," Rosen described one of the documentaries made by a local filmmaker. "It really says so much about where we are with healthcare in the U.S."
Another Bay Area film is called 'Cherry' about a young woman who gets started in the porn industry in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Film Society is also committed to reaching out to Bay Area students with two programs, College Days and Schools at the Festival. These programs provide special screenings and allow thousands of Bay Area students to interact directly with filmmakers from around the world.
"I hope they'll walk away with a broader idea of what film can be and what it can do and to have enjoyed something that they haven't seen marketed very heavily before they saw it and still see the value in that," Rosen spoke proudly about their outreach programs.
In the midst of planning for this annual event, the San Francisco Film Society faced two tragedies with the passing of Executive Directors Graham Leggat and Bingham Ray this past year.
"These were two guys who really loved, loved film and really appreciated a great festival," Rosen reflected. "So we were able to pull together and decide that they would've wanted us to have a great celebration to honor them and that's what we put our energy into doing."
The opening night screening of "Farewell, My Queen" is dedicated in honor of Leggat.
The festival will end on a high note with Ramona Diaz's "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" which is the story of Arnel Pineda who went from living on the streets of Manila to becoming the new lead singer of the rock band Journey.
For more information on the San Francisco International Film Festival and to buy tickets go to festival.sffs.org.
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