54th San Francisco International Film Festival 21 April - 5 May 2011

Schools at the Festival

Photo by Pamela Gentile

In 1991 a retired San Francisco schoolteacher and Festival volunteer named Robert Donn had the revolutionary idea that high school students just might appreciate—and learn from—Festival films as much as adult audiences had been doing for decades. And, with that, Schools at the Festival was born.

What began as an inspired educational experiment with a couple of high school classes has since grown into a year-round Youth Education program that now serves more than 10,000 students and teachers each year.

Throughout SFIFF54, elementary, middle and high school classes from across the Bay Area will attend weekday matinees of specially curated Festival film programs at subsidized ticket prices. Dozens of filmmaker guests from around the world will also visit local classrooms to meet and discuss their films with students. Many SATF films are supplemented by study guides, providing participating teachers with questions, activities and resources for integrating each film’s content into their classroom and curriculum.

The SATF program also includes an annual essay contest, for which students of all grade levels write about films they’ve seen at the Festival and compete for cash prizes. Click here for a complete list of feature films, documentaries and shorts programs selected for this year’s SATF program.

To commemorate this 20-year milestone, SFIFF54 features an additional series of special public programs showcasing SATF programming past and present.


20th Anniversary Celebration
Tuesday, May 3, 5:00 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

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This program includes clips of past SATF films, live stories, tributes to educators and youth filmmakers and a reception with complimentary drinks and appetizers.


Teacher Appreciation Night
Tuesday, May 3, 6:30 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

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In honor of National Teacher Day, we present the world premiere screening of American Teacher with special guests in attendance.


Puppets in Film: An Animation Workshop for Kids
Saturday, April 30, 10:30 am
Festival Lounge, 1493 Webster Street (at Geary)

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Award-winning puppeteer Yvette Edery, director of Jillian Dillon in the shorts program Do You See What I See?, leads this interactive weekend workshop for kids on puppet animation techniques. Ages 7–11.


La Matinée Animée: A Cat in Paris
Sunday, April 24, 12:30 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Sunday, May 1, 12:30 pm
New People

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Join us for this family-friendly matinee of the English language version of the new animated feature film A Cat in Paris. Shown with the French language short Specky Four Eyes. Ages eight and up.