“This year’s Big Nights focus on iconic real-life figures who have made a significant impact on the worlds of technology, business, culture and science,” said San Francisco Film Society Executive Director Noah Cowan. “These films feel especially relevant to San Francisco today and the ongoing national conversation around celebrity, privacy and our digital lives. They are also, not incidentally, exceptionally well directed and acted films by leaders in contemporary cinema culture.”
With their combination of renowned artists, acclaimed films and San Francisco hot spots, SFIFF’s Big Nights are annual high points on the Bay Area cultural calendar. Framing two weeks of cinematic celebration, the Opening Night, Centerpiece and Closing Night festivities give the SFIFF community a chance to gather for the love of world-class film and to drink, dance and discuss from dusk till dawn.
Opening Night: Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
Thursday April 23, 7:00 pm, Castro Theatre
Director Alex Gibney and additional special guests expected to attend
When Steve Jobs died in 2011, the world mourned. But why, asks Alex Gibney, were people who never knew him moved to tears by the death of a businessman who sold them products? Featuring frank interviews with close friends and former colleagues, the film adds detail, nuance and counterpoint to the burnished tale of Jobs’ journey from garage to corner office, offering a bracingly candid inquiry into his genius and his flaws as well as our own relationship to technology.
The Opening Night celebration continues at 9:00 pm at Madame Tussauds (145 Jefferson Street), with an exclusive party where attendees will mix with fellow Festival-goers, snap selfies with some of their favorite movie stars and enjoy some of the finest complimentary local food and beverage. Must be 21+ to attend. SFIFF Opening Night is sponsored by RBC Capital Markets.
Centerpiece: The End of the Tour
Saturday May 2, 6:45 pm, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Director James Ponsoldt and star Jason Segel expected to attend
A novelist of modest success wins an assignment from Rolling Stone to follow David Foster Wallace on the end of his Infinite Jest publicity tour. Over the course of five days, the two engage in heady discourse about art, the modern world and the pitfalls of self-conscious living while skirting the borders between friendship and professional distance. Based on writer Dave Lipsky’s memoir, James Ponsoldt’s melancholy chamber piece exhibits the director’s characteristic generosity toward human imperfection embodied in Jason Segel’s quietly affecting performance as Wallace.
The lavish Centerpiece Party at 9:00 pm features music, drinks and snacks at Monarch (101 6th Street), a sophisticated event space in the heart of San Francisco. Partygoers will enjoy dancing, delicious food from some of the city’s best restaurants and complimentary beer, wine and cocktails. Must be 21+ to attend.
Closing Night: Experimenter
Thursday May 7, 7:00 pm, Castro Theatre
Special guests in attendance to be announced
This inventive and playful biography of scientist Stanley Milgram revisits his famous experiment, in which subjects were made to believe they were administering electric shocks to others in order to test why people will cede to authority, no matter how brutal the request. An examination of scientific ethics, the drama also explores the moral consequences of “just following orders.” Anchored by a riveting performance from Peter Sarsgaard as Milgram, iconoclastic genius Michael Almereyda (Hamlet) has delivered a timely and important film about the role of science in our society.
Attendees will close out the Festival at Mezzanine (444 Jessie Street) at 9:00 pm in an all-out evening of music, drinks and dancing, celebrating the hundreds of films and filmmakers who over the two weeks of SFIFF made their mark on this gorgeous city. Complimentary beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres by some of San Francisco’s finest food purveyors. Must be 21+ to attend.
Opening Night film and party $80 for SFFS members and $100 for the general public; film only (limited quantity available) $40 for members, $50 general; party only $50 for members, $60 general; VIP film and party $150 for members, $175 general.
Centerpiece film and party $50 for SFFS members and $65 for the general public; film only (limited quantity available) $35 for members, $45 general.
Closing Night film and party $80 for SFFS members and $100 for the general public; film only (limited quantity available) $40 for members, $50 general; party only $50 for members, $60 general; VIP film and party $150 for members, $175 general.
Box office opens March 25 for SFFS members and March 27 for the general public, online at sffs.org
For general information visit festival.sffs.org.