Saturday, May 2, 2009


An Evening with Francis Ford Coppola and Friends

I don't quite remember how I spent my Christmas in the past, except one.

That was a few years ago when I was still living in North Carolina. It was cold and grey outside. I didn't leave the couch for about nine hours on that Christmas Day, mulching on leftovers and sipping hot tea — I was watching "The Godfather" (USA 1972, 175 min.), "The Godfather: Part II" (USA 1974, 200 min.), and "The Godfather: Part III" (USA 1990, 162 min.) continuously. I was completely captivated into a world that the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola creates in these films. It was a magical day that I will never forget. Coppola has been one of my favorite directors.

To celebrate his outstanding contribution to cinema, Francis Ford Coppola is honored with the Founder's Directing Award at the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (SFiFF52).

Tonight, over a thousand people packed the one and only Castro Theater to spend the evening with director Francis Ford Coppola, joined by his long time friends and fellow filmmakers George Lucas, Carroll Ballard, Walter Murch, and Matthew Robbins.

An Evening with Francis Ford Coppola and Friends at Castro Theater at SFiFF52

It was an enchanting night when these old friends tell entertaining stories about filmmaking, and the love of San Francisco — they all left Los Angeles and settled down here. Coppola's story about how Marlon Brando got the part in "The Godfather" drew big laugh in the audience.

Coppola joined onstage by Carroll Ballard, George Lucas, Walter Murch and Matthew Robbins

It's inspiring to hear their journeys of pursuing their dreams. Coppola encourages the audience to tell individual personal stories. I wish Hollywood executives were in the audience, so they might have taken Coppola's advice and stop remaking Asian films.

TetroCoppola explains that his latest film "Tetro" is one of those "personal" films that he has been making. The trailer of the film is stunningly beautiful, in black and white. It will be in theater in June.

Apparently, tonight's event is just one of the many "award nights" at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Many remarkable filmmakers are recognized with these awards, and festival goers get a chance to be up and close to these artists.

The festival just passed the half way mark. I am sure there are plenty personal stories yet to be told.

I am listening.


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