Mar 28, 2022
While the new year kicks the 2022 film festival season into high gear, the SFFILM Programming team has been hard at work since last fall screening and inviting films to the 65th San Francisco International Film Festival, which takes place April 21 through May 1 in the Bay Area. SFFILM has revamped the screening process for submissions, and assembled a team of curators made up of longtime SFFILM staffers and experienced newcomers to the organization.
“I am elated to share the news about the programming collective for 2022 who will curate the line-up for the festival this year. We started the process back in May 2021, revising the pre-screening committee with an open call for participants and received nearly 300 applications. Joining long standing SFFILM screeners, we welcomed roughly 70 new individuals to the committee who bring a variety of experiences to the submission process,” shared Director of Programming, Jessie Fairbanks. “This fall we restructured the programming team, bringing together a collection of seasoned curators to partner with Rod Armstrong and myself, as we craft a festival program that celebrates the creative ambition and transformative power of cinema. This is such a dynamic group and it has been a real pleasure to work with each individual.”
The team is grounded in the longevity and community of SFFILM through veterans like Rod Armstrong and Joseph Flores and new staffers like Jordan Klein, and is growing with leadership from Jessie Fairbanks. Our Festival programmers are all experienced filmmakers, curators, educators, and organizers. Please take a look at their work and get ready for the program announcement on March 30. We can’t wait to share it with you.
Jessie Fairbanks, Director of Programming
Born and raised in California, Jessie began her career producing documentaries and clip television for national networks. She spent a decade in NYC producing large scale events, festivals, and creative projects for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Tribeca Film Festival, New York Film Festival, HBO, The Documentary Group, David Byrne, and Google.
Prior to becoming the Director of Programming for SFFILM, Jessie spent 14 years curating for DOC NYC, Tribeca Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, MountainFilm and others.
Jessie is a voting member of Cinema Eye Honors, screens for Sundance, and is a grant evaluator for Chicken & Egg Pictures. She served on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Independent Film Alliance for several years, as well as numerous film festival juries and selection committees.
Rod Armstrong, Associate Director of Programming
Rod Armstrong was a cinephile before he could drive, highlighting all of the foreign films coming to the San Diego area and cajoling his parents to chauffeur him to local arthouses. The passion turned into a career with Reel.com, a website with a wide array of editorial content about films. Rod began as a contributing editor and wrapped up his work there as Director of Content. Having long been interested in the endeavors of SFFILM, Rod began in 2003 in the publicity department. Later that year, he joined the Programming team and has been there ever since. Though Rod’s interest in film is broad and omnivorous, his greatest passion, harking back to those teenage years without vehicular transportation, remains international narrative cinema.
Joseph Flores, Programming Manager
Joseph Flores brings a wealth of experience to SFFILM in working within the Bay Area nonprofit media arts scene. As the organization embarks on a new journey at the familiar surroundings of 9th Street, Joseph has literally come full circle as that’s where he began his career having previously worked as an Office Manager during his stint at the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA). Since then, he was fortunate enough to have caught on to SFFILM as a coordinator while preparing for its 50th Anniversary and has since worked within the Programming Department in different capacities. Joseph currently oversees the departmental interoffice systems as the Programming Manager and also handles the Call for Entries submission process for the SFFILM Festival.
Jordan Klein, Programming Coordinator
A film lover and filmmaker at heart — Jordan Klein graduated from UC Berkeley and got his start as assistant to the legendary film producer Fred Roos (Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Lost in Translation), marking the beginning of his career within the film industry in Los Angeles. He served on numerous productions in mediums ranging from feature film, television, commercials, short films, and music videos. His foundational working experiences helped facilitate his transition to being a production coordinator and administrative assistant to the president of film and television at PRG (Production Resource Group), a multinational company providing lighting and audio solutions to film productions and live concerts for renowned music artists around the globe. Eventually returning to both film production and the San Francisco Bay Area, Jordan boarded both independent productions with the likes of American Zoetrope (Love is Love is Love) and major studio productions with Warner Brothers (The Matrix Resurrections) and Marvel Studios (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). Jordan’s deep passion, love and commitment towards cinema brought his heart to a home at SFFILM as their Programming Coordinator.
Amber Love, Festival Programmer — Features & Shorts
Amber Love is a festival programmer and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has been a programmer with the New Orleans Film Festival since 2016, and alongside programming has helped run many NOFF filmmaker development programs. Amber joined the SFFILM Festival programming team for the 2021 edition of the festival. Her own work has premiered at the Camden International Film Festival, played Indie Memphis and the Milwaukee Film Festival, and has been supported by NeXt Doc, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, and Union Docs.
Kristal Sotomayor, Festival Programmer — Features
Kristal Sotomayor (they/she) is a bilingual Latinx programmer, film critic, and filmmaker based in Philadelphia. They serve as the Awards Competition Manager for the IDA Documentary Awards, the world’s most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre. Kristal also serves as the Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival. They are a 2021 Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellow. In the past, they have assisted with curation for the “Spotlight on Documentaries” at IFP Week and the award-winning PBS documentary series POV | American Documentary. Kristal writes the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Currently, they are working on Expanding Sanctuary, a documentary about the campaign led by the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia to limit police surveillance. They are also developing a docu-animation film Alx Through the Labrinyth that takes a dive into the nonbinary Latinx Alice In Wonderland-like reality of contracting COVID-19.
Lindy Leong, Festival Programmer — Features
Lindy Leong is the Senior Film Programmer at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, the first non-profit organization in the nation dedicated to the honest and accurate portrayal of the Asian Pacific American peoples, communities, and heritage through the media arts. As a cultural worker, she is deeply committed to the development, inclusion, and presentation of BIPOC stories and storytelling on-screen and throughout the film and media industries. She is a proud member of A-Doc and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. In her other professional lives, she is a film and media educator, arts administrator, and audiovisual archivist. She co-chairs the annual conference for the Association of Moving Image Archivists, a nonprofit international association dedicated to the preservation and use of moving image media.
Céline Roustan, Festival Programmer — Shorts
Céline Roustan has been a curator and champion of short films for half a decade working for the popular website Short of the Week, passionately promoting directors and their respective films. Having worked in the programming departments at a host of international festivals including the Palm Springs International ShortFest, SXSW, TIFF, she also brings short films to audiences and guides filmmakers toward their paths of further success as a release strategy consultant. On the feature front, Céline has been serving as the Africa & the Middle East programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival since 2019.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to the movies! The 65th SFFILM Festival takes place April 21–May 1 at venues across the Bay Area including the historic and beloved Castro Theatre! Festival Ticket Packs are on sale now at early bird prices for a limited time. Don’t miss the deal, get your ticket packs here.