Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Something in the Darkness (2016) Queens World Film Festival

A truly scary horror film that doesn't punk out at the end concerns a little girl who is afraid of the dark and what happens when her parents go out for the night.

Chilling film ponders being alone in bed at night when the lights go out and there is something in the darkness. Its a beautiful marriage of images, music performances and things that go bump that creates genuine suspense, real terror and a great ending.

This just might keep you up at night, especially if its the last thing you see before going to bed. It is going to leave you ill at ease and nervous. Quite an achievement in these days where jump scares are the be all and end all of most horror film directors cleverness.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

QWFF ’18: Open Land—Meeting John Abercrombie

Like many guitar players, John Abercrombie often led an organ trio, but his music was more contemplative than typically greasy soul jazz. Probably no other guitarist has had as long and successful relationship with Manfred Eicher’s ECM record label, but he still swung. In short, he was a true jazz original. The late, great guitar hero takes stock of his life and career in Arno Oehri’s documentary Open Land—Meeting John Abercrombie, which screens during this year’s Queens World Film Festival.

Open Lands opens with Abercrombie’s “Sad Song” playing over atmospheric scenes of Midtown Manhattan by night. As far as the musician’s fans are concerned, the film could go on like this forever, but Oehri soon shifts, introducing us to Abercrombie’s comfortable home. This is actually quite significant in retrospect, because the musician will later discuss in length the experience of being almost completely wiped out when his house burned down a few short years prior.

Abercrombie leads Oehri on a trip down memory lane, revisiting the nearby neighborhood of his pleasant, lower middle-class youth. He discusses his early musical experiences, but the highlight of the film is his vivid recollection of recording “Timeless,” his “greatest hit.” In doing so, he expresses great love and respect for Eicher and ECM (which is indeed an extraordinarily well-run artist-focused company).

Along the way, we also hear a good deal from Abercrombie’s last regular drummer and organist, Adam Nussbaum and Gary Versace, who are thoughtful when it comes to music and warmly affectionate when it comes to Abercrombie. Of course, the best part is listening to them play. Hats off to Oehri and co-producer Oliver Primus, because they totally got it. Unlike so many documentaries about musicians that lack confidence in their subjects to hold viewer interest, they include a full trio performance, with unedited solos from all trio members. It sounds terrific.

Obviously, Open Land takes on unexpectedly bittersweet dimensions since Abercrombie passed away last year (a few months after releasing his final ECM recording, Up and Coming). Yet, there are never any uncomfortable moments in the documentary, because Abercrombie always looks like he is in good health and good spirits.

In fact, this film is quite a blessing, documenting Abercrombie at the height of his powers, for posterity. Throughout the film, Oehri shows a clear affinity for the ECM aesthetic, often approximating the distant vistas of their album cover art, while sampling Abercrombie’s considerable recorded archive. All in all, it is an excellent tribute to a great artist. Let’s put it this way—it is worth venturing all the way to Queens to see it. Very highly recommended, Open Land—Meeting John Abercrombie screens this Friday (3/23) at the 2018 QWFF.

Come and Play (2018) Queens World Film Festival 2018

Haunting film has a young boy going off to the park before dinner and having his fantasies of playing soldier become real.

Trippy surreal and disturbing film blurs our notions of what is real and what isn’t. Forcing a rethink of the childhood games we play we now see what the real outcome would be. It’s a jarring experience that sucks us in and alters how we see reality.

Gorgeously shot in black and white the film has a timeless quality. Part of the timelessness of it is the blending of war footage with the modern war images. We are connected to our war filled past in ways that we could never be if the film was shot in color. The images stay with you and envelope you. My memory of the film is a series of stark images of the growing horror.

While the film is probably a tad too long at 30 minutes COME AND PLAY is still a film of great power- more so if screened huge where you can’t get away from its images



Touring retrospective originates in New York before continuing to more than nine cities 

“Trnka—the name is the sum of childhood and poetry.” —Jean Cocteau

A Midsummer Night's Dream, courtesy Czech National Film Archive 
New York, NY (March 20, 2018) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Comeback Company announce The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiri Trnka, the first complete U.S. retrospective of the works of Czech animation master Jiri Trnka (1912-1969), April 20-25.
Revered as the pioneer of a remarkable new genre of animation that utilized puppets, Trnka conveyed the drama and psychology of his characters through his figures’ body language, expressive lighting, and camera movement. The director’s approach to puppet film as a serious art form was borne out of the lively Czech puppet theater tradition, which helped preserve the language over centuries of Hapsburg rule when there were no Czech schools, theater, or books published in the language. Already a prolific artist, author, and beloved book illustrator in his country, Trnka made films that had enormous impact on the development of Czech animation, and he inspired the careers of generations of filmmakers and animators around the globe. 
Trnka’s body of work as a director—18 short and six feature-length animated films in total—was rivaled only by Walt Disney Studios in output and brought him international acclaim, from Cannes to Venice and beyond. With his puppet animation studio, founded in 1946, he helped lay the groundwork for Czech animation predominance alongside stop-motion animation masters Karel Zeman, Hermina Tyrlova, Jan Svankmajer, and Jiri Barta. 
This essential series will present all 24 of the artist’s films, including 11 newly translated works and the U.S. premieres of two new digital restorations: Trnka’s Venice Film Festival prize-winning first feature The Czech Year and Old Czech Legends, a breathtaking collection of Bohemian myths. The lineup also features Trnka’s Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night’s Dream, narrated by Richard Burton; his subversive, absurdist, anti-authoritarian trilogy The Good Soldier Svejk; and three distinct shorts programs featuring the filmmaker’s unique early work in hand-drawn cartoons (including Cannes Film Festival prize-winning The Animals and the Brigands), his magical family-friendly works, and his later, more formally and politically defiant films (featuring his final masterpiece, The Hand, about the plight of artists toiling under the restrictions of a totalitarian government). Also included is a two-program sidebar dedicated to Jiri Brdecka, a screenwriter and animation director whose close friendship with Trnka occasioned a number of short- and feature-film collaborations. 
After originating at the Film Society in April, the series will continue on in variations to tour North America. Trnka’s films will screen at the American Cinematheque (Los Angeles, CA), George Eastman Museum (Rochester, NY), Cleveland Cinematheque/CIA (Cleveland, OH), Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge, MA), Lightbox Film Center (Philadelphia, PA), The Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago, IL), The Cinematheque (Vancouver, BC, Canada), Cornell Cinema (Ithaca, NY), Speed Art Museum (Louisville, KY), and more to be announced. 
The touring retrospective is produced by Comeback Company, with support from the Czech Film Fund. Organized by Irena Kovarova with Florence Almozini and Tyler Wilson. Films provided by the Czech National Film Archive. 
Tickets go on sale April 6 and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+); $8 for kids under 12; and $10 for Film Society members. See more and save with the 3+ film discount package or All-Access Pass. Learn more at
Acknowledgments:Alex Zucker; Martina Raclavska; Marketa Santrochova, Czech Film Center; Michal Bregant, Katerina Fojtova, Tomas Zurek, Michaela Mertova, Czech National Film Archive. Special thanks to the Czech Center New York.

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONSAll screenings held at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th) unless otherwise noted
*Please note, while some films may be appropriate for children, most of Trnka’s films are for adult audiences.*

The Czech Year / Spalicek
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1947, 78m
Czech with English subtitles
Trnka established his reputation as a world-renowned master of puppet animation with his Venice prize-winning first feature, a kinetic visual symphony bursting with music and dance that celebrates the customs and folklore of the Czech people. Composed of six short episodes—the last of which, Bethlehem, was Trnka’s first-ever attempt at puppet animation—it traces one year in a country village through the town’s traditions, from springtime festivities to feasts to fairs to Christmas-night rituals. Trnka’s extraordinary puppet work is a marvel to behold in this new digital restoration by the Czech National Film Archive, but equally impressive is his mastery of the cinematic language, with rhythmic montage editing and swooping camera movements creating a whirling dervish sense of dynamism. U.S. Premiere of the new digital restoration.
Friday, April 20, 6:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova)
Sunday, April 22, 8:30pm 

The Emperor’s Nightingale / Cisaruv slavik
Jiri Trnka & Milos Makovec, Czechoslovakia, 1948, 35mm, 72m
No dialogue
Trnka’s adaptation of a classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is an enchanting animated jewel box. Framed by live-action sequences—about a lonely boy shut away from fun and play—the story unfolds as a child’s dream vision, a tale of illusion versus reality in which a Chinese emperor is ensorcelled first by the song of a nightingale, then by its mechanical replica. Working in a rich red, green, and gold visual palette, Trnka conjures a hallucinatory storybook world of moonlit bamboo forests, softly glowing Chinese lanterns, and bursting fireworks displays all set to a gorgeous, rhapsodic score by his key collaborator, Vaclav Trojan. 
Preceded by:
The Devil's Mill / Certuv mlyn
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 20m
No dialogue 
A barrel organ grinder meets the devil on a mysterious moonlit night in this haunted-house fable, which showcases Trnka’s atmospheric use of sound to conjure a macabre mood. Saturday, April 21, 2:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova)
Wednesday, April 25, 4:30pm 

Bayaya / Bajaja
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1950, 75m
Czech with English subtitles
Based on a pair of Czech fables, this rousing, medieval-set adventure charts the exploits of a young peasant whose dead mother returns in the form of a white horse, whisking him away on a quest to free her soul from purgatory and save three princesses from a host of hydra-headed dragons. Balancing moments of atmospheric lyricism with vigorous action sequences, the third feature-length collaboration between Trnka and composer Vaclav Trojan—who contributes a stirring, cantata-like score set to text by Surrealist writer Vitezslav Nezval—confirms the pair to be a creative partnership as fruitful as Eisenstein and Prokofiev or Hitchcock and Herrmann.
Preceded by: Song of the Prairie / Arie prerie
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 20m
No dialogue
One of Trnka’s most delightfully silly efforts is a slapstick spoof of John Ford’s Stagecoach and Hollywood singing-cowboy Westerns based on a popular novel by Jiri Brdecka, who would later direct his own adaptation, the cult favorite Lemonade Joe (screening in the Brdecka sidebar).
Sunday, April 22, 2:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova)
Tuesday, April 24, 4:30pm 

Old Czech Legends / Stare povesti ceske
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1952, 91m
Czech with English subtitles
A treasure trove of Bohemian myths are brought to life by Trnka’s magical puppet work in this folkloric hymn to the Czech land, history, and people newly restored by Czech National Film Archive. Based on a tome by the “Czech Sir Walter Scott” Alois Jirasek and the medieval chronicle of Cosmas, it illustrates seven fabled historical episodes, including the settling of an Edenic ancient Bohemia, the tale of an all-female revolt led by a cast-out princess, and the legend of a weak-willed king whose passion for gold nearly destroys his kingdom. It all culminates in a breathtaking climactic battle sequence—a tour de force of editing, music, and stop-motion (employing more than 70 figurines) that plays like puppet Kurosawa.
U.S. Premiere of the new digital restoration.
Friday, April 20, 4:00pm
Saturday, April 21, 9:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova) 

The Good Soldier Svejk, Parts I-III / Osudy dobreho vojaka Svejka I.-III.
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1954, 74m
Czech with English subtitles
Adapted from the scathingly funny, hugely influential anti-war classic by anarchist writer Jaroslav Hasek, this three-part satirical farce charts the exploits of the eponymous World War I infantryman, whose antic misadventures continually frustrate his commanding officers—and reveal the absurdity of the entire conflict. Basing his designs on the novel’s original, celebrated illustrations by Josef Lada, Trnka mixes his trademark puppetry with striking cutout-animation sequences to accompany the droll, rambling tales that Svejk spins. The result is a subversive anti-authoritarian statement that captures the novel’s biting wit and irreverent spirit. 
Preceded by: The Two Frosts/ Dva mrazici
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1954, 12m
Czech with English subtitles
Two mischievous frost spirits—voiced by famed comedian Vlasta Burian and author, popular actor, and satirist Jan Werich—make things chilly for a pair of travelers in this wintry comic folktale.
Friday, April 20, 2:00pm
Sunday, April 22, 4:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova) 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Sen noci svatojanske Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1959, 35mm, 72m English version Richard Burton narrates this bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale, in which the love lives of mortals and forest sprites mingle during one magical moonlit evening. In his final feature—also the first CinemaScope film made in Czechoslovakia—Trnka deploys the full force of his imagination and technical wizardry to evoke the story’s enchanted-woodlands setting, a garlanded, pastel dreamscape awash in starry-night atmosphere, colorful festoons of flowers, and exquisitely wrought fantasy creatures. The graceful puppetry combined with the Vaclav Trojan score and voiceover work by Burton and members of the Royal Shakespeare Company yields a masterpiece of surpassing, balletic beauty. 
Preceded by:
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1958, 10m
Czech with English subtitles
Commissioned by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (which considered Disney for the assignment before settling on Trnka), this cartoon short employs strikingly simple animation to make the case that all of humanity is enriched when we tear down the walls that separate us.
Saturday, April 21, 7:30pm (Q&A with Tereza Brdeckova, film writer and daughter of Jiri Brdecka)
*Pre-screening reception open to all ticket holders, with beer courtesy of the Czech Center New York.
Wednesday, April 25, 6:30pm

Shorts Program 1: A Star from the Start TRT: 74m
Trnka proved himself to be a master animator from the very beginning, as evidenced by the formally inventive, wittily offbeat works in this program, which includes the filmmaker’s earliest experiments in the art form: hand-drawn cartoons that play like a distinctly Czech anti-Disney, a modernist tour de force of surrealist invention, and a rapturously beautiful puppet adaptation of Chekhov. 
Grandpa Planted a Beet / Zasadil dedek repu
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1945, 10m
No dialogue
A farmer finds himself with an unusually fertile bumper crop on his hands in Trnka’s first film, a charming hand-drawn adaptation of a Czech fairy tale that announced the director as an animation talent to rival Disney. The program also serves as a survey of animation techniques employed by the artist throughout his career. 
The Animals and the Brigands / Zviratka a petrovsti
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1946, 8m
Czech with English subtitles
A rooster, a cat, and a goat meet a trio of ignoble characters deep in a night-shrouded forest in this hand-illustrated, Cannes prize-winning folktale, which showcases Trnka’s gift for evoking light and shadow. 
Springman and the SS / Perak a SS
Jiri Brdecka & Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1946, 35mm, 13m
No dialogue
Trnka combines 2-D and collage animation to striking effect in this zanily offbeat, anti-Nazi lampoon, which crosses Max Fleischer–like absurdism with a biting satirical edge. His first collaboration with Jiri Brdecka. 
The Gift / Darek
Jiri Trnka & Jiri Krejcik, Czechoslovakia, 1946, 15m
Czech with English subtitles
Trnka reached new heights of modernist abstraction with this innovative, surrealist mini-masterwork, which critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon praised as the Citizen Kane of animation.
Romance with Double Bass / Roman s basou
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1949, 13m
Czech with English subtitles
This dreamily beautiful puppet work adapts a short story by Chekhov into a magical, moonlit reverie about a musician, a princess, and a chance encounter while night-swimming.
The Golden Fish / O zlate rybceJiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1951, 15m Czech with English subtitlesTrnka returned to 2-D animation for this wryly humorous fairy tale—written and narrated by legendary Czech actor Jan Werich—about a man whose problems only multiply when he catches a wish-granting fish. Friday, April 20, 8:15pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova)
Tuesday, April 24, 8:30pm 

Shorts Program 2: Tales and CollaborationsTRT: 93m
Silly circuses, classic fairy tales, and toy trains come to life through magical stop-motion, puppet, and hand-drawn animation in these charming, family-friendly shorts that showcase Trnka’s fruitful collaborations with fellow artists, animators, and puppeteers.
Merry Circus / Vesely cirkus Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1951, 35mm, 12m
No dialogue
Trnka brings to life a surrealist circus of tightrope-walking fish, musical monkeys, balancing bears, and high-flying acrobatics in this whimsical feat of cutout animation made in collaboration with leading Czech painters of the era.  
The Gingerbread House / Pernikova chaloupka
Bretislav Pojar, Czechoslovakia, 1951, 35mm, 18m
No dialogue
The Czech version of Hansel and Gretel receives a captivating, puppet-animated adaptation, featuring striking—and fittingly macabre—storybook imagery designed by Trnka and direction by his close colleague and animation heir, Bretislav Pojar.

How the Old Man Traded It All Away / Jak starecek menil, az vymenil
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1953, 9m
Czech with English subtitles
Folk art–like hand-drawn stills illustrate this sweetly simple pastoral fable, in which a peasant comes into possession of a small fortune—but realizes there are treasures greater than gold.
Kutasek and Kutilka / Kutasek a Kutilka jak rano vstavali
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1954, 18m
Czech with English subtitles
ow do you wake up a sleeping puppet? Made by Trnka in collaboration with actor and puppeteer Josef Pehr, this winsome mix of live action and puppet play is enchanting entertainment for the youngest of viewers.
The Midnight Adventure / Pulnocni prihoda
Bretislav Pojar, Czechoslovakia, 1960, 13m
No dialogue
An old woodblock train meets its shiny new electric replacement one Christmas Eve in this glowingly nostalgic stop-motion toy story, directed by Bretislav Pojar and featuring gorgeous design by Trnka.
Circus Hurvinek / Cirkus Hurvinek Jiri Trnka & Stanislav Latal, Czechoslovakia, 1955, 23m Czech with English subtitles Trnka pays homage to two of Czechoslovakia’s most beloved characters—Spejbl and the mischievous Hurvinek, a father and son duo created by Trnka’s puppeteer mentor, Josef Skupa—in this imaginative tale of a young boy who dreams of being part of the circus.
Saturday, April 21, 12:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova) Sunday, April 22, 12:30pm

Shorts Program 3: Mature Mastery TRT: 84m
In the 1960s, at the height of his artistic powers, Trnka turned to increasingly dark, surreal, satirical, and politically defiant subject matter. The result was a string of visually innovative, modernist masterpieces that encompass dystopian science fiction, religious parody, and, in his final crowning achievement, an impassioned protest against state censorship. 
Passion / Vasen
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 9m

No dialogue
A boy’s need for speed causes problems throughout his life in this triumph of modernist design, which blends puppet, stop-motion, collage, and cutout animation with a gothic humor and Pop Art–like visual design. 
Cybernetic Grandma / Kyberneticka babicka
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 28m
Czech with English subtitles
Trnka took a turn into Space Age sci-fi surrealism with this dark, dystopian satire on automatization in which a child traverses a forbidding technological wasteland to meet (surprise!) her uncanny new robotic grandmother.
Archangel Gabriel and Mistress Goose / Archandel Gabriel a pani Husa
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1964, 29m
No dialogue
Adapted from a story in Boccaccio’s Decameron, this irreverent, medieval-set lampoon of religious hypocrisy mixes Christian iconography with bawdy black humor to tell the tale of a lusty Venetian monk who assumes the guise of the angel Gabriel to seduce a married woman.  
The Hand / RukaJiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 35mm, 18m
No dialogue
Trnka’s final work is a powerful, deeply personal allegory about the plight of the artist toiling under the restrictions of a totalitarian government. The story of a simple sculptor who is menaced by a giant, disembodied hand that forces him to bend to its will, it was banned by the Communist censors for two decades—but has since taken its place as an acknowledged masterpiece of animation.
Sunday, April 22, 6:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova) Wednesday, April 25, 8:30pm

Tribute to Jiri Brdecka Along with Trnka, Jiri Brdecka (1917-1982) was one of the founders of Czech animation, who explored its potential as a serious art form as early as the 1940s. Even though he’s best-remembered and revered abroad for his short animated works as a director, Brdecka wrote many screenplays for others’ films, both animated and live action, including the remarkable and immensely popular Western parody Lemonade Joe (1964), based on his eponymous novel. He penned original ideas, scripts, and dialogues for renowned directors such as Martin Fric (The Emperor’s BakerThe Baker’s Emperor), Oldrich Lipsky, Jiri Weiss, Karel Zeman (The Fabulous Baron Munchausen), Vojtech Jasny (Cassandra Cat), and Vera Chytilova (The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun, based on his book of the same name). But his longest-lasting collaboration was with Jiri Trnka, having co-written four of Trnka’s animated shorts and three of his feature-length puppet animated films. This program is a companion to the complete Trnka retrospective, held in homage to their creative partnership and close friendship.
Program organized by Limonadovy Joe s.r.o. in partnership with Czech Centres. Films courtesy of the Czech National Film Archive, Kratky Film Praha a.s., and Rembrandt Films. Thanks to Irena Kovarova/Comeback Company 
Lemonade Joe / Limonadovy Joe aneb Konska operaOldrich Lipsky, Czechoslovakia, 1964, 99m
Czech with English subtitles
This relentless and hilarious musical send-up of the American Western written by Brdecka is one of the most popular works in Czech film history. Lemonade Joe follows a soft drink–swigging gunfighter as he tries to steer the sinful residents of Arizona’s Stetson City away from alcohol and toward the health benefits offered in Kolaloka (a parody of Coca-Cola). The satire was adapted from versions of the character created by Brdecka across various media, including print, radio, and the theater. The visual gags are reminiscent both of the 1920s American silent slapstick and the colorful era of the swinging ’60s, including its inspired music and songs (the full title in Czech calls it a Horse Opera). Based on the same source, Jiri Trnka made the short puppet film Song of the Prairie (1949), showing in his retrospective with the feature Bayaya.
Tuesday, April 24, 6:30pm (Introduction by Irena Kovarova) 

Shorts Program: Jiri Brdecka’s Animated ShortsThis program of nine animated shorts by Brdecka spans his entire directing career and showcases his wealth of collaborations with important Czech artists and animators, such as Jiri Trnka and Eva Svankmajerova. From comedy to musical, tragedy, and even horror, the short films here, each designed by a different artist, have it all, even receiving acclaim in the West: Brdecka won the Grand Prix at Annecy International Animation Festival for his film Gallina Vogelbirdae (1963). TRT: 100m 
Springman and the SS / Perak a SSJiri Brdecka & Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1946, 14mNo dialogue 
Reason and Emotion / Rozum a citJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 15mNo dialogue
The Frozen Logger / Zmrzly drevarJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1962, 5mIn English
Gallina Vogelbirdae / Spatne namalovana slepiceJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1963, 14mNo dialogue 
The Letter M / Slovce MJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1964, 9mCzech with English subtitles
Forester’s Song / Do lesicka na cekanouJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1966, 10mCzech with English subtitles 
Metamorpheus / MetamorfeusJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1969, 13mLatin and Czech with English subtitles 
There Was a Miller on a River / Jsouc na rece mlynar jedenJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1971, 11mCzech with English subtitles
Prince Copperslick / Trinacta komnata prince MedenceJiri Brdecka, Czechoslovakia, 1980, 9mCzech with English subtitlesSaturday, April 21, 4:30pm (Introduction by Tereza Brdeckova, film writer and daughter of Jiri Brdecka) *Post-screening reception open to all ticket holders, with beer courtesy of the Czech Center New York.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.
Special Thanks to NYLO NYC. 
The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Shutterstock, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For more information, visit and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.
Based in New York, Comeback Company was founded by producer and independent film programmer Irena Kovarova. Having worked in repertory cinema since 2004, Irena founded the company in 2013 to further expand her film projects. Among major programs produced by the company are a retrospective of Czech director Jan Nemec’s 50 year career (in 2014), and a touring retrospective of Academy Award nominated director Ruben Ostlund (in 2014-15), which both toured over 15 cities in North America and screened in New York City. Another program was a retrospective of Kelly Reichardt films touring through 5 countries in Central Europe in 2016; For details, visit

Ishmael's Ghosts (2017) opens Friday

With ISHMAEL'S GHOSTS opening this week here is a repost of my review from last year's New York Film Festival

Arnaud Desplechin's ISMAEL'S GHOSTS confused the audience I saw the film with. It wasn't that the film was bad it's just that it leaves so much out we didn't know what to think.

The plot of the film has writer Ishmael going through his paces some 21 years after his wife disappeared. He is happy with his new love and he frequently commiserates with his father in law about their shared loss. Then one day his wife returns throwing everyone's life into utter turmoil.

Beautifully made and perfectly acted film is like watching the best and most dramatic sequences from a drama which unfortunately never connects the scenes together. Huge portions of backstory are missing. While this was Desplechin's intention, at the post screening Q&A he said it's moments in Ismails life, it makes for a bumpy viewing experience since the moments at so close together as to kind of form a conventional drama.

The cast headed by Mathieu Amalric, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg are sterling and are so good that you largely forgive the flaws and just ride the wave of excellent acting.

I really liked the film a great deal, as did many of the confused people around me at the festival. However we all just wished that the film tied it all together enough that we loved the film instead of liked it.

(The difference between the Director's Cut and Theatrical release according to the director is that the director's cut contains the trip to Israel and the Theatrical doesn't)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Liquid Sky (1982) Boston Underground Film Festival 2018

LIQUID SKY has been restored in 4K and is playing this weekend at the Boston Underground Film Festival, The punk science fiction film was a key film for many people I know since it broadened many people’s definition as to what science fiction was.

The plot of the film has a tiny alien space ship land o the roof of an apartment building in NYC. The aliens then begin to feed off the lovers of one of the women living in the building because the need the energy released at orgasm. A scientist begins to study the aliens. Strange things happen.

Weird science fiction films is in some ways less a science fiction film than an odd ball drama. The film is inde in the extreme, a fact which confused many people who discovered it on home video in the heyday of VHS tapes. What is this film that has aliens but isn’t like STAR WARS? Many people didn’t know. They didn’t know what the film was trying to do, just as they didn’t get THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH.

Way back in my days running a video store LIQUID SKY was a frequent renter especially on the weekend when groups of teenagers would take the film out to watch this weird little film that had warped the brains of their friends. The reaction when the film came back was always mixed, with some people loving it’s off beat aesthetic, especially for mainstream cinema of the 1980’s and others flustered by it.

My personal reaction has always been colored by the reaction of watching the film be rented for years. I love any film that shakes what anyone’s perceptions of film and story can be. As a touchstone film and the point where some people altered their thoughts on film I love LIQUID SKY. I love that the film messes with people who are unprepared for it.

On the other hand I am not a huge fan of the film itself. I never really clicked with it much. I loved the look of the film and I loved Anne Carlisle who wrote and starred in the film. But I didn’t like it. I always thought it was trying too hard and it didn’t really succeed.

As I write this I haven’t seen the film in at least 15 years. I’ve never felt the need to rewatch the film since my video store days, though I did run across it at one point and watched a portion of it and found it aged pretty good, largely I think because inde film caught up with because it was influenced by it.

Should you make an effort to see at Boston Underground or in its eventual home video release. Yes. Unequivocally yes. For better or worse LIQUID SKY is an important film for the history of science fiction. Even with my reservations about it it’s a good enough film to try. Hell I’ve talked to hundreds of people who have seen it and it always affected them in some way. Additionally the film hit home video at the right time to influence generations of filmmakers and film-goers. It was and is a film that changes minds. If you watch it and can’t see it it’s because you live in a world that was changed by its very existence. In order to understand the present and future you need to know the past. Liquid Sky is a small, but important part of cinema and science fiction history and must be seen.

LIQUID SKY plays March 21 at the Boston Underground Film Festival. It will also be getting a regular theatrical release including an engagement at the Quad Cinemas in New York Starting April 13th.

The Endless (2017) opens April 6

With THE ENDLESS opening Friday, here is a repost of my Tribeca review from last year

THE ENDLESS was a film that everyone who had seen it had warned me to be wary of. The film they said worked for most of it's running time but collapsed in the final third as things went loopy. Normally I would have taken the advice but the description as a modern take on HP Lovecraft was too much to pass up.

The plot of the film has two brothers who aren't happy and barely employed returning to the "UFO death cult" they grew up in in order to say goodbye after they are mailed a videotape message. They aren't sure what will happen when they get there but they go anyway. Once there they are welcomed which kind of surprises them. While the cult isn't happy they are forgiving, as is, it seems, their god an unknown thing living in the woods. The return to the camp begins to set the brothers against each other as one decides maybe they shouldn't have left after all.

Odd ball film makes zero sense even on it's own loopy terms. What the film says is going on makes so little sense that if you try to line it up your brain will explode. Rules are broken left and right to the point that the more you think about it the worse it seems- I could explain the basic lot to you, which would be fine, but the details are such bullshit the film implodes the more you think about it.

In a weird way I like the film. As long as I see it as a story about the two brothers I'm fine with it. The one thing the film has that works is the characters. But as soon as you see it as a horror/science fiction/fantasy film (that is no way scary) the film crumbles because it's so badly written.

To be honest everyone who hates the final third is right in doing so. While we still have characters and moments the actual explanation is, as I've said bullshit.

The choice to see this film is yours.

THE ALIENIST: Episode 9: Requiem

Running  down a clue
Not sure but you'll either scream or groan at the end of this episode because it get dark.

While Kreizler mourns and withdraws from the investigation, the rest press on. Racing against time to find their suspect they struggle to find a way to be certain they are.

The penultimate episode is a nail biter from start to finish. If you've been watching from the start you will be on the edge of your seat and talking to the TV at every turn. Nothing is being held back the series is now racing to a conclusion. The question is who will be alive when it all ends.

At this point there is nothing left to say other than everything that has gone before is now paying off big time and I can't wait to see next weeks episode.

Frankly as much as I love the book this series which is based on it has become it' own thing. Yes I know the book, but everyone involved with this series has done a sterling job and made something that stands on it's own feet. I've long ago stopped comparing the book to the series and consider both equally valid telling of the tale.

I am sorry that the series ends next week, but I'll soldier on in the hope that we get ANGEL OF DARKNESS next year.

If you haven't been watching the series I have to ask why the hell not- go binge it so you can join everyone as it all comes to a conclusion next Monday.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Nightcap 3/18/18 The Kit Film Noir Festival and Boston Underground start this week and other upcoming festivals

Buy your snacks now because there are lots of films to watch (dark glasses optional)
The truly marvelous and absolutely kickass Kit Film Noir Festival starts Wednesday and if you are in NYC you MUST go

Think of all of the great noirs in one place playing over the course of one five day period and you have the festival. Seriously  you get THE MALTESE FALCON, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, LAURA, MURDER MY SWEET and many others all playing at Columbia University.

Its so incredible that I know people who are moving into the screening room for the week.

Go to your planner, cancel all your plans for the 21st through the 25th then go to the website and look at the schedule and  say to hell with it and just buy tickets for everything.

Seriously The Kit Film Noir Festival is the best thing you can do in New York.


The Boston Underground Film Festival starts Wednesday and runs through the weekend. Its full of great films so just buy a ticket and go.

Because of embargos I can't run new reviews until the day of the screenings so don't wait for my word just buy tickets for anything you are interested in. I highly recommend THE THETA GIRL, which is a throw back to weird 1970's drive-in exploitation  and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID which is like a Guillermo del Toro film only better.

I also recommend REVENGE and one of 2017's very best TOP KNOT DETECTIVE. I'll be reposting reviews before the fest.

Basically just go and buy tickets.


Queens World Film Festival continues this week and we'll be running more reviews. Other than one film I've loved everything that I've seen so buy some tickets and go.


The next few weeks are going to be crazy so if you're looking forward to coverage of inde and festival films this is the place to be.

New Directors New Films is coming March 28 to MOMA and Lincoln Center and we'll have a good selection of films covered.

The What The Fest March 29 to the IFC Center in Manhattan and assuming this week's nor'easter doesn't wash out the tracks we'll have some reports from the press screenings.

The Kino Festival the annual collection of German films is coming. This is one of the great festivals of the year and is a must attend. A small word of warning - where in past years we've covered the entire festival, this year our coverage will be smaller owing to the fact that we've already done a number of the films

Kazuo Miyagawa: Japan’s Greatest Cinematographer is getting a tag team retrospective at The Japan Society and MOMA  starting April 12 (with Mizoguchi's A Story From Chikamatsu and Sansho the Bailiff  at Film Forum from April 6-12.) Its a killer retrospective with most films playing in each location, however check to be sure. Thanks to JB we'll have a good selection of reviews coming.

And complicating everything is the fact that the Tribeca pre-fest screenings start so we'll be distracted from everything else as we wade into the 100 plus features and lord know how many shorts.

And on top of the festivals we'll have new release coverage (and the last two episodes of THE ALIENIST) as well.So things are going to be crazy.

Trust me when I say we have lots of stuff coming- we do.  I've spent a portion of the last three months catching up with older films you probably missed or  never heard of which I figured would allow us to coast for a bit, but we've got so much new film and festival coverage coming that I keep pushing the old stuff back with the result that if I stopped reporting today Unseen would run uinto September.

Keep reading because we're going to keep reporting

Panic Attack (2017) Queens World Film Festival 2018

Eileen O'Meara's PANIC ATTACK begins with a woman at a stop light pondering if she left the coffeemaker on and then spiral outs as she deconstructs her life.

Beautifully animated so that one metaphysical crisis blends into the next this film score huge points and more laughs by nailing how our minds work when left untethered. How we get from A to B to Z makes absolute perfect sense not so much because it does but rather we all have done exactly that.

Rarely has three minutes been so perfectly spent.

This charmer is one of the best films at Queens World Film Festival and is absolutely something you have to track down.

Fucking My Way Back Home (2018) Queens World Film Festival 2018

A man in debt to bad man is hired to drive an escort to her clients for an evening and deduce if she is skimming money from their boss. In the middle of the evening  she gets a call that her mother has died and that if she doesn't have the  $50,000 for the rent owed by her mother on her house by the next morning it will be taken away and her relatives will put her daughter into a foster home.

To be honest this is a film with a great deal going against it, beginning with a contrived plot. Not only does it have a non-family friendly title which will prevent some bookings, the film barely runs over an hour with an official running time of 70 minutes. If there was a film doomed never to be seen this is it...

...which is a shame since if you can get past the fact that the plot makes zero sense, even the most contrived soap opera would never make up the incredibly stupid reasoning to set the action in motion this is a pretty good little drama on it's own terms. Seriously the whole time frame thing makes no sense and then marry it to the "we think the person is junkie stealing money" nonsense is just too much to take.  However if you  skip the set up and then just go with it the film turn out to be something nicely off beat.

Sure there are other bumps along the way but film has some really nice moments such as Megan talking to an old man while on a date and the exchanges between the main characters that reveal character more more than just move the plot work very well. Its good enough that I could recommend this film to people with a taste for small inde films who don't mind the bumps.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Screamers (2017) Queens World Film Festival 2018

SCREAMERS is not only the title of this film but also the description of the audience watching of the film as they implore it to do something other than be a "conceptual horror film" based on Kubrick's THE SHINING. (descriptions are those on the film's IMDB page and Queens World FF page)

Slow painful and mannered in ways no Kubrick's films never were SCREAMERS is horror film made by some one who doesn't understand what a horror film is and only seems to understand obtuse performance pieces. I say this since each shot, each line of dialog is purple with meaning. Everything oozes meaning for no serious reason.What those meanings are are not on the screen, but are held by the filmmakers who refuse to reveal them to the audience.

I grew weary of the intellectually intentionally contrived nature of it all and rapidly slid off to sleep... It took me several restarts to get through the film but it wasn't worth it.

Its not so much that anyone thought making a film like this would be a good idea, rather it's more a question of who did they think we would actually want to watch it?

I can't recommend this film.

The one clunker at this year's Queens World Film Festival

Before Summer Ends (2017) Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2018

Not long before one of them is set to return to Iran three Iranian friends take a week long road trip across France.

Part Road trip part mediation on life BEFORE SUMMER ENDS is a thoughtful film about life. Not really content to just talk about useless stuff the friends actually have deep and meaningful conversations about life, their homeland, their host country and everything else. The depth of the conversation is slightly unexpected since with some of the goofing around (not to mention discussion of farts) you'd think this was a bit less serious.

Gorgeous to look at, the film is carried along by the the actors who make you believe that the men at the center of the tale truly are great friends.

Worth a look.

Friday, March 16, 2018

No One Is Safe From Son of Sam (2018) Queens World Film Festival 2018

Excellent short documentary (screaming to be made into a feature film) about the Son of Sam case is a trip back 40 years to the summer of fear.

Made up of footage from WPIX in New York and containing interviews with veteran reporters Mary Murphy and Arnold Diaz, as well as archivist Rolando Pujol the film has a wonderful lived in and you are there feel. Having lived through the massive amounts of new coverage that surrounded the attacks this film brought back the feeling of what it was like to be there.

Expertly and vitally edited by director Heath Benfield the film has a living breathing quality to it that is missing from most other crime documentaries. Benfield sweeps us up and pulls us into the crime and the time in a way almost no other filmmaker has ever managed. Its so good that I would love to see if he could really explore the murders in a feature expansion of this short. If not I will be extremely happy just to know that this film exists.

Highly recommended. One of the very best films at The Queens World Film Festival.

Nothing Changes: Art for Hank's Sake (2016) Queens World Film Festival 2018

NOTHING CHANGES is a portrait of Hank Virgona who is director Matthew Kaplowitz‘s uncle. Virgona is an artist who has been making art in his Union Square studio since the 1950’s. He commutes from his home in Queens six days a week. While his health has deteriorated and his gait has slowed he still makes the trek into Manhattan hoping every day to discover little mistakes that reveal a greater truth.

In its way NOTHING CHANGES is one of the best portraits of an artist ever put on film. A soup to nuts look at the man and his life you will come out of the film knowing Virgona and his work better than most members of your family. Certainly you will know the man’s work intimately. More importantly you will come to understand why and how he creates his art. His is not a quest to make money but to discover some grater truth about life. This film will go a long way to explaining why anyone does what they do.

The reason the film works as well as it does is that the long interview with Virgona that makes up the spine of the film is filled out by wonderful talks with friends and colleagues who have known him for decades. They fill in details he leaves out at the same time giving his story some context. Through their eyes and words we come to understand just how good Vironga really is.

If there is potential problem with the film it would be that the film can be very intense is showing Virgona create. If you don’t fully click with watching him drawn and paint explain what he is doing the film could seem a little draggy. While the sequences made me a little weary at times and in the moment, by the time the film had ended I had forgotten about them. Frankly if I hadn’t made a couple of references to them in my notes I never would have mentioned them.

Over all this is a super film and highly recommended to anyone who loves art and the act of creation.

Nothing Changes plays Sunday March 18th at the Queens World Film Festival.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Shoulder (2018) Queens World Film Festival 2018

The Shoulder Trailer from Rebekah Nelson on Vimeo.
A man tries to help his drug addicted brother by taking him across country to get him off the drugs.

Killer film is a spot on portrait of what many people go through when they have to deal with a loved one in the thrall of drugs. A heart breaking story it clearly shows that often no good deed goes unpunished. Alternately heartbreaking and heartbreakingly funny this film will make you feel for our hero. It is a small portrait of a moment in time that kind of makes you wonder why we bother to help the people in need, while at the same time makes you understand why we bother to try.

While definitely worth your time I think it’s best to keep in mind that this is a moment in time and that there is no definite resolution. I was a little thrown because I expected closure and there isn’t any. Ultimately this could be spun out to a feature film- which I would gladly see if its as well done as this small gem.

THE SHOULDER is included in a block of films "Kicking It" premiering on Friday, March 16th at 7:45pm at the Museum of Moving Image. For tickets and more information go here.

12 Days (2017) Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2018

Riveting documentary chronicling what happens with in the court rooms where the fate of those involuntarily committed are examined by a judge to see if they can be let go. The screenings are based on a French law that requires a judge to weigh in on involuntary committals within 12 days of a patient entering a hospital.

Made up of 10 meetings between patients and judges the film is little more that a series of close ups of the patient and the judges. They are spaced by shots of the hospital hallways. Its very minimalist but absolutely captivating since there is so much drama in each encounter we simply can not look away.

Deeply moving and at times troubling look at how the mentally ill are treated in France. While it is clear that many of the people need help, its also clear that anyone of us is a hairs breadth from being locked up.

Highly recommended. This maybe the best film at this year' Rendez-Vous ith French Cinema

A parrothead looks at Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway

I saw Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway the other night. Because I had heard bits of the score on Jimmy Bufett’s radio station I was wary going in. They had rewritten some songs which didn’t always work. However as much as wary as I was of going I did have a good time. Taking it on its own terms it’s a fun evening. Its far from earth shaking but fun.

That said I have issues... and if you don’t want to know stop reading

While the cast is fine, the set looks good but the show is largely a mess beyond that.

The book is not really good. It’s a boy and girl meet on vacation tale that we’ve seen before but they have twisted and turned every action and every line of dialog to get in the maximum number of puns and references to Jimmy Buffett songs to the point of being distracting. Its designed to bring maximum joy to well versed Parrotheads. So much so that while I and many others laughed and giggled at all the references and the song lyrics turned into lines of dialog many others looked quizzical at why some people were laughing or clapping at a reference.

While jukebox musicals are often cash grabs, designed to make money on nostalgia, if done right (Ring of Fire, Mamma Mia) they don’t feel mechanical . Escape to Margaritaville is incredibly mechanical. While most certainly entertains, it plays like most Jimmy Buffett concerts over the last decade or so, as a mechanical money machine PT Barnum would be proud of. There is no pretense here to be anything more than being good enough to get people coming through the door to sing the songs and buy 11 dollar beers and 16 dollar margaritas from Buffett’s companies.

The biggest problem is that the score is large weak. Its not that the original songs are bad rather that most of the songs have been rewritten- some like It’s My Job to the point where you wonder why the hell they even bothered (if it wasn't a Buffett song this still born bastard version would have been tossed out) . Other songs are barely used with only a couple of lines fleetingly going by before disappearing. I understand modifying some of the songs to fit the play but they did it to almost every song. This is a jukebox musical where they removed chunks of the reason people were there. How can we sing along when we don’t know the words, only the melodies

That said when the songs work (they are the ones largely left alone)the show soars. Margaritaville is a wonderful ending to Act One. Cheeseburger in Paradise is perfectly used to describe one characters need for real food. Tin Cup Chalice, a song I’ve never been a big fan of, is so good it’s now become a favorite. And then there is He Went to Paris had me and several other people around me crying. It’s one of the best moments I’ve ever had in the theater. Most of the rest were okay or serviceable - but ultimately why didn't they just do new songs since they could have done more if the songs were not used as punchlines.

I do have to say the altered One Particular Harbor which I disliked when I heard it on Sirus/XM is great in context and is perfectly used with the changes fitting how it’s used.

As a real show it's not very good. Yes I had, and you will have, a good time. Yes I sang along, even with the heavy handed Why Don’t We Get Drunk sing along (which perplexed many in the audience). And yes I did Fins at the end (restrained myself during the show). Yes I left smiling, but thinking “yea well that was a thing” rather than needing to go back. I also wondered how I would have felt had the tickets not been discounted.

And no I can’t shake the feeling that its nothing but a money grab for the Buffett machine from top to bottom since all of the alcohol being sold and all the souvenirs are from Buffett's companies. It’s a kind of empty parrothead Disney.

Forgive me for bitching but I've seen a lot of jukebox musicals over the last 20 years of theater going and this is the first one that kind of missed the point with rewriting the songs almost to oblivion and then struggling badly to really link them

Yes I had a good time- and had there not been four or five moments where they got it dead nuts right I would have left it there but god damn it the show squanders what could have and should have been one of the best jukebox musicals to make something that is just okay and will probably last as long as a long vacation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Festival runs April 4–17 at the Castro Theatre, SFMOMA, the Theater at the Children's Creativity Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Dolby Cinema, the Roxie Theater, the Victoria Theatre, BAMPFA, and the Grand Lake Theatre
Sorry to Bother You
The complete lineup has been announced for the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival, running April 4–17 at venues in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Browse the full public program info at

2018 SFFILM Festival by the Numbers:

183 Films
57 Narrative Features
37 Documentary Features
New Vision Features
Episodic Programs
83 Shorts
45 Countries Represented
46 Languages
World Premieres                                          
5 North American Premieres
US Premieres
66 Women Directors

Highlights from today's press conference included these announcements:

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.

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.

The Festival’s 2018 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), along with the previously announced Tribute to Charlize Theron.

Special live events include Blonde Redhead performing live with Yasujiro Ozu’s I Was Born, But… , A Thousand Thoughts – A Live Documentary by Sam Green and Kronos Quartet , A Celebration of Oddball Films with Marc Capelle’s Red Room Orchestra, and the 2018 State of Cinema Address by Canadian iconoclast Guy Maddin.

There is a particularly strong showing of films that have received support through SFFILM Makers artist development programs at this year’s Festival, with several SFFILM grant-winners making the cut. Supported films include the previously announced Centerpiece selection of Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink’s The Rescue List, and Jeremiah Zagar’s We the Animals.     

As previously announced, the SFFILM Festival is again featuring a slate of World Premieres as part of its Launch initiative, a boutique program designed to introduce a curated selection of films to screen for Festival audiences and select film industry representatives. Featuring five documentaries from the official Festival lineup, Launch serves as an alternative to larger-scale film sales environments elsewhere in the US.
2018 San Francisco International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country’s most beautiful cities. The 61st edition runs April 4–17at venues across the Bay Area and features nearly 200 films and live events, 14 juried awards with close to $40,000 in cash prizes, and upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests.

SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world's finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 10,000 students and teachers annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services.

For more information visit