Just a week out of the SFIFF50 press conference at the Westin St. Francis, and the buzz has already had a chance to build. SF360.org checked in with a few friends in the San Francisco filmmaking scene to see what they’re looking forward to in the 50th edition of the SF International Film Festival. Big winners: Guy Maddin’s “Brand Upon the Brain!” and, of course, the live and in-person tribute to Spike Lee, who — as Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu reminds us — returns to the Bay Area to receive his Film Society Directing Award in spite of the fact the projector broke during the premiere of “She’s Gotta Have It” at the SFIFF more than 20 years ago.
I’m eager to see Camila Guzman Urzula’s documentary “The Sugar Curtain” for perspectives on life in Cuba from those in their twenties and thirties. I’m curious about how a savvy film critic like Wesley Morris will interview Spike Lee. It will be a welcome occurrence to see two Black men talking on a US festival stage about film.
“Audience of One:” I know this year the festival is honoring Lucas and Coppola and those guys as local heroes, but really. Hollywood North? What happened? Now here is a group of makers, Pentacostals no less, working on a gargantuan bible epic right down on Ocean Avenue in the old El Rey Theatre. Now that’s hot!
Strand, A Natural History of Cinema
Although I’ve already seen it, I look forward to attending the one-off screening of Guy Maddin’s “Brand Upon the Brain!” since each live performance, by design, differs somewhat from the last. No self-respecting (or, for that matter, self-deprecating) cineaste should miss it. Beyond that, I’m particularly interested in Alain Resnais’ latest, “Coeurs” (i.e., “Private Fears in Public Places,” which, due to timing conflicts, I missed in Toronto), reuniting the director with the exceptional playwright Alan Ayckbourn. I remain quite fond of his recent films even if most folks in this country seem to disregard his work after “Mon oncle d’Amerique,” released over a quarter-century ago.
I love that SFIFF is honoring Spike Lee, I saw “She’s Gotta Have It” when it had its world premiere at SFIFF and remembered what an amazing experience that was when the projector broke!
I first started attending SFIFF in 1964 while still in high school. I saw the independent “The Luck of Ginger Coffey,” directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Robert Shaw, a fascinating documentary look at a country
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