"Few festivals are more suited to their city than the International. It's clearly a festival programmed by those who love film for people who love film."
- Alex Romanelli, editor, Variety
Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country's most beautiful city, featuring nearly 200 films and live events with more than 200 filmmakers and industry guests in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence. Remarkably intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the International combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, hard-hitting documentaries, digital media work and star-studded gala events.
The International is deeply rooted in the strongest and finest traditions of appreciation of film both as an art form and as a meaningful agent for social change. It is a cultural treasure for Bay Area audiences, who embrace new ideas, compassionate humanity and world citizenship. SFIFF features a bonanza of narrative feature films, live action and animated shorts, television and theatrical documentaries, experimental work and a variety of new digital media, as well as a smart lineup of industry panels and seminars, awards events, onstage tributes, retrospectives and the highly acclaimed Schools at the Festival program, which brings more than 3,000 elementary, middle and high school students and their teachers into the festivities. More than 75,000 filmgoers attended the 2011 Festival, which played at venues throughout an enthusiastically responsive Bay Area.
San Francisco Film Society, presenter of the Festival, is a nonprofit arts and education organization that encourages the progressive evolution of film culture and individual lives by celebrating the transformative power of the moving image in all its forms. Through a combination of intelligent programming and exemplary service, it is dedicated to elevating the artistic quality and social impact of the medium via a brilliant catalogue of year-round programs and services designed for diverse audiences. These include:
The Film Society brings the leading international, independent and documentary film to the Bay Area with an array of screenings, festivals, events, talks and more throughout the year. Highlights of SFFS year-round programming include a robust Fall Season comprised of small, focused festivals and the Film Society Cinema, providing daily exhibition opportunities for American and international films.
Offering a full suite of programs and activities designed to foster creativity and further the careers of independent filmmakers, the Film Society's Filmmaker360 department empowers filmmakers of all levels, taking projects from conception to completion and beyond through development and fiscal sponsorship services, grants and residency programs, and mediating a range of networking events throughout the year.
The Film Society's acclaimed Education program provides youth, college students and adults of all skill levels with a wide range of programs and resources in film literacy and cultural awareness, including film screenings, filmmaker school visits, curriculum support, scholarships and internships. The Youth Education and Colleges & Universities programs reach more than 10,000 teachers and students each year, while the Film Craft & Film Studies program features more than 100 classes annually in the art and business of filmmaking and film appreciation.