Friday, March 30, 2018
SFFILM Festival 2018
From April 4-17, 2018, the festival will showcase 183 films, including 57 narrative features, 37 documentary features, and 83 shorts, in 46 languages representing 45 countries and regions.
This edition of the festival opens on Wednesday, April 4 with director Silas Howard's timely drama "A Kid Like Jake" (USA 2018 | 92 min.), about a family's dilemma on their young son Jack's school choice when Jack starts to express transgender tendencies.
A week into the festival, on Thursday, April 12, the festival's centerpiece presentation features Bay Area filmmaker Boots Riley's social critique comedy "Sorry to Bother You" (USA 2018 | 105 min.), about a telemarketer's story in a socially unjust environment.
Although the festival runs through April 17, its closing night presentation, writer-director Gus Van Sant's new film "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" (USA 2018 | 113 min.) is scheduled for Sunday, April 15. It tells the extraordinary story of the quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix).
Accompanied by the screening of director Jason Reitman's "Tully" (USA 2018 | 96 min.), the festival pays tribute to the Academy-award winner actress Charlize Theron who plays an exhausted mother welcoming a nanny home.
Renowned Asian-American writer-director Wayne Wong is the other tribute recipient at the festival with the screening of "Smoke" (USA 1995 | 112 min.), about happenings centering at a cigar shop in Brooklyn.
Presentations includes 14 narratives and 8
documentaries that have recently captured the
headlines or populated the social media sphere of
Chloé Zhao's award winning drama "The Rider" (USA 2017 | 104 min.) beautifully portrays a cowboy who continues to pursue his rodeo dream after a terrible accident, terrifically played by local residents.
consists of 7 narratives from a few influential
filmmakers around the world.
Unlike his usual feel-good and life-affirming family drama, the renowned Japanese auteur Hirokazu Koreeda (是枝 裕和) tells a much darker tale in his latest gripping crime drama "The Third Murder" (三度目の殺人 | Japan 2017 | in Japanese | 125 min.). It shakes the moral authority of justice while unfolding its twisted plot.
Like it or not, the prolific festival darling writer-director Hong Sang-soo (홍상수) comes back with yet another talking soap "Claire's Camera" (클레어의 카메라 | France/South Korea 2018 | in Korean/English | 69 min.). This time it's set in Cannes where his characters constantly run into each other on the streets and then they sit down to talk about art, career, or nothing significant.
The Hong Kong director John Woo (吳宇森) also returns to the festival with his latest action thriller "Manhunt" (追捕 | Hong Kong/China 2017 | in Mandarin/English/Japanese | 111 min.). It's a remake of the Japanese movie "Manhunt" (君よ憤怒の河を渉れ | Japan 1976) that made Ken Takakura (高倉 健) a household name in China decades ago.
Visions assembles 14 narratives and 14
documentaries that give us a taste of the most
contemporary world cinema.
In light of the recent revelation about data harvesting from Facebook, it can't be more timely for directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck's insightful documentary "The Cleaners" (Germany/Brazil/Netherlands/Italy/USA 2018 | in English/Tagalog 88 min.), which investigates how the social media companies hire workers in the Philippines as the content police. It is mind boggling to witness the devastating global impact these social media platforms fail to foresee.
Iranian director Vahid Jalilvand's (وحید جلیلوند ) sophomore feature "No Date, No Signature" (بدون تاریخ بدون امضا | Iran 2017 | in Persian | 104 min.) constructs a captivating drama centered on a doctor's moral consciousness.
Chinese writer-director Vivian Qu (文晏) comes back to this year's festival with her arresting and poignant drama "Angels Wear White" (嘉年华 | China/France 2017 | in Mandarin | 107 min.) about an undocumented motel employee who witnesses the government corruption and abuse of school girls. Her confident work earned her the Golden Horse Award for best director.
Gate Award (GGA) Competition nominates
10 narratives and 10 documentary features, as
well as a handful of short films in six shorts
programs for the generous cash prizes
totaling nearly $40,000. Many emerging
filmmakers around the world tell compelling
stories in this category.
Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó's documentary "The Next Guardian" (ཤུལ་ལས་བདག་འཛིན་འབད་མི། | Hungary/Netherlands 2017 | in Dzongkha | 74 min.) intimately observes the generational conflicts in the digital age in Bhutan. While the father hopes that his son will carry on the family tradition as the care-taker of a family monastery, the teenaged boy is more interested in connecting to the Internet, playing soccer with his tomboy sister, and checking out girls.
The Russian director Elizaveta Stishova's (Елизавета Стишова) impressive feature directorial debut "Suleiman Mountain" (Сулейман гора | Kyrgyzstan/Russia 2017 | in Kyrgyz | 103 min.) unfolds a captivating story in the titular UNESCO World Heritage Site about a boy who is taken out of the orphanage abruptly as the long-lost child of a couple of con-artists.
Danish director Simon Lereng Wilmont's poignant documentary "The Distant Barking of Dogs" (Denmark/Sweden/Finland 2017 | in Ukrainian | 90 min.) depicts life near the front line of the Russia-Ukraine conflicts. Through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy Oleg who lives with his grandmother and his cousin, the film reveals the dire reality and the devastating trauma caused by the war.
- Dark Wave has 4 films that continue to feed the appetite of midnight horror and sick pleasure seekers.
- Vanguard shows 4 experimental films and one shorts program that break the norm in watching a film and challenge your brain either in connecting the dots in the filmmakers' storytelling, or in finding those dots in some cases.
The SFFILM Festival takes place April 4 - April 17, 2018 in San Francisco (at the Castro Theater in the Castro; the Dolby Cinema, SFMOMA's Phyllis Wattis Theater, the YBCA Screening Room, and the Theater at Children's Creativity Museum around the downtown area; the Roxie Theater, and the Victoria Theatre in the Mission neighborhood), Berkeley (at Pacific Film Archive), Oakland (at Grand Lake Theater), and other locations around the Bay Area.