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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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San Francisco closed with 77 000 in attendance

The 48th San Francisco International Film Festival concluded with a screening of the wickedly satirical Hollywood noir, THE DYING GAUL, directed by Craig Lucas and starring Patricia Clarkson, Campbell Scott and Peter Sarsgaard. For 15 days, thousands of filmgoers, filmmakers and film industry representatives attended screenings of 185 films from 48 countries in San Francisco, Berkeley and Palo Alto. Attendance, compared to the 47th Festival, rose 5% to 77,000.
The SKYY Prize, established in 1997 by the Festival and premier sponsor SKYY Vodka, includes a $10,000 cash award and recognizes a first-time feature filmmaker whose film exhibits unique artistic sensibility. This year’s SKYY jury selected Miranda July’s ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (USA) as the winner of the 2005 SKYY Prize because it was “innovatively hilarious, philosophically moving and so delightful.”
The FIPRESCI jury, composed of three journalists from the renowned international organization of film critics, selected PRIVATE (Italy) as the FIPRESCI prize winner because director Saverio Costanzo “combined creative ingenuity and passion in ways that would be unusual for a seasoned director, never mind for someone making a debut feature.” The Virgin Megastore Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature also went to ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, with Susanne Bier’s BROTHERS (Denmark) and Iciar Bollain’s TAKE MY EYES (Spain) also impressing audiences. In an extremely tight race, the Virgin Megastore Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to San Francisco–based directors Geoff Callan and Mike Shaw for the world premiere of PURSUIT OF EQUALITY. In close pursuit were Taggart Siegel’s THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN (USA) and Dana Adam Shapiro and Henry Alex Rubin’s MURDERBALL (USA).
Golden Gate Awards were presented to: Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda’s CZECH DREAM, which won Best Documentary Feature for its humor, audacity and intelligence; Taggart Siegel’s THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, Best Bay Area Documentary Feature because of the impressive way the director gently approached hot-button topics and the film’s satisfying and hopeful resolution; Till Passow’s THE ECSTATIC, Best Documentary Short; Dan Krauss’s THE LIFE OF KEVIN CARTER, Best Bay Area Documentary Short; Lisl Ponger’s PHANTOM FOREIGN VIENNA, New Visions Award; Victoria Gamburg’s TWILIGHT, Best Narrative Short; Kerry Laitala’s TORCHLIGHT TANGO, Bay Area Non-Documentary Short Award; and Chris Landreth’s RYAN, Best Animated Short. The Golden Gate Award in the Youth Works category went to Erica Eng’s INERTIA and Susanne Seidel’s A SLIPPERY TALE received the Best Work for Kids and Families award.

This year’s awards in the television categories went to Brent and Craig Renaud’s OFF TO WAR for Best Documentary Long Form, Gabrielle Pfeiffer’s FACING THE DEAD for Best Documentary Short Form, Enric Folch’s TEMPUS FUGIT for Best Narrative Long Form and Ken Finkleman’s THE NEWSROOM, SEASON 3: BAGHDAD BOUND for Best Narrative Short Form.
San Francisco’s finest and Hollywood’s elite turned out for Film Society Awards Night, the Festival’s gala fundraiser dinner. This year’s annual benefit raised $240,000 to support the year-round work of the San Francisco Film Society. Joan Allen was honored at Film Society Awards Night and received the Peter J. Owens Award, underwritten by the Peter J. Owens Trust, for her brilliant acting achievements. Jeff Bridges, who starred with Allen in TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM and THE CONTENDER, presented the award. Taylor Hackford received the Film Society’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing sponsored by BULGARI from presenter Benjamin Bratt. The inaugural Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting, sponsored by SKYY Vodka, was presented to Academy Award nominee Paul Haggis. Also in attendance for Film Society Awards Night were Hackford’s wife, Helen Mirren; director Sally Potter; actor Simon Abkarian; actor Talisa Soto; and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
An enthusiastic audience watched National Public Radio's David D’Arcy interview Hackford at the Castro Theatre prior to a screening of THE IDOLMAKER. Director Sally Potter interviewed Joan Allen and discussed her acting process and intelligent onscreen performances prior to a screening of Potter’s YES. Film historian David Thomson interviewed Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award winner Adam Curtis prior to a full-house screening of the acclaimed BBC documentary THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR. A lively Q&A followed the powerful three-hour film.
The Schools at the Festival program, now in its 14th year, expanded its outreach significantly and welcomed more than 3,400 students from 59 public and private elementary, middle and high schools, home school groups and youth organizations to 16 different film screenings at the Kabuki and provided a dozen filmmaker visits to schools throughout the Bay Area, reaching as far as Half Moon Bay, San Rafael and Oakland.

Festival highlights included the Opening Night film, THE AX, with director Costa-Gavras in attendance; the State of Cinema address by Brad Bird; an onstage discussion with Mel Novikoff recipient Anita Monga; silent films set to live music composed and performed by Alloy Orchestra and American Music Club; screenwriting seminars with Paul Haggis and Todd Solondz; a special focus on Malaysian cinema, allowing audiences to witness the emergence of an independent film movement; and a wheelchair-accessible screening of MURDERBALL followed by a Q&A with filmmakers and athletes from the film at Kanbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center.

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