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The Wackness centerpiece at San Francisco International Film Festival

The 51st San Francisco International Film Festival (April 24-May 8, 2008) announces today that its Centerpiece screening will be the West Coast premiere of Jonathan Levine's The Wackness. The Festival's Centerpiece is designed to showcase a celebrated new director and his or her latest film. The Wackness will screen at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 3 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas with Levine in attendance, followed by the Centerpiece party at 9:30 pm at CLIFT located at 495 Geary Street.

In The Wackness, a hip-hop-loving Upper East Side outcast, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck), trying to get laid, finish high school and deal weed out of an ice cream cart, forms an unlikely alliance with his drug-addled shrink, Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley), providing a clever mix of private school and old school in a post-9/11 New York City. This audience favorite at Sundance also features a memorable cameo by Mary Kate Olsen. Levine benefits from the appealing performances of his younger cast members, but it's veteran Ben Kingsley as the doped-up doctor who truly astonishes. Whether dispensing highly questionable advice or making out with a barely legal Manhattanite (Olsen), Kingsley's unhinged psychiatrist turns the film on its end, proving that no matter how young or old, some men are always, sadly and hilariously, the same.

Writer/director Levine, a native of New York City, attended Brown University before entering the American Film Institute's directing program. His AFI thesis film, Shards, won the prize for best short at the American Black Film Festival and earned Levine the AFI Spirit of Excellence Award. His debut feature, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and became that festival's cult hit. The Wackness will be released theatrically later this year by Sony Pictures Classics.

Following the screening on May 3, the Centerpiece party will be held in CLIFT's chic Rita and Ava Rooms, which feature dramatic white velvet curtains, etched Venetian mirrors and designer Philippe Starck's spectacular furniture. Cool cocktails and delectable hors d'oeuvres will add up to one hot scene.

Admission for the Centerpiece VIP film and party is $50 for the general public/$45 for San Francisco Film Society members. Admission for the Centerpiece film only is $20 for the general public/$15 for San Francisco Film Society members.

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