It’s fall: leaves turn, night expands, and the naturally migratory population of film festival programmers, cinephiles, and critics instinctually heads north to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver to spot new work in the wild. Anyone left behind on the West Coast might have a difficult time feeling sorry for what they might be missing, however. As it turns out, fall is film festival season here as well, with prestige fests and upstarts filling just about every visual craving imaginable. The list, for starters, includes Telluride, Mill Valley, Madcat, Festival Cine Latino, ResFest, Cinemayaat, SF International Animation Festival, Palm Springs. This week, SF360 checks in with a few of the Bay Area’s festival insiders to see what they’re most excited about in the coming film festival season.
1. Corey Tong
President, Makai Motion Pictures
I’m really looking forward to the release of ‘Babel,’ which will also be appearing on a few festival screens before its release. And don’t forget my favorite regional fests coming up on the horizon: Hawaii (late-Oct.), Pusan (mid-Oct.).
2. Tom Luddy
Co-Director, Telluride Film Festival
I’m looking forward to geting through my own film festival — Telluride — without any glitches or unwelcome surprises from mother nature ( two years ago we had a snowstorm, first ever on Labor Day Weekend in our 32 years) . I also look forwarding to attending, for the second time, the Moralia Film Festival in the beautiful capital of Michoacan, rich in Spanish Colonial architecture and a well run small festival where one can see some interesting new Mexican films, notably shorts and documentaries. It takes place October 14-22.
3. Michael Lumpkin
Executive Director, Frameline
I’m looking forward to The Palm Springs Shortfest. I attended for the first time last year and it’s a great to see short films getting all of the attention. In addition to the screenings, there are great panels, great parties, and a market where industry can view most of the hundreds of films submitted to the Festival. Frameline usually has several films screening in the Festival, and last year we acquired several out of the Palm Springs Festival.
4. Jonathan Marlow
Content Acquisitions Director, GreenCine/President, Cabinetic
Despite a few pockets of greatness here-and-there (“Lunacy” at IFFRotterdam; “Abduction” at Slamdance; “Backstage” at Tribeca), the first eight months of the year have thus far produced an ongoing sequence of disappointing feature films. I am definitely looking forward to Telluride and Toronto’s generally remarkable selection of recent efforts from established international filmmakers and, more importantly, exceptional works by first- or second-time filmmakers which might never be seen again.
Granted, the festival highlight of the months ahead is Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (otherwise known as the Pordenone Silent Film Festival). I won’t make it back this year, unfortunately.
5. Cheryl Eddy
Film critic, San Francisco Bay Guardian
I’m salivating over “The Host” at Toronto — midnight monster movie madness from Korean director Joon-ho Bong.
6. Chi-hui Yang
Director, SF International Asian American Film Festival
My annual Canadian tour: the very welcome, down-home Vancouver Film Festival atmosphere and its always challenging Dragons & Tigers program of Asian cinema to help wind down after working through a week of late night parties and 8:30am press screenings whirled into the beast that Toronto is.
Films that I’m excited to see:
“The Host,” Bong Joon-ho, South Korea
“The Namesake,” Mira Nair, USA
“Bamako,” Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mali/USA
“Zidane: Un Portait du XXI
The National Film Preservation Foundation delivers another gem with the fascinating three-disc box set 'The West 1898-1938.'
Accompanied by a program of solar system shorts, Travis Wilkerson’s 2003 look at ruthless union-busting and the rise and fall of Butte, Montana, offers eerie resonance.
Mill Valley amps up the star wattage in its annual mix of local, international titles.
Guy Maddin talks about movies, writing, himself—and the allure of the Osmonds, re-published on the occasion of Fandor's Maddin blogathon.
Berkeley-programmed Festival is a favorite for cinephiles; features Caetano Veloso as 2011 Guest Director.
San Francisco Silent Film Festival features the work of the most important female director of the silent era, Lois Weber.
The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival delivers internationally as well as locally made films of every identity and genre stripe.
Margaret Cho, transgender cinema are highlights of 2011 LGBT festival.