SFFilm Big Nights include Jamie Sisley’s Stay Awake at the Castro opening night

Alright, alright, alright, it is that time again. The San Francisco Film Festival (SFFilm) is returning for 11 days of groundbreaking films, in-person interviews and community events.

After two years of necessary pandemic limitations, some restrictions have been lifted and most of the films will be screened in person at SF repertory cinemas such as the Castro, the Roxie, the Victoria and the Vogue. Additional venues include the San Francisco Mint and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Across the Bay screenings will be held at BAMPFA, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Over 130 films are to be shown, from 56 nations, fully illustrating the power of film and returning us to “the magic of communal viewing.”

SFFilm Big Nights include Jamie Sisley’s Stay Awake at the Castro opening night, April 21, followed by a party at the San Francisco Mint. Sisley is a first-time feature director.

The “Centerpiece” film on April 27 is 892 directed by Abi Damaris Corbin and it screens at the Castro. This film features the final performance of Michael K. Williams (1966-2021). A true story revealing the plight of a forgotten veteran.

Closing Night belongs to Cha Cha Real Smooth directed by Cooper Raiff, at the Castro on April 30. Raiff not only directs but also writes, produces and stars in this film.

Recipient of the Sloane Science on Screen award, Linoleum will screen at the Victoria. A post-screening discussion with director Colin West is scheduled.

Documentaries, mid-length films, international narratives, and short shorts are scheduled as well, along with family friendly events.

“Spotlights” is a multi-faceted feature of the festival, that focuses on categories such as Bay Area voices, documentary competition, global visions and new directors, among others.

Mud Water, directed by My-Linh Le, tells the story of a lively Bay Area dance crew preparing for a major competition in turfing, a dance style originated in Oakland.

Benediction, directed by Terence Davies, provides a portrait of the acclaimed antiwar poet, Siegfriend Sassoon.

Hit the Road, directed by Panah Panahi, captivates in a tale about an eccentric family on a road trip through Iran.

Something for everyone in this annual event, back in full living color. sffilm.org for tickets.

And yes, you will need to show proof of vaccination and wear your mask indoors.

Jeanne Powell
Jeanne is a published poet and essayist. She holds degrees from Wayne State University and the University of San Francisco. Jeanne has taught in the CS, UB and OLLI programs at universities in the City. Her books in print include MY OWN SILENCE and WORD DANCING from Taurean Horn Press.