The 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival’s Choicest Nuggets

In a development that’s like Christmas for many Bay Area indie and international film buffs, the full schedule for the 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival has just been announced.

Let’s unwrap the most tempting attractions the festival has to offer this year, with the 2015 SFIFF running April 23 to May 7 at various Bay Area theaters and venues.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

This publication will proudly highlight any film with the word “Stoned” in its title, and it doesn’t hurt that Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead is a documentary on the National Lampoon. See how a handful of Harvard dorks started a low-budget humor magazine that conquered Hollywood and American pop culture in a film featuring interviews from Judd Apatow, Bill Murray, and many more.

Friday, April 24, 9:30 p.m. Kabuki Cinemas and Sunday, April 26, 9:30 p.m. Kabuki Cinemas

What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone?

The life and times of rabble-rousing soul chanteuse Nina Simone are explored in the Netflix documentary Whatever Happened, Miss Simone. Underrated as a musician and as a force in the 1960s black power movement, Simone has a legacy that is examined through interviews and newly unearthed live performance footage. Parenthetically, I will add that Whatever Happened, Miss Simone? is one of those “Netflix original movies” that Netflix is releasing simultaneously in theaters and online (June 26), a move that’s just infuriating the theater chains and the film distribution industry.

Friday, April 24, 6 p.m., Castro Theatre


My indie sleeper pick is H., a trippy supernatural suspense thriller that takes the “creepy baby” thing to a whole new level. Mythology buffs in particular will have plenty to discuss on the ride home.

Friday, April 24, 9:45 p.m. Kabuki Cinemas and Sunday, April 26, 1:15 p.m. Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley

The Devil’s Backbone, An Evening with Guillermo del Toro

Sci-fi and fantasy director Guillermo del Toro pops into the festival to receive the Irving M. Levin Directing Award, and fans will be treated to a conversation with the director, a collection of clips from his work, and a full screening of his 2001 cult-hit goth fantasy The Devil’s Backbone.

Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m. Castro Theatre

Shorts 3: Animation

A stoner can never go wrong with a collection of animated shorts! Animated works by Don Hertzfeldt, Kelly Sears, and our old friend Bill Plympton explore the media of CGI, stop-motion and hand-drawn techniques.

Saturday, April 25, 9:30 p.m. Kabuki Cinemas

Isabella Rosselini’s Green Porno Live!

Isabella Rosselini’s Green Porno Live!

Isabella Rosselini’s Green Porno Live!

Isabella Rossilini made a porno! It’s not what you think — it’s more like a David Lynch show on the Discovery Channel, as Rosselini hilariously narrates footage on the mating habits of flowers, insects and fish. Rosselini herself will be in attendance to provide Sir David Attenborough-style narration in outlandish costumes.

Sunday, April 26, 8 p.m. Kabuki Cinemas

The full program and calendar for the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival can be found online at or in print at finer cafes, movie theaters, and medical dispensaries across the Bay Area.