Friday, March 30, 2007

2007 SFIFF50—Press Notes

Dave Hudson at The Greencine Daily has already done a fine job of compiling the press releases for this year's 50th San Francisco International Film Festival. Here's a few more since his last announcement.

In something of an unprecedented turn, members of the San Francisco Film Society (which sponsors the festival) can already access the festival mini-guide in pdf format for purposes of advance ticket sales. Naturally, I'm embargoed from releasing the program line-up until the official press conference next week; but, for SFFS members who can't wait for next week's members preview at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio, have at it.

Along with the titles already mentioned in Greencine's overview—Emanuele Crialese's Golden Door as the opening night feature; Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke in conjunction with his receipt of the Film Society's Directing Award; a revival of The Fisher King in conjunction with Robin Williams' receipt of the Peter J. Owens Acting Award; a revival of Stephen Frears' The Deal in conjunction with Peter Morgan's receipt of the Kanbar Award for Excellence in Screenwriting; the world premiere of Fog City Mavericks; Heddy Honigmann's Forever in conjunction with her receipt of the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award (which Evening Class contributing writer Michael Hawley profiled in his report from this year's Palm Springs International)—the SFFS publicity department has announced that SFIFF will show Victor Sjostrom's classic silent film The Phantom Carriage with an original live score written and performed by local icon Jonathan Richman. The film is based on a Swedish folktale in which the last sinner to die before year's end is then forced to drive death's carriage. This event takes place at 7 pm on Friday, April 27, at the Castro Theatre.

SFIFF50 has also announced Notes To A Toon Underground: Animation and Live Music, featuring 15 animated films made between 1912 and 2005 by six different directors, with 11 musicians providing live accompaniment. This presentation of Notes to a Toon Underground will, in all honesty, never happen again. The filmmakers include Emily and Georgia Hubley; David Russo; Kelly Sears; Wladyslaw Starewicz; and Jim Trainor; and their animation ranges from a re-imagination of the book, The Joy of Sex, to the torturing of a man by a tower (Hubley/Hubley). The musicians include Marc Capelle; Devin Hoff (of Good for Cows); Jason Lyttle (of Grandaddy); Ches Smith (of Good for Cows, Xiu Xiu and Ceramic Dog); Jamie Stewart and Caralee McElroy (of Xiu Xiu); Carla Fabrizio (of Gamelan Sekar Jaya); Tommy Guerrero, Monte Vallier and Gadget (of Jet Black Crayon); and avant-garde legend William Winant. This event takes place on Saturday, May 5 at 8:30 pm at the Castro Theatre.

On Monday, May 7, SFIFF50 will present Guy Maddin's Brand upon the Brain! with special support for this program generously provided by the Consulate General of Canada. Brand upon the Brain! was a huge success at the last Toronto International Film Festival, where Twitch teammates Opus and Kurt reviewed same, and editor Todd Brown scored an interview. Joan Chen will narrate this faux-autobiographical masterwork, which mines the rich territories of his youth and spins them into a fantasy of familial discontent. The film's original score will be performed live by a 13-piece ensemble, with foley artists and a "castrato" adding to the fun. Brand upon the Brain! is Maddin's eighth feature-length film in nearly 20 years (he's made some 20 shorts during this time as well). Maddin received the prestigious Persistence of Vision Award at last year's Festival. This event takes place at the Castro Theatre at 8 pm on May 7.

SFIFF50 presents beloved local bands Halou and Tarentel at Mighty on Wednesday May 9. The bands will take the stage for contrasting and intense multimedia performances that merge electronic and psychedelic music with dreamy visuals. Videos made by the winner and finalists of the GreenWorld Contest will be screened as well.

Other films teasingly mentioned by the Publicity and Membership Departments of SFFS are Tom DiCillo's Delirious (which will be the festival's Centerpiece screening); Jon Else's local documentary Wonders Are Many on the making of Dr. Atomic, a modern opera about the making of the atomic bomb; Daniel Wu's "mockumentary" The Heavenly Kings that trails the popular Hong Kong band Alive; and Jonathan King's New Zealand horror flick Black Sheep, which likewise caused a stir at TIFF's Midnight Madness. Twitch teammate Mack reviewed Black Sheep, along with editor Todd Brown who likewise caught up with Director King for an interview.

Cross-published at Twitch.

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