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SFFILM Festival lights up the screen

by David Lamble

Chloe Grace Moretz (center) stars in Desiree Akhavan's "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," playing the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival. Photo: Courtesy SFFILM
Chloe Grace Moretz (center) stars in Desiree Akhavan's "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," playing the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival. Photo: Courtesy SFFILM  

The 61st edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) unspools April 4-17 at a host of venues: the Castro Theatre, the Roxie Theater, SFMOMA, the Victoria Theatre, Dolby Cinema, BAMPFA, Children's Creativity Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, SFFILM Filmhouse, YBCA and Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre. Following are some highlights screening in the festival's first week (through 4/11). Our coverage will continue next issue.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post: Director Desiree Akhavan's Sundance award-winner is based on a 1993 book written at the height of the discredited and now often illegal practice of gay conversion therapy. Features an attractive ensemble of fresh faces as the kids sent to a gay conversion therapy camp. (Castro, 4/7)

Elle Fanning stars in John Cameron Mitchell's  

How To Talk to Girls at Parties: Gay writer-director John Cameron Mitchell reboots the coming-of-age drama, based on Neil Gaiman's short story, with a cast headed up by Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman. (Castro, 4/6)

Barry: Bill Hader as an ex-Marine turned hitman whose life takes a weird left turn when he drops into a Tinseltown acting class. (Victoria, 4/5)

Chef Flynn: He first burst into the spotlight at 12, now he's a grand old man of 19. Teen celebrity chef Flynn McGarry launches a popup restaurant. (SFMOMA, 4/9; Creativity, 4/11)

Tully: Jason Reitman directs a screenplay by Diablo Cody that tells the story of Marlo (Charlize Theron), a once-beautiful woman who feels physically done in after childbirth. (Castro, 4/8)

American Animals: Docudrama about a 2004 Kentucky rare-book theft. (Victoria, 4/5, 9)

A Boy, A Girl, A Dream: An African American man and woman travel a cultural party loop the night of Trump's election. (Grand Lake, 4/10)

Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti: Post-Impressionist painter's life-altering trip to French Polynesia in 1891. (Victoria, 4/6; Dolby, 4/8)

Kodachrome: Ed Harris stars in this narrative about three family members traveling to the last Kodachrome processing plant in Kansas. (Victoria, 4/7)

Leave No Trace: Teen girl and dad (Ben Foster) are forced to leave their Oregon state park campsite. (Victoria, 4/8; SFMOMA, 4/10)

The Rider: Native American rodeo rider suffers serious injury in this imaginative docudrama shot on Pine Ridge Reservation. (SFMOMA, 4/5, 7)

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind: Bio-doc on the life and astonishing career of beloved Bay Area comic. Director Marina Zenovich had access to never-before-heard audiotapes that reveal this awesome performer's methods and addictions, and hint at the tragedy of his final days. (Castro, 4/7)

Search: Asian American daughter fails to relate to dad in Aneesh Chaganty's debut feature. (Castro, 4/7)

Three Identical Strangers: Tim Wardle gives us this brilliant bio-doc on the fate of separated-at-birth Jewish boy triplets. (Victoria, 4/7; Creativity, 4/9)

Won't You Be My Neighbor?: Bio-doc portrait of the late PBS kids-TV host Fred Rogers. (Victoria, 4/7; Creativity, 4/9)

Cold Water: Retrospective showing of French director Olivier Assayas' film about the student uprising of 1972. (SFMOMA, 4/9)

Claire's Camera: A tribute to French New Wave genius filmmaker Eric Rohmer, the story revolves around three Koreans at the Cannes Film Festival. (YBCA, 4/7; SFMOMA, 4/9)

The Workshop: Award-winning filmmaker Laurent Cantet follows six French students in a class to create a thriller based on their own lives. (Roxie, 4/5; PFA, 4/7; SFMOMA, 4/8)

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Director Sara Driver examines the brief life and shooting star-like career of the famous NYC street artist through interviews with his surviving friends and lovers. (PFA, 4/6; Dolby, 4/8)

Hal: Bio-doc about the brilliant iconoclastic director Hal Ashby, creator of "Harold and Maude," "The Last Detail" and "Being There." (Creativity, 4/6; Victoria, 4/8)

Ulam: Main Dish: Alexandra Cuerdo offers a mouth-watering tour through the kitchens of several top chefs dedicating to preserving their national cuisine as it plays out in New York and Manila. (Dolby, 4/7; Creativity, 4/8, 10)

I Hate Kids: This oddball comedy features author Nick Pearson (Tom Everett Scott), a man prepared to settle into a hetero relationship when a 13-year-old kid (Julian Feder) shows up to gum up the works. Directed by John Asher, and co-written by Frank Deitz and Todd Traina. (Castro, 4/6)

The Human Element: Matthew Testa's beautifully filmed doc follows American photographer James Balog as he documents the impact of humans on our warming planet. It's his theory to add humans to the original four elements: water, air, fire and earth. (Dolby, 4/7; SFMOMA, 4/8; Roxie, 4/11)

Salyut-7: Russian-produced docudrama depicts an accident aboard a Soviet-era space station (1985) in which a Russian team races to save what they can before the Americans intervene. A spectacular visual treat, should appeal to fans of "Apollo 13." (Castro, 4/8)

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