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The mission to open San Francisco International Film Festival

The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23 - May 7) will open with Peter Bratt's stirring second feature, La Mission, a compelling redemptive drama about the powerful ties of family and community. La Mission will screen at 7:00 pm, Thursday, April 23 at the historic Castro Theatre. Peter Bratt, cast members Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez and many members of the film's local crew are expected to attend the lively hometown premiere and festivities. The celebratory Opening Night party will begin at 9:30 pm at Bruno's, in the spirited heart of the Mission district.

Peter Bratt (Follow Me Home, SFIFF 1996) returns to SFIFF following a successful debut at the Sundance Film Festival with a powerful story set in the colorful, predominately Latino Mission district where he and his brother, actor Benjamin Bratt, grew up. La Mission tells the story of Che (Benjamin Bratt), a reformed and respected ex-con and recovering alcoholic who has turned his life around and now devotes himself to his lifelong friends, his passion for building classic cruisers and, most of all, his rock solid relationship with his honor student son, Jess (Jeremy Ray Valdez). When a sudden revelation shatters the peaceful surface, a confused and angry Che finds himself emotionally broken, isolated and struggling to reconcile his ideals of the old world in which he resides with those of his son's new world. La Mission is a powerful story of transformation and reconciliation, set in a neighborhood often battling to end its own cycles of violence and conflict.

Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, says, "Like the neighborhood in which it's set, Peter's film is full of life and has a big wild heart. We loved it at first sight, not least because of the wonderful way in which it marshals the city's filmmaking talent, and we can't imagine a more enjoyable way to open this year's Festival than with this moving and powerful film."

At 9:30 pm the Mission-style Opening Night party kicks off at two historical venues, the iconic Bruno's and a unique street scene setting within the ruins of the El Capitan Theatre, located at 2389 Mission Street between 19th and 20th Streets. Partygoers will celebrate the launch of SFIFF52 with cool cocktails, international culinary delights and the Latin beats of salsa and rumba.

La Mission, which was shot in San Francisco, was produced by Alpita Patel, Benjamin Bratt and Peter Bratt and executive produced by San Francisco residents Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer and Bay Area resident Dan Nelson.

La Mission received tremendous support and enthusiasm from the San Francisco Film Commission and participated in the city's Scene in San Francisco rebate program. In its continued support for homegrown filmmaking, the Film Commission will sponsor Opening Night.

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