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"Cruz" directed by Teresa Camou Guerrero
“Cruz” directed by Teresa Camou Guerrero (Courtesy of SFFILM)

Three new feature films have been added to the lineup of the 2021 San Francisco International Film Festival (April 9-18) along with free talks, a special tribute to Vanessa Kirby, a live drag show, and a unique screening accompanied by live performance from Grammy-winning musician Fantastic Negrito.

Added to the popular Big Nights section of the Festival, the Music + Film event Fantastic Negrito: Live Score + Lost Landscapes of Oakland is a one-time only event taking place April 15 at Fort Mason Flix drive-in. An all-new version of Lost Landscapes of Oakland, updated by co-creator alex cruse, will be screened, showcasing rare and surprising images of the East Bay and telling the history of the city that is too-often forgotten or pushed aside. This tour of rediscovered local wonders will be accompanied by the live performance of an all-new score by roots-music revolutionary and Oakland native Fantastic Negrito.

Also in Big Nights, the previously announced Centerpiece film, Bo McGuire’s Socks on Fire, will include a drag show preceding its drive-in screening on April 10. This show will be headlined by Rock M. Sakura, the fan-favorite performer from RuPaul’s Drag Race and reigning Miss J-Pop SF, and feature the Oakland-based genre and gender-fluid performer Freddie.

In addition to these live events, two feature films have been added to the Festival lineup. Making its world premiere, the documentary Cruz, directed by Teresa Camou Guerrero, focuses on the indigenous Rarámuri people whose way of life is threatened by Mexico’s drug cartels.

The Festival will also host a special sneak preview screening of ;Language Lessons at Fort Mason Flix drive-in on April 11. In this feature directorial debut from actor Natalie Morales, awkward misunderstandings lead to poignant disclosures as a well-off Oakland resident (Mark Duplass) attempts to learn Spanish at the behest of his husband.

Also added to the Festival lineup were a series of talks and tributes with acclaimed artists. Each talk will focus on different aspects of the film industry and all will be free for the public through

Vanessa Kirby will be presented with a tribute in recognition of her varied performances and expansive career. She will receive the SFFILM Special Impact Award, which honors individuals with an impressive body of work who bring a fresh vision, voice, or performance to cinema.

Other talks being presented during the Festival will cover topics including Art as Activism: Tackling Racism through Storytelling, Cine Mexicano Filmmakers on Rebellion and Innovation, and Identity and Craft featuring a discussion between Natalie Morales and Mark Duplass. The full lineup of talks can be found below.


Fantastic Negrito: Live Score + Lost Landscapes of Oakland, alex cruse, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
In a one-time only event, rare and rediscovered images of the East Bay are enlivened by a unique score, performed live by roots musician Fantastic Negrito.

Cruz, Teresa Camou Guerrero, Mexico – WORLD PREMIERE
Violence from Mexico’s drug cartels threatens the serene, pastoral lives – steeped in ancient traditions – of the indigenous Rarámuri people in this elegant and evocative documentary. Critics Jury Award Eligible

Language Lessons, Natalie Morales, USA
Awkward misunderstandings share space with poignant disclosures when a well-off Oakland man receives online Spanish lessons as a gift from his husband. Special Sneak Peek, Drive-in Only

Talks and Tributes

Tribute to Vanessa Kirby, April 17, 4pm PT
SFFILM’s Impact Award acknowledges individuals with an impressive body of work who bring a fresh vision, voice, or performance to cinema. This designation honors their extensive contributions, artistic innovation, and fearless dedication to the craft of cinema. SFFILM will pay tribute to this stellar actor and her fabulous career and fete her with our Impact Award.

Art as Activism: Tackling Racism through Storytelling, April 10, 4pm PT
Race and identity have long shaped the process of culture creation. As violence once again reminds us of the realities of racism in this country, we talk to Bay Area artists on how their approach to tackling issues of racism in their work have evolved over time. From emerging voices to veteran storytellers, we discuss the different ways that activism has manifested in and influenced their work and their identity, as well as how their voices shape activism in their respective communities. Join us for an open conversation about navigating the deeply personal, social, and political realm of tackling racism through storytelling.

Identity and Craft with Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales, April 11, 4pm PT
A special conversation between co-creators of Language Lessons, director, co-writer, and star Natalie Morales and co-writer and star Mark Duplass discuss their unique collaboration during a pandemic and the different types of relationships that fuel their creative spirit. The conversation will also explore the challenges of producing a film remotely and with virtual technology, and how the film has influenced them as people and filmmakers.

Filming in Extreme Locations, April 12, 4pm PT
From faraway locales to harsh environments to intimate spaces, this conversation features four filmmakers who reveal the challenges of shooting in the most extreme circumstances and how they creatively problem solve.

Cine Mexicano Filmmakers on Rebellion and Innovation, April 13, 4pm PT
As an extension of the Festival’s Cine Mexicano spotlight, this conversation features all filmmakers with work in this category. This talk will explore how Mexican filmmakers are pushing the form of storytelling to create rebellious and innovative work.

Oscar Categories Explained!, April 14, 4pm PT
This panel of Oscar-nominated creators will shed light on the incredible craft and artistry showcased in some of the most interesting, yet less known Academy categories such as Visual Effects, Sound Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Original Score.

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