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March 16, 2017

The San Francisco International Film Festival Returns For Its 60th Anniversary

The San Francisco International Film Festival, the longest running film festival in the Americas, celebrates its 60th anniversary April 5 - 19, 2017. The Festival is an extraordinary showcase for innovation and cinematic discovery, and combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, compelling documentaries, new media work, musical performances and star-studded events.

Held across vibrant neighborhoods such as the Castro and the Mission District and in a selection of iconic venues such as SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and BAMPFA in Berkeley, the festival will feature competition for Golden Gate Awards between 10 narrative features (New Directors Competition), 10 documentaries (McBaine Documentary Feature Competition), and multiple short films. Entries come from around the globe, including Ireland, China, India, the U.K., and Israel among many others.

Amongst many tributes planned, actor and filmmaker Ethan Hawke will be honored at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on April 8, following a special screening of his new film Maudie, directed by Aisling Walsh. Also expected to draw sell-out crowds are William Randolph Hearst III in conversation on April 6 at the YBCA with film historian David Thomson about Citizen Kane; and at SFMOMA, a tribute to American filmmaker Eleanor Coppola on April 10, and a tribute on April 14 to James Ivory, beloved by cinephiles the world over for the films he directed under the Merchant Ivory Productions banner. A number of programs will also be featuring the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy whose work includes four installations in the Presidio of San Francisco.

Additional non-competitive highlights of this year's festival include:

Parallel Spaces: Will Oldham and Jerome Hiler - 8 p.m., Monday, April 10, Castro Theatre

A special program of improvised music by Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, will be performed live alongside a projectiuon of experimental films created by Bay Area artist Jerome Hiler. Joining Oldham are the Chicago-based Bitchin Bajas and Bay Area-based Cornelius Boots. Three of Hiler's 16mm films, chosen by Hiler and Oldham, will be screened: Words of Mercury (2011), Marginalia (2015), and Bagatelle II (2016).

Festival Centerpiece: Patti Cake$ - 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, Castro Theatre

The unqualified breakout hit of this year's Sundance Festival, Geremy Jasper's debut feature erupts with head-nodding beats from the opening scene and features the dynamic and stirring performance of Danielle MacDonald as the title character, a young woman who uses her lyrics to escape, daring to dream of something better outside of her New Jersey working class life. She gathers an emotionally damaged multi-racial motley crew around her to create funny and invigorating musical sequences.

18 Black Girls/Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Survived at the Singularity and are Thus Spiritual Machines - 5 p.m., Sunday, April 16 and 6 p.m., Monday, April 17, Victoria Theatre

Over two separate performances, artist and filmmaker Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of her Beauty, Festival 2012) presents his compelling, interactive live programs accompanied by his brother, multidisciplinary artist Norvis Junior. Nance investigates the predispositions of our culture and media through a tour of the ways that various narratives of black youth - first girls, then boys, beginning with age one and progressing through year 18 - are presented via simple internet search functions.Using Google's autocomplete algorithms and responding to audience feedback, Nance's project presents a virtual self-portrait of our society that reflects our biases and norms. With live music, personal digressions, improvisation, and chance, Nance's presentations are each unique, and at turns heartwarming, heartbreaking, and insightful.

The Green Fog - A San Francisco Fantasia with Kronos Quartet - 7 p.m., Sunday, April 16, Castro Theatre

In celebration of the festival's 60th anniversary, the world-renowned Kronos Quartet performs a new score by composer Jacob Garchik to accompany a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin and co-directors Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson. Maddin set himself the challenge to remake Hitchcock's Vertigo without using any footage from the classic, creating a "parallel-universe vision." Using Bay Area-based footage from a variety of sources - studio classics, '50's noir, documentary, experimental films, and '70's prime-time TV, the result exerts the pull of Hitchcock's twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to San Francisco and the way it looks and feels through cinema.

For more information on this year's full range of screenings, events, and tributes, and to purchase ticket packages, please visit the San Francisco International Film Festival online.

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