The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the SFFILM Festival is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and a major cultural event in the Bay Area. The annual lineup features marquee premieres, international competitions, new media work, live performances, and compelling artist talks.
The 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 4–17 at venues in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
The Festival’s Opening Night selection is Silas Howard’s A Kid Like Jake, starring Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, and Octavia Spencer. Howard and other special guests are expected to attend the kickoff event on April 4. In A Kid Like Jake, a Brooklyn couple (Danes and Parsons) has always known that their four-year-old son is more interested in fairy tale princesses than toy cars. But when his preschool director points out that his gender-nonconforming play may be more than a phase, the couple is forced to rethink their roles as parents and spouses.
Closing Night will be Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black. Van Sant and composer Danny Elfman will present the film to close out the main 2018 Festival program on April 15. On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan (Phoenix) discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.
Bay Area icon Boots Riley’s feature film Sorry to Bother You will be the festival’s Centerpiece presentation. Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) gets hired as a telemarketer for Oakland company RegalView. His potential blossoms when he finds his “white voice”—a hilarious voice-over running gag—but moving up the ranks leads to conflicts with coworkers and his girlfriend, not to mention the nefarious activities (including genetic manipulation!) he discovers being perpetrated by RegalView’s CEO, played by Armie Hammer. With shades of Charlie Kaufman, Jordan Peele, and Jonathan Swift, Sorry to Bother You brings surreal flair, dazzling originality, and a scathing lampoon of societal mores and hyper-capitalist excess. The film also stars Tessa Thompson, Steven Yuen, and Danny Glover, with music by The Coup and Tune-Yards.
The film received funding and creative support through SFFILM artist development programs, including a FilmHouse residency and several SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants. Writer/director Boots Riley and additional special guests expected to attend. Check out the trailer and character posters here.
Charlize Theron has a ferocity and focus unique to contemporary screen actors. She can utterly transform herself and transfix an audience across a variety of genres, and the subtlety in her protean performances is a tonic for these times. But her talent in that regard dates back: By 2003, Theron was already a master of her art, something never more apparent than in her role that year as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins’ Monster (2003). Since then, Theron has continued to build an impressive body of work, receiving a second Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of a miner who sues her company for sexual harassment in North Country (2005), reviving George Miller’s Mad Max franchise with her ferocious turn as the warrior Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and mixing slaughter and spycraft in the Cold War era thriller Atomic Blonde (2017). A tribute to Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (Monster), including a showing of her newest film Tully, will be followed by a Q&A with Theron and director Jason Reitman. Check out the trailer and poster here.
Other award and tributes include honors for Wayne Wang (A Tribute to Wayne Wang), Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award), Annette Insdorf (Mel Novikoff Award), and Nathaniel Dorsky (Persistence of Vision Award)
In all, the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival will encompass 183 Films representing 45 countries and 46 languages, including 57 Narrative Features and 37 Documentary Features; 2 Episodic Programs, 83 Shorts, 8 World Premieres, 5 North American Premieres, 6 US Premieres and 66 Women Directors.