Schools at the Festival

The Schools at the Festival program introduces students ages 6 to 18 to international film and the art of filmmaking while promoting media literacy, deepening insights into other cultures, enhancing foreign language aptitude, developing critical thinking skills, and inspiring a lifelong appreciation of cinema.

Throughout the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, classes from across the Bay Area will attend weekday matinees of curated Festival film programs at no cost to students or educators. Dozens of filmmaker guests from around the world will also visit local classrooms to discuss their films with students. This program also includes the annual Nellie Wong Magic of Movies Essay Contest, in which students of all grade levels write about Festival films and compete for cash prizes.


Bill Nye: Science Guy
Tuesday, April 11, 12:30 pm at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado (USA, 2016, 90 min)

The effortlessly charming, bow-tie sporting scientist Bill Nye is beloved by all generations who grew up watching his show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, but his work didn't stop once the show went off the air. In his current role as CEO of The Planetary Society, Nye is working to advance founder Carl Sagan's passion project of solar sails. What free time he has he spends debating creationists and climate change deniers. In Bill Nye: Science Guy, we travel along with Nye as he examines ice cores and rapidly retreating glaciers, tours "troubling" biblical theme parks, and visits a convention of science teachers, where he can barely take two steps without a request for a selfie. Filmmakers (and fans) David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg capture candid moments with a man who admits that fame has likely changed him, but who unquestionably strives, on a daily basis, to make the world a better place through science advocacy and education. Science rules!

Subjects: Environmental Science, Ethics/Religion, Journalism, Math, Political Science, Science, World Affairs
Recommended Grades: 7-12


Born in China
Monday, April 10, 10:00 am at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Lu Chuan (USA/China, 2016, 76 min)

The Disney name has long been associated with finely crafted nature documentaries, beginning in 1948 with Walt Disney's pioneering early experiments in the Academy Award-winning True Life Adventure films. By utilizing the latest advancements in technology, Disney filmmakers captured scenes of nature never seen before by audiences. The films also creatively incorporated a fictional story approach to its animal subjects that perfectly balanced scientific information and playfulness to engage even the youngest of viewers. The Disneynature series has continued to inspire passion for conservation by bringing groundbreaking wildlife documentaries to the screen, releasing a new film every Earth Day since 2008. Born in China marks a new, ambitious collaboration for the series, a partnership with the Chinese government to create a celebration of the country's flora and fauna. Director Lu Chuan and a team of five renowned nature cinematographers venture to parts of China rarely seen on screen. Stunning locales include the Zhalong wetlands, the Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve, and the Qinghai Plateau, the highest mountain plateau on earth. Led by narrator John Krasinski (The Office), we follow the intimate stories of three endangered animals: Dawa, a snow leopard mother struggling to take care of her young cubs; a juvenile snub-nosed monkey named TaoTao whose place in the family dynamics gets rudely disrupted by the arrival of a baby sister; and YaYa, an overprotective giant panda mother raising her newborn daughter MeiMei.

Subjects: Asian Studies, Elementary School, Environmental Science, Science
Recommended Grades: 1-6


Brimstone & Glory
Thursday, April 13, 12:30 pm at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Viktor Jakovieski (USA, 2017, 64 min)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Burning Man has nothing on Tultepec's charging toritos and exploding castillos. Mexico's weeklong National Pyrotechnic Festival may sound like a relatively tame event, but it is in fact sheer unbridled madness. Local craftspeople build and climb rickety multistory, carnivalesque "castles" that light up, spin, explode, and threaten to fall at any moment. Meanwhile, another day's "running of the bulls" has crowds dodging fireworks that shoot from the papier-mâché bulls' mouths and backsides. Scars that locals take away are earned with pleasure, it is said, though this dynamic documentary keeps explanation to a minimum while maximizing the experience and celebration of Mexican culture through GoPro camera POVs and gorgeous abstractions of colorful explosions. Director Viktor Jakovleski captures and Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin brilliantly scores a playful dance with death for those of us who are happy to witness it from a safe distance.

Subjects: Arts/Media, Journalism, Latin American Studies, Music, Social Studies, Spanish
Recommended Grades: 7-12
Program Note: Brief profanity


Dolores
Tuesday, April 11, 10:00 am at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Peter Bratt (USA, 2017, 98 min)
In English and Spanish with English subtitles

Dolores Huerta wanted to be a dancer. Instead, as Angela Davis marvels in Peter Bratt's essential historical documentary, she became "a dancer on the stage of justice." A talented and tireless community organizer, Huerta discovered her purpose among the perennially exploited Latinx laboring for Northern California agribusinesses. She founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez in 1962 and directed the decisive national boycott of Delano grapes that impelled the growers to sign labor contracts. Despite her remarkable record of success, however, she encountered resistance as the lone woman on the UFW board. Still, nothing could slow Huerta's war on poverty, pesticides, injustice, and racism-until a San Francisco cop badly injured her during a Union Square protest of then Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988. Bratt deploys remarkable and little-seen archival footage along with highly emotional interviews with many of Huerta's 11 children. Their sacrifices, along with hers, are shown as heartbreaking but necessary elements of this major, often overlooked, chapter in California history.

Subjects: Ethics/Religion, History, Journalism, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Social Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Women's Studies, World/Current Affairs
Recommended Grades: 7-12
Program Note: Brief profanity, brief violence in news footage


From Fact to Fiction **Schools at the Festival Exclusive Screening**
Wednesday, April 12, 10:00 am at Castro Theatre
TRT 78 min

Collected from around the world, this compilation of short films explores a variety of storytelling techniques, from an observational documentary about the presidential inauguration and it's resulting protests to an animated tale about the strangest and possibly sweetest summer camp ever. This collection gives students the perfect smorgasbord of all the SFFILM Festival has to offer.

Birth of a Nation
Cohen takes his observational camera style to Donald Trump's presidential inauguration and to the next day's protests. (Jem Cohen, USA, 2016, 10 min)

Boombox Collection: Zion I
An intimate portrait peering into the minds of a pioneering "working class" Hip Hop artist, Bay Area MC Zumbi, who has been steadfast in his choice not to rap about "money and power" and instead shares his knowledge and wisdom at the cost of mainstream acceptance. (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA 2016, 10 min)

Happy Birthday Mario Woods
A bereaved mother in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood tends the grave of her son and remembers his life. (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA, 2017, 6 min)

Real Artists
Sophia, an ambitious and idealistic animator, interviews for a dream job at a top film studio and discovers the hidden secrets of success. (Cameo Wood, USA 2017, 12 min)

Scrap Dolls
On the east side of Detroit, an 11-year-old boy grieves over the recent loss of his best friend. A chance encounter with a short-tempered folk artist, who makes sculptures out of abandoned objects, provides him with the inspiration to come up with a creative way to honor the memory of his pal. (Aude Cuenod, USA, 2016, 14 min)

Summer Camp Island At this summer camp, pajamas can talk, marshmallows can sing, and there are no parents, but all Oscar wants is to spend a normal night with Hedgehog, his friend and summertime crush. (Julia Pott, USA, 2016, 9 min)

Valley of a Thousand Hills Deep in the rural South African village of Isithumba, a group of Zulu boys growing up with a vastly different outlook on life from their elders, have been learning to skateboard through the Indogo Skate Camp enrichment program. (Jess Colquhoun, South Africa/United Kingdom, 2016, 11 min)

Victor + Isolina He said, she said. Different sides of the same story-of why Victor and Isolina separated after 50 years together-are argued between the divided screen. (Willian D. Caballero, USA, 2016, 6 min)

Subjects: African American Studies, African Studies, Arts/Media, English, History, Journalism, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Science, Social Studies, World/Current Affairs
Recommended Grades: 7-12
Program Note: Mild profanity


Hidden Figures **Schools at the Festival Exclusive Screening**
Wednesday, April 19, 10:00 am at Castro Theatre
Directed by Theodore Melfi (USA, 2016, 127 min)

Adapted for the screen from Margot Lee Shetterly's best selling book, this Academy Award nominated film is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)-brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

Subjects: African American Studies, Drama, Elementary School, English, History, Math, Science, Social Studies, Women's Studies
Recommended Grades: 4-12
Program Note: Brief profanity


Serenade for Haiti
Wednesday, April 12, 10:00am at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Owsley Brown (USA, 2016, 72 min)
In French and Haitian Creole with English subtitles

"Music is our refuge," says a student at the Sainte Trinité Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. "With music... we feel we are in another world, far from troubles." Recognizing those troubles but celebrating the refuge, this documentary is a testimony to the role that art can play in creating community and sustaining hope under the most difficult circumstances. Shot in Port-au-Prince over a seven-year period both before and after the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and reduced much of the city to rubble, Serenade for Haiti finds a sanctuary of hope at Sainte Trinité, which has been training young people in classical European and Haitian musical traditions since the 1950s. Replete with vivid images and joyous sounds, the film focuses on the students-most of them poor, some orphaned by political violence-and their teachers, many former students themselves. All speak eloquently about how the discipline of music has helped them discover their own voices and value in the world, but nothing speaks more forcefully than the glorious music itself. After the quake, with the school's stately white buildings in ruins, lessons and practice continue outdoors, maintaining a rhythm of resilience. In one teacher's words, "The country is destroyed. All the buildings are destroyed. Music must go on. Life goes on."

Subjects: French, History, Journalism, Music, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Science, World Affairs
Recommended Grades: 6-12
Program Note: Brief images of post earthquake destruction that are a little intense


Shorts 5: Family Films **Three Showtimes**
Friday, April 14, 10:00 am at Castro Theatre
Monday, April 17, 10:00 am at Castro Theatre
Tuesday, April 18, 10:00 am at Castro Theatre
TRT 65 min

The smallest members of your family, the young at heart, and everyone in between will find something to love in this exciting lineup of films. This eclectic collection has the power to connect us with storytellers in far-off destinations, from China and South Africa to our own backyard. Works from emerging filmmakers are placed alongside those by veteran artists, including Oscar-winner Patrick Osborne, Festival alum Julia Pott, and Pixar Animation Studios, here presenting its latest work.

Father and Daughter
Not many children who dream of a career in sports go on to find success. The rare few who do commit to a life of sacrifice and devotion. In this beautifully hand-drawn tale, a young girl dedicates her life to reach the top in the competitive world of gymnastics. Throughout all the trials and tribulations, her adoring father is always there by her side. (Xie Chenglin, China, 2016, 5 min)

The Inspector and the Umbrella
Inspector Frigg is ready to tackle another day in the big city. With rain in the forecast, an umbrella will certainly be a required accessory. Unfortunately, no one informed the umbrella. (Maël Gourmelen, France, 2016, 2 min)

Lou
The latest gem from Pixar tells the story of an overbearing young schoolboy who constantly pesters his classmates during recess. A hidden adversary to the playground nuisance lies patiently waiting in the bottom of the lost-and-found box, formulating a plan. (Dave Mullins, USA, 2016, 7 min)

Pearl
Recently nominated for an Academy Award, this musical road movie follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country, growing up, and chasing their dreams, all from their home inside the family car, a beat up hatchback. (Patrick Osborne, USA, 2016, 6 min)

Perched
A reclusive old man lives a life of seclusion inside his submarine balanced precariously atop a mountain. A visit from an unwelcomed feathered visitor sends his carefully managed existence into a tailspin, allowing him to see things from a whole new perspective. (Liam Harris, United Kingdom, 2016, 11 min)

Scrap Dolls
On the east side of Detroit, an 11-year-old boy grieves over the recent loss of his best friend. A chance encounter with a short-tempered folk artist, who makes sculptures out of abandoned objects, provides him with the inspiration to come up with a creative way to honor the memory of his pal. (Aude Cuenod, USA, 2016, 14 min)

Summer Camp Island
At this summer camp, pajamas can talk, marshmallows can sing, and there are no parents, but all Oscar wants is to spend a normal night with Hedgehog, his friend and summertime crush. (Julia Pott, USA, 2016, 9 min)

Valley of a Thousand Hills
Deep in the rural South African village of Isithumba, a group of Zulu boys growing up with a vastly different outlook on life from their elders, have been learning to skateboard through the Indogo Skate Camp enrichment program. (Jess Colquhoun, South Africa/United Kingdom, 2016, 11 min)

Subjects: African American Studies, African Studies,Arts/Media, Elementary School, English, Music, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Studies
Recommended Grades: K-6


Shorts 6: Youth Works
Wednesday, April 12, 12:45 pm at Castro Theatre
TRT 85 min

The quality of work produced by these young artists is sure to dazzle audiences, from their films' technical prowess to the maturity of their storytelling. This collection of short films is an inspired and inspiring look at the world as interpreted by film's next generation. Come see their unique takes on love, identity, politics, and more. We guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face. The future of cinema is in very capable hands.

After Life
A young woman is thrust into a life she never asked for by a stranger desperate for companionship. Navigating this new reality, she struggles to survive her first night in this strange world. (Sebastian Kleppe, USA, 2016, 6 min)

Birdman
Stop-motion animation brings to life the story of an inventor who dreams of soaring like a bird, with homemade wings created in seclusion at a remote cliffside cottage. Failed attempts do little to discourage him in his pursuit of flight. Will success ever be within reach? (Yixuan Luo, Yixing Li, USA, 2016, 5 min)

Brainwash
The daily grind of life literally spins round and round for a group of professionals heading off to work for their soul-crushing 9-5 day. (Hannah Gautrey, UK, 2016, 8 min)

Brown Penny
A young man battles figments of his imagination to determine if love is worthwhile, with dreamlike imagery and narration originating from the lyrical words of William Butler Yeats. (John Dai, USA, 2016, 5 min)

Cycle
A teen aging out of the foster-care system, scrambling to determine his future, is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of his biological father. (Caleb Wild, USA 2016, 10 min)

First Breath
Emmy, an 18-year-old circus artist, suddenly regains consciousness after a year-long coma. Her loving younger sister longs to help her regain both her physical abilities and memories of their forgotten past together. In French with English subtitles. (Nathan Ambrosioni, France, 2016, 15 min)

The Missing Part of Me
A young Bay Area filmmaker feeling disconnected from her heritage, turns the camera on herself and discovers a sense of belonging while visiting distant relatives in Nicaragua. (Elizabeth Hewlett, USA/Nicaragua, 2016, 8 min)

N.O.VI.S.
This melancholic piece of sci-fi storytelling blends the line between dreams and reality when a brokenhearted teenager invents a device (N.O.VI.S.) that reunites him with the long-lost love of his past. (Arthur Rodger 'Harley' Maranan, Philippines, 2017, 23 min)

Rapid Transit
How has Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) changed since it went into operation in 1972? Using archival footage of the earliest commuter experience on the public mass transit system combined with footage of current riders, this observational documentary highlights some of the dramatic differences. (Aaron Stade, Adam Geiser, USA, 2016, 5 min)

Subjects: Arts/Media, Asian Studies, Drama, English, French, Health, Journalism, Latin American Studies, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Science, Social Studies, Women's Studies
Recommended Grades: 6-12
Program Note: Brief profanity


STEP
Monday, April 10, 12:30 pm at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Amanda Lipitz (USA, 2016, 83 min

Stepping—a dance style of clapping, stomping and using the body to make noise for a beat—is high-energy and precise, but the Lethal Ladies step team from The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women has more focus on than a cherished trophy. With the school's mandate to send every student to college and the statewide Step contest approaching, this electric documentary follows three young women through a year of hardships at home and school, while celebrating their tenacity and drive to transcend their circumstances.

Subjects: African American Studies, Dance, Health, Journalism, Music, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Studies, Women's Studies
Recommended Grades: 7-12
Program Note: Brief profanity


Swagger **Schools at the Festival Exclusive Screening**
Friday, April 7, 10:00 am at Roxie Theater
Directed by Olivier Babint (France, 2016, 84 min)
In French with English subtitles

A beautifully shot, deftly edited documentary about life in the projects of the tough Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, as seen through the eyes of eleven middle school students, most of whom are first generation French citizens. Speaking directly to the camera as if it were a long-trusted confidante, these extraordinary young people talk about love, being French, life in the projects, and their visions of the future. Swagger seduces not only by the maturity, generosity, and frankness of its memorable subjects, but by the filmmaker's efforts to lift it out of the quotidian by including charming flights of fancy that illustrate the children's unspoken dreams. Shot in bold colors, with breathtaking aerial photography and a score by Jean-Benoît Dunckel, one half of legendary French electronic duo Air, Swagger is much more than another documentary about children's resilience in challenging circumstances. But perhaps the film's greatest accomplishment is to leave the viewer feeling they have made eleven new friends in a place they had never dreamed of visiting.

Subjects: African Studies, Arts/Media, Ethics/Religion, French, Journalism, Peer/Youth Issues, Social Studies. World/Current Affairs
Recommended Grades: 6-12
Program Note: Brief profanity


The Art & Science of Lucasfilm: Rogue One *Schools at the Festival Exclusive Presentation*
Wednesday, April 19, 12:00 pm at Letterman Digital Arts Center at Lucasfilm
TRT 120 min

This special Schools at the Festival edition of our long running collaborative educational series will highlight the work of the Academy Award nominated film Rogue One. Experienced professionals from Lucasfilm will share their knowledge in a behind-the-scenes, interactive multimedia presentation that demonstrates the intersection of art and science in the entertainment industry, all while making connections to current STEAM curriculum topics. Presentation does not include screening of the film.

Subjects: Arts/Media, Career Path Training, Math, Peer/Youth Issues, Science
Recommended Grades: 6-12


The Force
Thursday, April 13, 10:00 am at Alamo Drafthouse
Directed by Pete Nicks (USA, 2016, 93 min)

The Oakland Police Department, an agency burdened by a long-standing legacy of problems, comes into sharp relief in this powerful, immersive documentary. For this second chapter of his award-winning documentary trilogy focused on the East Bay city, award-winning filmmaker Peter Nicks gained incredible access to the OPD over a two-year period from 2014 to 2016. Nicks vividly captures a particularly turbulent time, first as protests erupt on Oakland's streets, fueled by national police abuse reports, and then as a shocking 2016 scandal involving officers and an underage sex worker engulfs the department. In addition to these headline-making developments, "The Force" covers the day-to-day realities of becoming and being a cop, dropping in on police academy recruits as they train and discuss how they would react in the face of a suspect behaving erratically and coming at them, possibly with a weapon, and accompanying officers on volatile, potentially dangerous calls. The Force also spotlights activists as they seek and demand action and change at both community meetings and protests. As with The Waiting Room (Festival 2012), his potent look at the overburdened Highland Hospital ER department, Nicks takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to his topic. Intended as a catalyst for conversation and change, Nicks' empathetic and observational style avoids easy generalizations and upends expectations, resulting in a rich, thought provoking real-time conversation about social justice and the mutual responsibilities of police officers and those they serve and protect.

Subjects: African American Studies, Ethics/Religion, History, Journalism, Peer/Youth Issues, Political Science, World/Current Affairs
Recommended Grades: 9-12
Program Note: Profanity, scenes of brief violence taken from news footage and body cams

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