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San Francisco Film Festival opens Bay Area line-up - Part I

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst star in Hossein Amini's thriller, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY
Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst star in Hossein Amini's thriller, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY
Photo courtesy Andrew Linnett and San Francisco Film Society

The 57th San Francisco Film Festival opens on Thursday, April 24, with a full and exciting agenda.

Opening the festival is Hossein Amini’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller, The Two Faces of January, starring Oscar Issac, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. The Centerpiece film is Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola, based on the collection of short stories by American actor and writer, James Franco. The closing night film will be Chris Messina’s drama Alex of Venice, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Messina and Don Johnson. The lineup also features an unprecedented number of films supported by the San Francisco Film Society's Filmmaker360 program.

Award winners include Pixar’s John Lasseter (George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award), Stephen Gaghan (2014 Kanbar Award), David Thomson (Mel Novikoff Award) and Isaac Julien (Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award). British actor Jeremy Irons will receive the the Peter J Owens Award for excellence in acting, to be presented at the Film Society Awards Night on May 1. For more information about Film Society Awards Night call 415-561-5028 or email

The Film Festival runs from April 24 to May 8, at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, New People Cinema and the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. For full details on events, visit

Conductor James Conlon leads the San Francisco Symphony this week, with soloists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Symphony’s Principal Trumpet, Mark Inouye in the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No 1. The concert also features the the Scherzo from the Symphony No 5 by Czech-born composer, Erwin Schulhoff, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6. More detail in this Examiner article Thibaudet plays Shostakovich.

Concert performances take place on April 24 at 2.00 pm, and April 25 and 26 at 8.00 pm. Further information and details of ticketing can be found on the Symphony website.

The Alfredo Rodriguez Trio appears in the Joe Henderson Lab at SFJAZZ this week. Accompanied by Ricky Rodriguez on bass and Henry Cole on drums, Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez - described as possessing “a sublime and soulful virtuosity” - returns to SFJAZZ following his appearance at the three-generation piano summit celebrating the legacy of Thelonius Monk with Barry Harris and Jacky Terrasson. It was at a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006 that Rodriguez was noticed by Quincy Jones, and since then, his career has taken off on an upward trajectory.

The Alfredo Rodriguez Trio is at SFJAZZ from April 24 to 27 - further details on

Also at the Center this week is the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra and Combo - of which the San Jose Mercury News writes: "These kids are amazing…jazz has a future! " Having won first place at the recent Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, the ensemble will perform classic and new arrangements, as well as the original student repertoire inspired by the legacy of Joe Henderson, before going on to record their next double album.

The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra and Combo performs in the Miner Auditorium on April 26. For more information visit

Stanford Live presents ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro, at Bing Concert Hall for one night only, on April 24. One of the first Youtube video sensations in 2006, Shimabukuro is considered to have almost singlehandedly revived the popularity of this instrument, attracting comparisons with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, and he has even performed for the British monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Jake Shimabukuro performs at Stanford on Thursday, April 24, and will perform one number on a special ukulele made by Department of Music chair, Stephen Sano, from leftover wood for the Bing Concert Hall stage. This performance is currently at capacity, but a limited number of tickets might still be released - please visit for more information.

Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts will host a lunchtime conversation with Shimabukuro at Harmony House at noon the same day - an event which is free to the public.

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