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San Francisco International Film Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

San Francisco International Film Festival
LocationSan Francisco, California, United States

The San Francisco International Film Festival (abbreviated as SFIFF), organized by the San Francisco Film Society, is held each spring for two weeks, presenting around 200 films from over 50 countries. The festival highlights current trends in international film and video production with an emphasis on work that has not yet secured U.S. distribution. In 2009, it served around 82,000 patrons, with screenings held in San Francisco and Berkeley.[1]

In March 2014, Noah Cowan, former executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival, became executive director of the SFFS and SFIFF, replacing Ted Hope.[2] Prior to Hope, the festival was briefly headed by Bingham Ray, who served as SFFS executive director until his death after only ten weeks on the job in January 2012.[3] Graham Leggat became the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society on October 17, 2005. The Scottish-born Leggat died on August 25, 2011 from cancer, aged 51.[4]

The 63rd edition of the festival, originally scheduled for April 2020, but was ultimately postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[5]


Founded in 1957 by film exhibitor Irving "Bud" Levin, the SFIFF began as a philanthropic effort to secure San Francisco's place in the international arts scene as well as expose locals to cinema as an art form.[1] Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood and Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali were among the films that screened at the first festival.[1]

One obstacle in the early years was the lack of support from the major Hollywood studios, suggested reasons being the growing threat of international films' appeal and a fear that the festival would draw commercial attention away from the Oscars.[6] It was not until 1959 that a major American film, Henry King's Beloved Infidel, starring Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr, played at SFIFF.[6]

Honors and Tributes

Irving M. Levin Directing Award

The Festival's directing award is named after SFIFF's founder, Irving Levin.[7] From 2003 to 2014, the award was known as the Founder's Directing Award. Prior to 2003, the award was known as the Akira Kurosawa Award. Recipients include:

Peter J. Owens Award

Named for the longtime San Francisco benefactor of arts and charitable organizations Peter J. Owens (1936–91), this award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity.[15]
Recent recipients include:

Kanbar Award

Recipients of the Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting include:

Mel Novikoff Award

Named in honor of San Francisco film exhibitor Mel Novikoff (1922–87), this award is given to an individual or organization notable for making significant contributions to the Bay Area's film community.[22]
Recent recipients include:

Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award

The POV Award honors the lifetime achievement of a filmmaker whose work is crafting documentaries, short films, animation or work for television.[25]
Recent recipients include:

George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award

The George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award, given in tribute to the longstanding Film Society chairman of the board who died in 2013, honors filmmaker for their contributions to the art of cinema.
Recent recipients include:

Midnight Awards

The Film Festival's Midnight Awards were given from 2007–2011 to honor a young American actor and actress who have made outstanding contributions to independent and Hollywood cinema.[34]
Recent recipients include:

60th Anniversary Gala Changes

In 2017, the San Francisco Film Society made a "strategic move" to set its 60th anniversary SF Film Awards Night closer to awards season in early December.[35]

Awards and Prizes

New Directors Award

This $15,000 cash award supports innovative thinking by independent filmmakers and shines the spotlight on an emerging director.[36] Films in this juried competition must be the director's first narrative feature and are selected for their unique artistic sensibility or vision.

Golden Gate Awards

The Golden Gate Awards is the competitive section for documentaries, animation, shorts, experimental film, and video, youth works and works for television. Eligibility requires that entries have a San Francisco Bay Area premiere and be exempt from a previous multiday commercial theatrical run or media broadcast of any kind. The festival currently awards cash prizes in the following categories:[37]

  • Documentary Feature - prize: $20,000
  • Bay Area Documentary Feature - prize: $15,000
  • Documentary Short - prize: $5,000
  • Narrative Short - prize: $5,000
  • Animated Short - prize: $2,000
  • Bay Area Short, First Prize - prize: $2,000
  • Bay Area Short, Second Prize - prize: $1,500
  • New Visions Short - prize: $1,500
  • Youth Work - prize: $1,500
  • Family Film - prize: $1,500

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes the San Francisco International Film Festival as a qualifying festival for the short films (live action and animated) competitions of the 81st annual Academy Awards.[38]


Selected by the International Federation of Film Critics, the FIPRESCI Prize aims to promote film art, to encourage new and young cinema and to help films get better distribution and win greater public attention.[39]

State of Cinema Address

Each year, the festival invites a prominent thinker to discuss the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema, culture and society. Recent speakers include:

Live Music & Film

The San Francisco International Film Festival also involves live music and film events, which usually feature contemporary musicians performing original scores to classic silent films. Music/film pairings at SFIFF have included:

See also


  1. ^ a b c "San Francisco Film Festival Bucks Economic Trends to Set New Records for Revenue and Attendance." 7 May 2009. San Francisco Film Society. 29 June 2009 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-11-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Producer Ted Hope to run SF Film Society". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Bingham Ray - S.F. Film Society director - dies". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  4. ^ Garchik, Leah (2011-08-27). "Graham Leggat, leader of S.F. Film Society, dies". SFGATE. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  5. ^ Pereira, Alyssa; SFGATE (2020-03-14). "SF International Film Festival canceled amid coronavirus concerns". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  6. ^ a b "Account Suspended".
  7. ^ "The Godfather Takes Center Stage at SF Film Fest".
  8. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-03. Retrieved 2017-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Guillermo del Toro to Be Honored by San Francisco Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  10. ^ Johns, Nikara (12 March 2014). "Richard Linklater Nabs SFIFF's Founder's Directing Award". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  11. ^ "FOUNDER'S DIRECTING AWARD (The 56th San Francisco International Film Festival)". April 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "55th San Francisco International Film Festival to Present Founder's Directing Award to Kenneth Branagh - San Francisco Film Society". June 24, 2012.
  13. ^ Awards 54th SFIFF
  14. ^ Awards 53rd SFIFF
  15. ^ Brooks, Brian (March 10, 2009). "Redford to Receive San Francisco Film Festival Honors".
  16. ^ "San Francisco Film Festival to Honor Richard Gere". Variety. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  17. ^ "57th San Francisco International Film Festival will Present Peter J. Owens Award to Jeremy Irons". San Francisco International Film Festival. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Paul Schrader Gets San Francisco Film Fest Award and Tribute (Exclusive)". Thompson on Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2016-01-03. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Bigelow, Catherine. "Big Screen: SF Film Society Awards Gala." 5 May 2009. 24 July "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2011-10-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  22. ^ Pine, Dan. "S.F. film fest honors famed Jewish film restorer." 30 April 2009. 24 July 2009 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-11-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  23. ^ "San Francisco Film Society to Present Mel Novikoff Award to Lenny Borger at 58th San Francisco International Film Festival". San Francisco Film Society. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "The Evening Class".
  26. ^ "San Francisco Film Society to Honor Kim Longinotto with Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at 58th San Francisco International Film Festival". San Francisco Film Society. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  27. ^ "57th San Francisco International Film Festival to Honor Isaac Julien with Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award". San Francisco Film Society. 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "AWARDS - San Francisco International Film Festival". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  30. ^ "San Francisco Film Society to Present 2016 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to Peter Coyote at 59th San Francisco International Film Festival". 29 March 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  31. ^ "San Francisco Film Society will Present 2015 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to Maurice Kanbar at 58th San Francisco International Film Festival". San Francisco Film Society. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  32. ^ "57th San Francisco International Film Festival will Present 2014 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to John Lasseter". San Francisco Film Society. 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  33. ^ "56th San Francisco International Film Festival will Present Inaugural George Gund III Award to Ray Dolby". San Francisco Film Society. 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  34. ^ "Midnight Awards for Evan and Elijah." 25 March 2009. 24 July 2009[permanent dead link].
  35. ^ McNary, Dave (2017-06-29). "San Francisco Film Society's Annual Gala Moves to Awards Season". Variety. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  36. ^ Hawley, Michael. "SFIFF52--Michael Hawley Anticipates Line-up." 24 July 2009 Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ SFIFF press release
  38. ^ "Rules & Eligibility". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. July 28, 2014.
  39. ^ Eder, Klaus. "The Purpose of FIPRESCI Is to Support Cinema as Art." 24 July 2009
  40. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2017-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  41. ^ Connelly, Sherilyn. "Best of SFIFF:  Douglas Trumbull's State of Cinema Address". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  42. ^ "Credit Card Authorization Failed". Retrieved 8 April 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 April 2021, at 00:35
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