Spirit Awards Win for CFI, Awards Night at the Rafael and Upcoming Special Events!

This past Awards Weekend proved to be a great one for the California Film Institute! On Saturday, March 3, Executive Director/Founder Mark Fishkin and CFI Releasing’s Jonathan Marlow traveled to Santa Monica, CA to join Life and Nothing More director Antonio Méndez Esparza, producer Pedro Hernández Santos and lead actress Regina Williams at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, where the CFI Releasing title was up for two awards: Best Female Lead for Williams and the John Cassavetes Award for films with a budget under $500,000. Up against nominees A Ghost Story, The Transfiguration, Dayveon and Most Beautiful Island, Life and Nothing More won the coveted award, much to the joy and excitement of the filmmakers and CFI team. Life and Nothing More will be released theatrically by CFI Releasing in the US in late Spring 2018.

Following up this fantastic win, the Smith Rafael Film Center held its annual Awards Night event on Sunday, March 4, inviting the Marin community to celebrate the 90th Academy Awards ® by watching the live Oscar® telecast throughout the theater. Each year, the Rafael rolls out the red carpet and transforms into Oscar® central, with guests participating in photo ops, sipping complimentary champagne and munching popcorn, enjoying gourmet boxed dinners from Delicious Catering, sumptuous wine from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, tasty beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company and delectable treats from Fiorello’s Artisanal Gelato, competing in trivia, a raffle and predict-the-winner ballots, and, of course, taking in the main event broadcast on all three screens! This year’s attendance soared to over 400 guests, all enjoying Hollywood’s biggest night with friends and fellow movie buffs in a casual and fun setting.

Wrapping up the excitement of the past weekend, CFI is busy looking forward to some great special events coming up at the Rafael later in the month. On Sunday, March 18th, the Rafael will feature a screening of The Royal Opera House production of Giacomo Puccini’s tempestuous opera Tosca, a musical thriller set during the dangerous political turbulence of Rome in 1800. Chief of Police Scarpia ruthlessly pursues enemies of the state, his character depicted in dark, demonic music that contrasts vividly with the expansive melodies of the idealistic lovers Tosca and Cavaradossi. Don’t miss world-class performing arts brought exclusively to the Rafael screen!

That same day, the Rafael will host a screening of locally filmed and produced 4 Wheel Bob, an inspiring story of perseverance, determination and getting the most out of one’s life, told through the amazing journey of Oakland wheelchair hiker Bob Coomber. Filmmaker Tal Skloot and subject Bob Coomber will be in attendance for the screening and will participate in an onstage conversation following the film.

On Saturday, March 24th, the Rafael will welcome local wineries Joseph Swan Vineyards, Porter Creek Winery and Moshin Vineyards for a wine tasting preceding Cédric Klapisch’s ode to winemaking Back To Burgundy. All three owner/winemakers will participate in a panel discussion following the film, revealing expert, first-hand knowledge of all aspects of wine production.

Sunday, March 25th, the Rafael will present onscreen The Royal Ballet production of The Winter’s Tale. Shakespeare’s timeless tale of love and loss supplants dance with language, relaying the emotive story through exquisite movement, performed by the most talented artists in the world.

Rounding out the month, the Rafael participates in the National Evening of Science On Screen® with the presentation of comedian Whitney Cummings’ debut feature film The Female Brain, adapted from the non-fiction book by local author Louann Brizendine, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where she founded the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic. Dr. Brizendine will be in attendance for the screening and will participate in an onstage conversation after the film about her book and the comic adaptation of her work. Science On Screen® is a series pairing film screenings with lively scientific discussions – an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This event also highlights CFI’s Mind The Gap initiative, which celebrates the work of women in film and technology.

Looking ahead, CFI is currently preparing for CFI Education’s 10th Annual Environmental Youth Forum, teaching environmental awareness and activism to a diverse youth population, May 2-4, 2018 and the 2nd annual DocLands Documentary Film Festival, May 3-6, 2018. DocLands Early Bird Ticket Packages are on sale now and look for the full program to be announced soon. Stay tuned here, on social media, sign up for our e-newsletters or visit doclands.com for more information.

Immediately following DocLands, CFI will launch the sixth edition of Rafael Film Club, curated this year by CFI Releasing’s Jonathan Marlow. Subscriptions are on sale now for the series focusing on The Art of Filmmaking: International Films of the mid-1950s to mid-1960s. Screenings are hosted at the Rafael on Thursdays at 1:00pm from May 10 – June 7, with noted individuals discussing celebrated films through the prism of various disciplines: editing, adaptation, cinematography, etc. All screenings will be followed by a conversation between the special guests and series programmer Marlow, as well as a private reception with complimentary food and drink. Check out all of the films and purchase your subscription today at cafilm.org/film-club.

It is a truly exciting time to be a part of all the programs and experiences the California Film Institute has to offer! Want the best access? Check out CFI Membership benefits at cafilm.org/membership.


Awards Night photo credit Allison Levenson Photography