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The San Francisco Film Society celebrates film culture in all its forms through a wide range of year-round Exhibition, Education and Filmmaker Services programs.

The San Francisco Film Society is now accepting submissions for the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 24–May 8, 2014), recognized throughout the world as an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country’s most beautiful cities. Works in all genres, forms and lengths are considered. The final deadline for short films is Monday December 2, and the final deadline for features is Monday December 9.

HOW TO ENTER  Entry form and information: or

Founded in 1957, SFIFF is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Refreshingly intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the Festival combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, compelling documentaries, new digital media work, live music performances and star-studded gala events.

SFIFF is dedicated to celebrating creativity, inspiration, collaboration and innovation and is deeply rooted in the finest traditions of film appreciation both as an art form and as a meaningful agent for social change. SFIFF 2013 presented 263 screenings of 158 films from 51 countries, and brought more than 200 filmmaker and industry guests to the Festival from more than 20 countries around the globe. Tens of thousands of enthusiastic filmgoers flocked to San Francisco to celebrate the best of international cinema.

The Festival’s awards and prizes recognize the best of international and Bay Area talent by honoring superior innovation in documentary, narrative, animation, experimental and television works.

Golden Gate Awards—Including juried awards for Best Documentary Feature with a $10,000 prize; Best Bay Area Documentary Feature with a $5,000 prize; and awards totaling more than $10,000 in other categories of shorts, youth-produced and family films.

New Directors Prize—A juried cash award of $10,000 to the director of a first narrative feature at the Festival.

FIPRESCI Prize—Awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics. SFIFF is only one of three festivals in the U.S. selected to present this prestigious award.

Audience Awards—For Best Narrative and Best Documentary Features

SFIFF is an Academy Award®–qualifying festival for all three short film categories: documentary, live action and animated. New in 2014, the festival is also a qualifying festival for the 7th annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction filmmaking, which were founded in 2007 to honor exemplary craft in documentaries.



 Screenwriter/Director Will Receive Honor at Film Society Awards Night and

an Onstage Tribute Featuring Dog Day Afternoon


San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Film Society announced today that Frank Pierson will be the recipient of the Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting at the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21–May 5). The Kanbar Award, which acknowledges the crucial importance of a script in the production of an exceptional film, will be presented to Pierson at Film Society Awards Night, Thursday, April 28 at Bimbo’s 365 Club.


The Award is named in honor of Maurice Kanbar, a longtime member of the board of directors of the Film Society, film commissioner and philanthropist with a particular
interest in supporting independent filmmakers. Kanbar is the creator of New York’s first multiplex theater and, most recently, Blue Angel Vodka.


The Film Society’s highly regarded Youth Education program will be the beneficiary of the glamorous fundraiser honoring Pierson. The soon-to-be-announced recipients
of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting and the Founder’s Directing Award will also be honored at the star-studded event. Melanie and Lawrence Blum are chairs of this year’s Film Society Awards Night, and Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein are the honorary chairs.


Pierson will also be honored at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas at 12:30 pm, Saturday, April 30.
An onstage interview about his 50 years in the business will be followed by a screening of Dog Day Afternoon, a gripping, nuanced film directed by Sidney Lumet, about a heist gone wrong, that garnered an Academy Award for Pierson.


He will
conduct a master class, Frank Pierson: A Writer’s Life, with an intimate discussion about the craft of screenwriting on Friday, April 29, 5:00 pm at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.


“The 2011 Kanbar Award acknowledges the inestimable contribution of the man who wrote such classic lines as, ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate,’” says Rachel Rosen, SFFS director of programming. “We’re pleased to honor Frank Pierson, who has crafted screenplays that were the genesis of great films.”


A former Time magazine correspondent, Pierson began his screen career as a story editor, and later producer/director, on the popular CBS TV series Have Gun Will Travel in the early 1960s. He also wrote for Studio One, Alcoa Goodyear Theater, Route 66 and Naked City, popular series during the so-called Golden Age of Television.


Pierson’s first feature screenplay, as cowriter, Cat Ballou (1965), earned him an Oscar nomination, and he won an Oscar for his finely observed solo script for Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Other collaborations include the classic individual-against-the-unjust-prison-system drama, Cool Hand Luke (1967), which also netted him an Oscar nomination, as well as adaptations of Scott Turow’s bestseller Presumed Innocent (1990) and Bobbie Ann Mason’s novel In Country (1989).


Pierson made his feature directorial debut with The Looking Glass War (1970) and subsequently helmed the 1976 Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson remake of A Star Is Born as well as King of the Gypsies (1978), all of which he also scripted.


In the ’90s, Pierson returned to his roots on the small screen, directing a series of well-reviewed, award-winning films ranging from 1992’s Citizen Cohn and 1995’s Truman, both for HBO, as well the First Amendment drama Dirty Pictures (Showtime, 2000). In 2001, he earned acclaim for Conspiracy, the highly dramatic reenactment of the secret Wannsee Conference that led to the Nazi plan for the extermination of all Jews in Europe. Conspiracy won him the Directors’ Guild award for best direction of a television movie, an Emmy nomination, a Peabody award and a BAFTA. He has also served as a
consulting producer on Mad Men, an award–winning series about the advertising world in New York in the 1960s, and The Good Wife.


Pierson is a past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild of America and is deeply involved in issues of copyright and the
moral rights of artists as well as their economic welfare. He is artistic director of the American Film Institute and has been part of the Sundance Institute film laboratory.


Previous recipients of the Kanbar Award are James Schamus (2010), James Toback (2009), Robert Towne (2008), Peter Morgan (2007), Jean-Claude Carrière (2006) and Paul
Haggis (2005).


For tickets and information for Film Society Awards Night only call 415-561-5049.

Admission to the tribute to Frank Pierson at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Saturday, April 30 or the master class Frank Pierson: A
Writer’s Life on Friday, April 29
is $15 for San Francisco Film Society members and $20 for the general public. For tickets and information visit Box office opens March 16 for members and March 30 for the general public.


The screening of Dog Day Afternoon is presented with support from the San Francisco Chronicle and


For interviews contact

For photos and press materials visit

Pierson_Frank_02.jpg43.69 KB


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About SanFranciscoFilmSociety

Graham Leggat
(San Francisco Film Society)

The San Francisco Film Society encourages the progressive evolution of film culture and individual lives by celebrating the transformative power of the moving image in all its forms. Through a combination of intelligent programming and exemplary service, it creates singularly vital experiences for audiences of all kinds. 
The presenter of the longest-running film festival in the Americas, the Film Society is a world-class institution dedicated to elevating the artistic quality and social impact of the medium. It provides invaluable support to deserving filmmakers, touches and inspires film lovers of all ages, and acts as a leading light worldwide for the presentation of peerless programs and events.

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