Kicking off a New Year at CFI

We’re off to a great start in 2019 with record box office at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, popular special events, and a whole roster of Academy Award® nominees playing on our screens. So far this year, we’ve showcased a bevy of Oscar® contenders in our For Your Consideration series, as well as a special Oscar Spotlight: Documentaries series. In addition to these programs, we’ve opened the acclaimed Cold War and held over the immensely popular ShopliftersFree Solo and Can You Ever Forgive Me? from 2018. Special events have included a screening of the film The World Before Your Feet with film subject Matt Green in attendance, Dreaming of a Vetter World, presented in partnership with Good Earth Natural Food stores, featuring a post-screening Q&A with director Bonnie Hawthorne, film subject David Vetter and Good Earth CFO Mark Squire, and a screening of the locally shot and produced Harvest Season, featuring Latin-American winemakers Gustavo Brambila and Vanessa Robledo, both based in Napa Valley and Sonoma, who attended the screening along with filmmakers Bernardo Ruiz and Lauren Capps, and poured their wines for over 250 attendees. Recently restored and remixed Paul McCartney and Wings concert film The Bruce McMouse Show delighted audiences, and we remounted a screening of the Alfred Molina-starring play Red, presented live on screen from the London production. CFI Members were treated to a very special screening of the highly-acclaimed Oscar® Foreign language film contender Never Look Away with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck in attendance!

CFI Education has also kicked off the year with a bang, including two school screenings, a Community Screening and a Filmmakers Go To School screening of the film Liyana, a documentary/animated film about an original African tale created by orphaned children in Swaziland, presented by co-director Aaron Kopp. Students and community audiences alike packed all three screenings at the Rafael!

On Sunday, January 27, CFI Education presented Just Eat It, a documentary about the high cost of food waste in America, in partnership with local organizations Children for Change Ross Valley and ExtraFood, followed by a panel discussion about these very important issues. Coming up next month, CFI Education will present another Community Screening, High School 9-1-1 on February 11, and the popular My Place My Story program will take place February 18 – 22, providing a group of Bay Area students with a week-long intensive filmmaking workshop, culminating in the production of an original short film by each participant.

Upcoming Rafael programs in February include Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? with filmmakers Zachary Stauffer and Jason Paladino in attendance on Sunday, February 3; Joni 75: a Birthday Celebration (we’ve added a third screening on Feb. 12); Around India with a Movie Camera on Sunday, February 10; a benefit screening of The Camp Fire, a documentary about the recent devastating fires in Butte County, presented in partnership with Community Heroes and followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Nancy Hamilton and subject Stephan Murray in conversation with journalist Paul Liberatore – proceeds from which will go to residents affected by the fires; a Valentine’s Day screening of the Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger 1945 romantic masterpiece I Know Where I’m Going! screening February 14 and 17; The Royal Opera presents The Queen of Spades, live on screen on February 17; the Rafael honors two greats, Nicholas Roeg and David Bowie with two screenings of The Man Who Fell to Earth on February 21 and 28, and we close out the month with Hollywood’s biggest night, the 91st Academy Awards® presented via live telecast on all three screens at the Rafael for Awards Night on Sunday, February 24!

Finally, submissions are still open for our third DocLands Documentary Film Festival, presented May 2 – 5. Submissions will be accepted through February 18 – so send in your compelling short or feature length documentary today! Info:




Photo credits from top: Harvest Season, Kirke Wrench; Never Look Away, Christopher Markisz; Liyana, Steve Disenhof