Our take: The oldest film festival in the western hemisphere just got a big transfusion of new blood (or returning blood?) with the return of Rachel Rosen from Los Angeles. Often the first stop on the west coast for the year's highest profile docs, the fest is a great intro to the vital (if maybe somewhat entrenched) San Francisco documentary community. While it's not a market-driven festival, it's filled with history and is a great place to lay seeds for a future awards season bid. Rosen brings her formidable chops (is there another major festival programmer who actually graduated with a degree in documentary studies?) to revitalizing a fest that had slightly receded to the background but which has the potential to be a major player. Has a rich prize - $20K for documentary feature.
Important recent premieres: THE BOYS: THE SHERMAN BROTHERS' STORY, SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Selection of US films screened at 2009 festival: ART & COPY, CALIFORNIA COMPANY TOWN, CRUDE, EVERY LITTLE STEP, FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM, MY NEIGHBOR, MY KILLER, TYSON,
Our coverage of San Francisco here.
Filmmaker: "Liked the vibe - great to be introduced to the tight community of SF filmmakers. Good audiences."
Filmmaker: "Great venues, nice educational program where you can show your films in public schools during the fest. More friendly to narratives in my opinion, for screening times etc. Did not pay our way but did pay hotel."
Filmmaker: "Good. a little scattered as some city festivals are. good curating. great city."
programming and the audiences are great"
Next up: #17