San Francisco 2015: Documentary Overview

imagesThe oldest film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival, opens its 58th edition this Thursday, April 23, kicking things off with Alex Gibney’s latest, STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE, a critical re-evaluation of the late Apple visionary. The event closes two weeks later on Thursday, May 7, after screening nearly 100 features, among them more than 30 documentaries. The following offers some highlights from the latter:

democratsTen nonfiction films vie for the fest’s coveted Documentary Golden Gate Award, all of which have debuted elsewhere on the circuit. Among these are Sundance winners THE WOLFPACK by Crystal Moselle and WESTERN by the Ross brothers, IDFA standout THE DEMOCRATS (pictured) by Camilla Nielsson, and Tribeca title VERY SEMI-SERIOUS by Leah Wolchok.

GreenPornLive_Filmpage_476x286Other festival favorites appear in Masters, which features recent docs from the late Albert Maysles (IRIS) and Les Blank (HOW TO SMELL A ROSE: A VISIT WITH RICKY LEACOCK IN NORMANDY), as well as Stanley Nelson (THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION); in Vanguard, which includes Jenni Olson’s Sundance film THE ROYAL ROAD; and in the Marquee Presentations, including Sundance standouts BEST OF ENEMIES by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? by Liz Garbus, and LISTEN TO ME MARLON by Stevan Riley. The section also includes the debut of Jody Shapiro’s ISABELLA ROSSELLINI’S GREEN PORNO LIVE! (pictured), about the actress/director’s celebrated series of quirky sexual education shorts.

RomeoIsBleeding_Filmpage_476x286Finally, SFIFF takes audiences around the world with the expansive offerings of Global Visions. Among the 32 features here, ten are docs, including Jason Zeldes’ ROMEO IS BLEEDING (pictured), which follows the efforts of a local Richmond CA poet to adapt Romeo and Juliet within the setting of his troubled community; Arturo González Villaseñor’s ALL OF ME, an observational look at Mexican women who offer care packages to train-riding El Norte bound migrants; and Don Hardy’s THEORY OF OBSCURITY: A FILM ABOUT THE RESIDENTS, a history and appreciation of the enigmatic avant-garde performance group.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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