Every Spring, San Francisco is transformed into Hollywood North thanks to the world-famous San Francisco International Film Festival. The City is packed with celebrities, filmmakers and the best independent movies currently making the festival circuit. Attending anything at the SFIFF usually warrants two thumbs up, but the following 2016 festival events make our short-list:
1. "An Afternoon with Ellen Burstyn and Requiem for a Dream," Saturday April 23, 2pm, Victoria Theater
Legendary actress Ellen Burstyn will be honored with SFIFF's Peter J. Owens Award and will sit down for a Mission District chat about her amazing career. Not only that, but following the Q&A, the festival will be screening Requiem for a Dream with Burstyn, which is an admittedly intense but spectacular movie for a Saturday afternoon.
2. Leaf Blower, Sunday April 24, 9:45pm and Monday April 25, 6:15pm, Alamo Drafthouse
Three teenage boys lose a set of keys in a pile of leaves in this buzz-worthy film that takes place over the course of the afternoon. In his first feature film, co-writer and director Alejandro Iglesias Mendizábal reflects on the sweet charm of simply hanging out. The new Alamo Drafthouse makes its debut as a SFIFF venue this year, which is yet another reason to hop on the festival's bandwagon.
3. "Aliens: 30th Anniversary Screening," Tuesday April 26, 8:30pm, Alamo Drafthouse
Wait, how is Aliens 30 years old? Time flies when you're saving the universe from violent extra-terrestrials—again. This cult classic sequel to Alien will celebrate its birthday on "Alien Day" (4/26/16) with a thrilling revival at the Drafthouse. Something tells us to anticipate a raucous, appreciative crowd.
4. "An Evening with Tom McCarthy and Station Agent," Tuesday April 26, 7pm, BAMPFA, Berkeley
Tom McCarthy may have just won an Oscar for Spotlight, but we'll always love him for The Station Agent. Lucky for us (and you), McCarthy will sit down with SFIFF Executive Director Noah Cowan for an in-depth chat about his exciting career and a screening of our favorite film about a man who inherits a train station.
5. The Joneses, Thursday April 28, 3:30pm, Alamo Drafthouse
This documentary follows the fascinating life of Jheri Jones, a transgender 73-year old who shares her journey from the couch of her Mississippi mobile home. The film is actually a recipient of the SFIFF's 2014 Documentary Film Fund, so we're especially excited to see the final product. Director Moby Longiniotto, producer Aviva Wishnow and subject Jheri Jones are all expected to attend the screening.
6. Chef's Table: Dominique Crenn, Wednesday May 4, 7pm, Alamo Drafthouse
Celebrated San Francisco chef Dominique Crenn is the subject of this latest installment of Chef's Table, the visually delicious show you may have caught on Netflix in which selected world-renowned culinary masters are profiled. Catch Crenn (in person and on film) discussing her life and her passions in this special "Food on Film" event.