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San Francisco International Film Festival (April 22 - May 6) will close with Joan Rivers--A Piece of Work,

The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 22 - May 6) will close with Joan Rivers--A Piece of Work, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's surprising look at the iconic performer, 7:00 pm, Thursday, May 6 at San Francisco's landmark movie palace the Castro Theatre. Joan Rivers is expected to attend, along with codirector Stern. A Closing Night celebration 9:30 pm at 1015 Folsom will bring the 53rd International to a rousing finish.

"We're thrilled to have Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's in depth and unvarnished documentary about this legendary entertainer close our 53rd Festival," said Director of Programming, Rachel Rosen. "It is emblematic of the entertaining and thought-provoking fare that makes up the Festival. We look forward to celebrating the end of a fantastic event with a unique icon who is as dedicated to her audiences as the Film Festival is to ours."

Pioneer comedian. Plastic-surgery freak. Red-carpet maven. Foulmouthed shock artist. No matter how you think of her, Joan Rivers--A Piece of Work (USA 2010) is likely to expand your idea of who, exactly, Joan Rivers is. As the film follows her through her 75th year, Rivers fights to stay busy and relevant in a world with waning interest in her work. With startling drive -- motivated at least in part by her fear of a blank appointment book -- she plows through a seemingly never-ending string of projects: preparing a play based on her life, competing with her daughter on Celebrity Apprentice, pitching product on QVC, throwing an elaborate Thanksgiving in her ornate New York City apartment and eliciting both shock and laughter in a string of stand-up appearances in every imaginable kind of venue. Filmmakers Stern and Sundberg make the most of their subject's characteristic mixture of bravery and the desire to entertain, even at her own expense. Working mostly with observational footage and interviews both funny and frank, Sundberg and Stern pepper the film with enough archival material to remind audiences of Rivers' bright taboo-breaking beginnings and of the disappointments and tragedies in her life. The end result is a complex portrait of a born entertainer -- a constantly shifting mixture of determination, fear, moxie and regret -- who continues to persevere despite what others may think of her.

At 9:30 pm the Closing Night party kicks off at 1015 Folsom, located between Sixth and Seventh streets. Partygoers will celebrate the culmination of SFIFF53 with festive drinks, hors d'oeuvres and music inspired by the legendary comedian, Joan Rivers.

Admission for the Closing Night film and party is $60 for San Francisco Film Society members and $75 for the general public and VIP tickets are $135. Film-only tickets are $20 for SFFS members and $25 for the general public.

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