Recommendations from the SFFILM Programming Team: September 2020

It’s hard to believe, but it has been six months since the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order and SFFILM’s difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Festival. We hope you’ve been enjoying our virtual events and programs like Hong Kong Cinema, and we will be continuing to broaden our offerings for SFFILM members and our community of film lovers throughout the fall, so stay tuned. We thought it was a good time to check in with our intrepid Programming team to hear about some of the things they’ve been watching and some of the events they’re looking forward to.

AMANDA SALAZAR — PROGRAMMER
I am going to go with an animation theme, as that has really been something I have been leaning towards in my spare time.

Son of the White Mare (Roxie Virtual Cinema)
Prepare to be amazed by this animation from Hungarian animator Marcell Jankovics about a mare giving birth to three men to save the universe.

Feels Good Man (Roxie Virtual Cinema)
I recently re-watched as I recommended this to some friends and really find that the issues being raised in this documentary are more important than ever.

The Midnight Gospel (Netflix)
Released just when quarantine started in April, I am just catching up. Some great late-night fun with incredible animation to compliment the mind-opening conversations around existence and the human experience.

Something I’m excited about:
Fort Mason Flix, especially a very exciting announcement coming soon about some SFFILM nights at the new drive-in!

AUDREY CHANG—ASSOCIATE PROGRAMMER / GGA MANAGER
I continue to search out entertaining episodic shows and inspiring documentaries in my spare time. Here are a few films and shows I have enjoyed this summer:

Unorthodox (Netflix)
I was riveted by this incredible true story of a young bride’s escape and liberation from her restrictive marriage and family in Williamsburg. Shira Haas’s performance is simply masterful.

Boys State (Apple TV+)
A shameless plug, but I found the SFFILM at Home screening and Q&A of Boys State to be the absolute highlight of the season. The film could not be more relevant and revelatory and the conversation with Steven, Rene, and Ben brought tears of joy.

Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
My guilty pleasure. Such a penetrating look into race, class, and white privilege. And no one can “do” white privilege better than Reese Witherspoon! Also features a young and talented ensemble cast.

Something I’m excited about:
Screening submitted films for the 2021 SFFILM Festival and SFFILM’s upcoming Doc Stories series (Dec 3–6)!

ROD ARMSTRONG—ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING
With the recent death of Czech New Wave master Jiri Menzel, SFFILM’s Kurosawa Award Winner in 1990, it’s been illustrative to revisit some of his films including Larks on a String (1969, screened in the Festival as part of his award program in 1990) and I Served the King of England (Festival 2008). Both films are available on Amazon while the latter film is available on DVD from Netflix. Yes, I still get DVDs from Netflix!

Mrs. America (Hulu)
Though some of the performances are imperfect to my mind, this history of the ERA years resonates against present-day politicians attempting to strip women of their rights. Plus, the fun clothes!

Palm Springs (Hulu)
So many folks have commented on the perfect pandemic movie; this Andy Samberg comedy is mine. Imagine waking up every day having to attend a wedding with a romantic partner you no longer like very much. I love the many different trajectories this film takes within its conceit.

Something I’m excited about:
Watching First Cow and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and getting ready for SFFILM’s robust fall season. We hope to offer something for everyone—visit sffilm.org for the latest!

Presenter of the SFFILM Festival, SFFILM is a year-round nonprofit organization delivering screenings & events to 100,000+ film lovers annually. www.sffilm.org