San Francisco International Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival started Thursday and goes through May 9. If I wasn’t miles and miles away, I’d go. I still have a bit of a buzz from my experience at the Cleveland International Film Festival last month where I took in Brook Silva-Braga’s film “One Day in Africa,” plus three more.

What I found most intriguing about my movie-going Saturday was the intersection between the various countries that were represented by the movies, the directors, and the audience members. I imagine the festival in San Francisco might have a similar feel.

Depending upon which theater one ducks into, one’s experience of the world might be charming and uplifting, serious or fun, kind of depressing, or downright disturbing. The films rest on the passion and drive of the film maker. The variety is astounding. Even if you aren’t going to be able to take in a festival, browse through the film selection and savor the scope.

Because most films aren’t the ones that splash into main stream movie theaters after months of advertising, when the lights turn down, the unfolding of each story can be a surprise. Each film I saw, except for Brook’s, was one I did not know about before I settled into my seat. I was with a friend who snagged me the pass, so I went with her selections and wasn’t disappointed. We saw: “Surveillance,”Prodigal Sons” and “The Wrecking Crew.”

Unfortunately, I don’t see that any of the films I saw are showing in San Francisco, so I don’t have a specific recommendation–except if you can manage it, see at least four films that seem totally different from each other. That results in a buffet where there’s sweet, sour, salt and spicy. You’ll leave wanting more, but satisfied. One of these days, I’ll have enough time to see 20 movies like one woman I met when I was at Brook’s film.

Actually, I did notice on the San Francisco festival’s list a movie that I have seen, but would love to see on the big screen. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It’s showing on April 29.

If I were going, I’d also take in “City of Borders” because it sounds interesting and excellent. It’s about the lone gay bar in Jerusalem with layers of stories in its telling. The director is Chinese. That’s cross-cultural.


Cleveland International Film Festival: One Day in Africa

The Cleveland International Film Festival, from March 19-29 is the largest film festival in Ohio. That’s merely one reason to attend this kaleidoscope of images and stories from around the world.

The other reason is that Brook Silver- Braga will be at the premiere of his film One Day in Africa. Brook wrote the Gadling series Across Northern Europe. Back in January, I wrote a post about Brook’s film and he promised to keep me up to date about the schedule. Now the news is out, and he has added the details to the One Day in Africa Web site.

I’ll be at the screening on Saturday, March 28th at 9:15 a.m. There is an earlier showing on Thursday, March 26th at 7:25 p.m.

Along with Brook’s gem are dozens of others that span subject matters and countries. I’m going to the preview party this Friday in Columbus at the Wexner Center for the Arts so I can give you a heads up on what other films to look for.

In the meantime, here’s a link to the complete film listing and schedule. To help wade through the offerings, some are divided out as being teen friendly.

If you do head to Cleveland, the film festival takes place at Tower City. Take some time to go to Terminal Tower, the original part of the building. First of all, the art deco atrium is stunning. Terminal Tower was the 2nd highest building in the United States in the 1960s after the Empire State Building. The Prudential Building in Boston took its 2nd place status away from it.

Cleveland International Film Festival

When snow dumps in massive amounts, one wonders about the events that happen once a year that require people to attend for a success to happen. Our friends moving back to Japan had two people show up for their moving sale. We managed to slide down their street to pick up a dresser we bought from them.

This past week a mega event started in Cleveland. We won tickets but weren’t able to head north since even heading down our street was questionable. Since this event is continuing through this week and next weekend, here’s a heads up. The Cleveland International Film Festival is a chance to see films that often don’t get noticed and a chance to see creativity at work when the dollar a movie can make is not necessarily the reason to make it. Each day offers a wide variety of choices.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Cleveland, going to this festival could not be more convenient. It’s being held at Tower City, a shopping mall with various eateries that is connected to Terminal Tower. If you park in the garage, you don’t have to step outside once. Although, I do recommend heading over through the mall to Terminal Tower which was once the second tallest building in the world in the early 1960s. The architecture is gorgeous. If you go out onto Euclid Avenue, you’ll see the Soliders and Sailors Monument in Public Square a few steps away. Parking for the film festival is free.