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San Francisco International Film Festival

Are You Talkin' to Me?

George Heymont | Posted 11.10.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Whether mimicking famous celebrities or cartoon characters, a talent for voices demonstrates the added value of an actor's sharp ear combined with an uncanny ability to improvise on a moment's notice.

What Fresh Hell Is This?

George Heymont | Posted 10.31.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Two new dramas offer stark and disturbing depictions of specific flavors of hell on earth that crush the soul and, on occasion, tear the body to shreds. Whether above ground or below, whether the battle is fought with guns and bombs or fear and manipulation, there are no winners.

No Child Deserves to Be Left Behind

George Heymont | Posted 12.12.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Two new films making the festival circuit offer dark, yet refreshingly blunt insights into teens who rise above their situations in order to redefine their lives. Each offers a candid perspective on reality that would easily scare off studio executives hungry for a commercial success.

The Caveman Cometh

George Heymont | Posted 11.19.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

With people now embracing a paleolithic diet, when someone is labeled as being a Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon kinda guy, the slur is likely a reference to his mentality and lack of social skills rather than his use of leopard skin to make a fashion statement.

The Sadder But Wiser Girl

George Heymont | Posted 10.08.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

It's amazing how one song can capture a culture's idealized view of women. In 1919, the great American songwriter, Irving Berlin, had been hired by Florenz Ziegfeld to write a musical number which would glorify the showgirls in the 1919 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies.

Money Can't Buy You Love

George Heymont | Posted 10.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Money isn't everything. These days, when people start complaining about their daily misfortunes, a friend or therapist might suggest that they sit down and draw up a "gratitude list" in order to better appreciate their assets and blessings which they so often take for granted.

Coming to America

George Heymont | Posted 10.01.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

According to Kander and Ebb, "If I can make it there, I'd make it anywhere." Perhaps more than anything else, that sentiment lies at the core of two new films seen at the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Coping With Undesirables

George Heymont | Posted 09.17.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Americans love a scapegoat. From Communists to slaves, from LGBT people to those suspected of witchcraft, the venom with which some Americans have shamed and persecuted innocent people is quite beyond the pale.

To Hype or Not to Hype: That Is the Question

George Heymont | Posted 09.07.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Bloggers, filmmakers, and arts administrators are all faced with the challenge of capturing people's attention. Depending on their respective budgets and the nature of the project they are promoting, various approaches can be pursued.

Silence Is Not Always Golden

George Heymont | Posted 08.30.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

A charming six-minute short film by Chaitanya Gopinath titled Lunch with Yoshi (which was screened during the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival) follows a blind woman around Bangkok as she shops, rides the city's mass transit, and prepares lunch for a visiting friend.

Offering Solace to Strangers in Strange Lands

George Heymont | Posted 08.24.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Finding ways to communicate certain types of anguish to an audience is a constant challenge for playwrights and screenwriters.

For Those With Absolutely No Interest in Pirates

George Heymont | Posted 08.16.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Faced with so many fairy tales that have become cultural landmarks, Diane Sampson (who wrote the book and lyrics for Sleeping Cutie) decided to set the tone from the beginning with an opening number entitled "What This Isn't."

Through A Lens, Darkly

George Heymont | Posted 08.10.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Have you ever sat through a full-length feature that could have ended several times? Or been trimmed by at least 20 minutes? If so, you might find a treasure trove of cinema in the recent crop of short films, including some that were chosen for the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival.

Let There Be Light

George Heymont | Posted 08.07.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Few artists paint from the perspective that "You're only as big as the canvas that's facing you." Sculpted by the father-and-son team of Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the few exceptions to the rule.

Joy to the World!

George Heymont | Posted 08.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

What if you want something more substantial than a glorified commercial to tickle your fancy? What if you're craving something more satisfying than a severely overpriced bucket of popcorn?

SF International Film Festival Award Night Gets Glamorous

Jennifer Raiser | Posted 07.04.2014 | San Francisco
Jennifer Raiser

San Francisco's main thoroughfare was transformed into the corner of Hollywood and 'Vine Ness' when the San Francisco International Film Festival celebrated its own awards season at the Regency Center.

Caught Off Guard

George Heymont | Posted 02.20.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

It doesn't happen often, but on those rare and blessed occasions when it does, oddball works of art give a person multiple reasons to be grateful. These are situations in which one's expectations (large or small) are completely upended.

Doing It for the Children

George Heymont | Posted 11.23.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

So far this year, HBO has screened two films of social significance which deserve the public's attention. One will, of course, be an easier sell to audiences because of its high quotient of celebrity content. The other begs to tell a far more riveting story.

Caught in a Chaotic Cultural Ethos

George Heymont | Posted 11.10.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

No matter what hot button one chooses to examine, the ability to view a situation with the clinical objectivity made possible by the passage of time can offer a sharpened sense of clarity and reason.

The Power of Three

George Heymont | Posted 09.26.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

There is something magical about the power of three. Is it because of the geometrical sturdiness of a triangle? The ability of one person to pick up a story thread while the other two fade into the background? Or is it just a factor of good marketing?

Teachable Moments

George Heymont | Posted 09.05.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

Sometimes bad parenting kills people. No amount of input from a teacher can save a child who has not yet even learned how to read. Nor can it always prevent a child from being harmed by his parents' hyperreligiosity, laziness, substance abuse, tendency to commit acts of domestic violence and/or gun fetish.

Taking Responsibility For Our Own Decisions

George Heymont | Posted 08.22.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

Recently screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Tall As The Baobab Tree focuses on two young Senegalese women, Coumba and her 11-year-old sister, Debo, who are the first generation to leave their family's remote village in order to attend school in a nearby city.

PHOTOS: Ten Highlights From San Francisco's Biggest Week In Film

The Contra Costa Times | RANDY MYERS | Posted 06.23.2013 | San Francisco

Pick a movie, any movie. That's my advice for truly surrendering yourself to the San Francisco International Film Festival, kicking off its 56th year...

SF's Biggest Moment In Film Is Almost Here

Posted 06.08.2013 | San Francisco

San Francisco has served as the setting for a number of iconic films, and once a year, it pays tribute to cinematic greats in a different way. The ...

Suicidal Farmers on Film

George Heymont | Posted 11.26.2012 | Arts
George Heymont

At the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival, a series of films documented foreign farmers driven to suicide by their failure to pay off their debts. Watching wealthy Americans handle debt only reaffirms the rigged system.