Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country's most beautiful city, featuring nearly 200 films and live events with more than 200 filmmakers and industry guests in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence.
Highly anticipated by its loyal and passionate audiences, championed by civic and community leaders, admired and adored by filmmakers and closely watched by industry professionals, SFIFF54 is one of the most important events in the Bay Area's cultural calendar and an important stop on the international festival circuit.
The International is deeply rooted in the strongest and finest traditions of appreciation of film both as an art form and as a meaningful agent for social change. It is a cultural treasure for Bay Area audiences, who embrace new ideas, compassionate humanity and world citizenship. SFIFF features a bonanza of narrative feature films, live action and animated shorts, television and theatrical documentaries, experimental work and a variety of new digital media, as well as a smart lineup of industry panels and seminars, awards events, onstage tributes, retrospectives and the highly acclaimed Schools at the Festival program, which brings more than 3,000 elementary, middle and high school students and their teachers into the festivities. More than 75,000 filmgoers attended the 2010 Festival, which played at venues throughout an enthusiastically responsive Bay Area. Remarkably intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the International combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, hard-hitting documentaries, digital media work and star-studded gala events.
San Francisco Film Society, presenter of the Festival, is a nonprofit arts and education organization that 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 is 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.
The Film Society brings together international and Bay Area filmgoers and filmmakers through engaged and responsive audience interaction, creating a positive impact on the city's community and cultural life. Its long reputation and continuing success ensure San Francisco's importance in the global film industry. It serves as a beacon of film expertise and seeks to honor the highest achievements of new and seasoned filmmakers from around the world. With the fundamental belief that film is the most powerful and influential medium of our time, the Film Society seeks to share a vision of film as a transformative art and encourage engaged and enjoyable participation in all aspects of film culture by diverse audiences. The scope of its work is virtually unmatched nationwide. It annually presents more than 300 films and reaches 15,000 students through its education program, while disbursing millions of dollars to deserving filmmakers.
“Few festivals are more suited to their city than the International. It’s clearly a festival programmed by those who love film for people who love film.”
— Alex Romanelli, editor, Variety 2008
Read about 54 years of Festival history.