Saturday, December 31


Looking ahead to 2006, part I: Film Festivals

Though sometimes it feels like there are always film festivals in town, it's not true. For example, I'm not aware of any running this week (no wonder I feel sort of deprived). Frisco's unofficial "festival season" starts up again January 12 when Berlin and Beyond: New Films From Germany, Austria & Switzerland opens at the Castro with Sophie Scholl - the Final Days. Noir City kicks off the next evening at the Palace of Fine Arts with a double bill of Strangers on a Train and They Live By Night, both starring festival guest Farley Granger, and moves to the Balboa on January 23rd with 60th anniversary celebrations of eight pitch-dark post-war crime films from 1946. Then smaller festivals like the Ocean Film Festival (Jan. 14-15) start appearing on the scene. The Pacific Film Archive's African Film Festival opens January 27th and continues for two subsequent weekends. The dependably maverick-minded Indie Fest runs February 2-14. The Korean American Film Festival returns Feb. 7-12 after more than two years on hiatus. Human Rights Watch International comes to the PFA Feb. 19-26 with a slate of new documentaries plus the Winterfilm Collective's 1972 record of Vietnam veteran testimony, Winter Soldier. San Jose's Cinequest Film Festival runs March 1-12 and The Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA) brings its annual Asian-American Film Festival March 16-26.

I'm very excited to see what Frisco's first and biggest International Film Festival might have in store for its 49th edition now that it's being run by a new Executive Director, Graham Leggat. I notice that the programming staff has been investigating new avenues for possible film selection, including a recent call for wireless-media related content. This could be interesting. The festival runs April 20-May 4.

Shortly after the SFIFF is over, the Black Film Festival and Frameline's festival, which has been dubbed the "Sundance and Cannes of queer film," are right around the corner, followed by the Silent Film Fest, the Jewish Film Fest, and others which haven't announced dates yet. I'm sure I've left others off too, so let me know and I'll make sure to make a link.

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