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April 13, 2016

How I See San Francisco: SFIFF Director Rachel Rosen

Rachel Rosen, director of programming for the San Francisco Film Society shines a spotlight on what makes San Francisco a great place for film buffs.

What do you love most about San Francisco?
That’s such a hard question. I would say overall that my favorite aspect is just the beauty of the city and its surrounding areas and the relative accessibility of those things in relation to each other. I can get from my home in East Bay to West Marin in about an hour — I can go from a bustling urban environment to some of the most beautiful rural landscape in the world 

How do you think your job influences your perspective on the city?
The perspective is that of a movie lover which influences my job, which also influences my perspective. I appreciate San Francisco as a really rich environment for people who love going to the movies in terms of the variety of rich film going experiences.

What are some of those rich experiences that people could have in San Francisco?
San Francisco has two really beautiful historic theaters that you can go to, the Castro in San Francisco and the Paramount in Oakland. Seeing movies in those theaters is an event in itself. I don’t know many theaters that have live organists. … We have a lot of film festivals. Aside from the International, which is the biggest and broadest, there are some wonderful festivals: the Silent Film Festival, Noir City: The Film Noir Festival, CAAMFest, Frameline, the gay and lesbian film festival, the Jewish Film Festival; any time you visit you can have a film festival experience where you see films you might not otherwise see like the Silent Film Festival with live music. Then there are smaller really interesting screening venues, everything from the really creatively programmed offerings at the Exploratorium to Artists Televised Access, which is a storefront, but if you want to see videos or films, that’s a great Mission experience to have. And in the summer, there is a whole world of outdoor experiences, which is my favorite way to watch films.

Where do you like to go to watch films?
The Castro is one of my favorite places to watch films. It’s a beautiful theater and I enjoy being in there. The historic beauty of the theater plus the organ and the audience just makes any film an experience.

When you’re not watching movies, what are your favorite places to hang out around town?
Like any other San Franciscan, if I’m not going to a movie I’m eating something. The other most creative thing is food consumption and creation. I love going to my local farmers market and the Ferry Building. I love Crissy Field right by my office or Fort Point.


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