(Kirk Douglas outside the Castro theater on Sunday. Credit: Michelle Terris, the San Francisco Chronicle.)
The beautiful thing about so many film festivals in San Francisco, is that cineastes are given the opportunity to catch small specialty flicks that otherwise would not show up at a local theater.
With the closing this week of the Red Vic theater and recent announcement by impresario Gary Meyer that he can no longer operate the two-screen Balboa theater, all but dooming that venue to shutter at the end of the summer, festivals will take on even greater significance for movie lovers.
Last week, the 31st edition of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival began at the Castro theater and their programming will also play over the next two-weeks at the Jewish community center, the Berkeley Rep and the Rafael Film Center.
The absolute highlight of the festival, which I missed I'm so sorry to say, was on Sunday when the legendary actor, producer, writer and humanitarian Kirk Douglas took to the stage of the Castro to receive the Freedom of Expression award. The SF Chronicle was there and filed a glowing piece about Douglas' appearance.
Of the remaining films on the schedule, I am hoping to catch "The Roundup" from France and starring Melanie Laurent, currently appearing in the excellent "Beginners" still in theaters, and "Johanna" from Poland about a gentile who hides a young Jewish girl during the Holocaust.
Click here for much more info on the Jewish film festival, when and where movies are playing, and how to get tickets.