56th San Francisco International Film Festival


The 56th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 25-May 9 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre and New People Cinema in San Francisco and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring 200 films and live events, 14 juried awards and $70,000 in cash prizes, upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests and diverse and engaged audiences with more than 70,000 in attendance.

Film Society Awards Night, SFIFF's fundraising gala honoring the masters of world cinema, will take place Tuesday May 7, 6:00 pm at Bimbo's 365 Club.

Opening Night: What Maisie Knew
Thursday April 25, 7:00 pm, Castro Theatre
Codirectors Scott McGehee and David Siegel and actor Onata Aprile expected

In a loose adaptation of Henry James' novel of the same name, Scott McGehee and David Siegel's What Maisie Knew focuses on the effects of a marriage unraveling as viewed through the eyes of a couple's six-year-old daughter (played by remarkable newcomer Onata Aprile). Shuffling between narcissistic parents-her rock star mother (Julianne Moore) and distracted art dealer father (Steve Coogan)-or foisted off on parental stand-ins (Alexander Skarsgård and Joanna Vanderham), young Maisie comes face to face with the mercurial world of grown-ups who are anything but.

The Opening Night celebration continues at the Temple Nightclub (540 Harrison Street) at 9:00 pm with a lavish party featuring hors d'oeuvres from local restaurants, sophisticated cocktails and, of course, dancing.

Centerpiece: Inequality For All
Saturday May 4, 6:30 pm, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Director Jacob Kornbluth and subject Robert Reich expected
In this Inconvenient Truth for the economy, the Sundance Special Jury Award-winning Inequality For All introduces former Secretary of Labor (and current UC Berkeley professor) Robert Reich as an inspirational and humorous guide in exploring the causes and consequences of the widening income gap in America and asks what it means for the future of our economy and nation. Passionate and insightful, Reich connects the dots for viewers by providing a comprehensive and significantly deeper understanding of what's at stake if we don't act. 

At 8:30 pm guests will party at Roe (651 Howard Street), San Francisco's premier boutique nightclub and lounge destination. They will indulge in cool cocktails, delicious hors d'oeuvres and the latest beats.

Closing Night: Before Midnight
Thursday May 9, 7:00 pm, Castro Theatre
Director Richard Linklater expected
They're still the same romantic, articulate and gorgeous couple that met on a train in Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995), but now, nearly 20 years on, Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) are approaching middle age and facing questions of commitment, family and, as ever, the staying power of love. Before Midnight, with a funny and touching screenplay cowritten by Linklater and his two lead actors, is that rare sequel (rarer still: a sequel to a sequel) that not only delivers the charm and energy of its antecedents but adds layers of poignancy, standing firmly on its own as a mature observation of love's pleasures and discontents.

At 9:00 pm the Closing Night party kicks off at Ruby Skye (420 Mason Street). Partygoers will bring down the final curtain on SFIFF56 with festive drinks, hors d'oeuvres and music.

Opening Night film and party $65 for SFFS members and $80 for the general public; film only (limited quantity available) $35 for members, $40 general; VIP tickets $125.
Centerpiece film and party $35 for members, $45 general; film only (limited quantity available) $20 for members, $25 general.
Closing Night film and party $65 for SFFS members and $80 for the general public; film only (limited quantity available) $35 for members, $40 general; VIP tickets $125.
Box office opens March 20 for members, March 22 for general public, online at