Bringing It All Back Home

The International Buddhist Film Festival: Showcase 2010 will be presented by Buddhist Film Foundation and California Film Institute December 2–9 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. Additional screenings will take place in San Francisco at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, December 9–19. There’s a total of 21 titles, 15 premieres, 10 nations represented, with over a dozen special guest presenters. Here’s the full schedule. Ticket availability and purchase information about San Rafael screenings is available at the Smith Rafael Film Center. Ticket availability and purchase information about San Francisco screenings is available at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Highlights include:

  • the opening night sneak preview of the new nonfiction film I AM from director Tom Shadyac (Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams)
  • the west coast premiere of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by noted Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  • a special presentation of Michelle Esrick’s Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie
  • the west coast theatrical premiere of the complete version of Ken BurnsSeeing Searching Being
  • the closing night presentation of the Bay Area premiere of Zen, the dramatic feature by Banmei Takahashi

Confirmed guests include Wavy Gravy, Tom Shadyac, Wes “Scoop” Nisker, Michelle Esrick, Kaz Tanahashi, Marc Ian Barasch, Jane Hirshfield, Larry Reed, Dr. Jacob Needleman and Mark Elliott.

Other dramatic feature and documentary screenings include a rare theatrical presentation of The Buddha, narrated by Richard Gere, the west coast premiere of Tulku, by Gesar Mukpo, the US premiere of Bodhisattva, by Mark Elliott, the Bay Area premiere of Brilliant Moon, by Neten Chokling, the US premiere of Shugendo Now, the world premiere of Monkey King at Spider Cave, by Larry Reed, the west coast premiere of In the Shadow of the Buddha, by Heather Kessinger, the Bay Area premiere of Arising Light, by David Blundell, a special presentation of Silent Holy Stones, by Pema Tseden and the west coast premiere of Sky Dancer by Jody Kemmerer. Several short works will be screened as well.

Buddhist Film Foundation is the world’s leading resource for Buddhist cinema, and after a string of successful IBFF presentations overseas—London (2009), Mexico City (2008), Singapore (2007) and Amsterdam (2006)—the festival returns to the Bay Area.

The Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center has been a cultural landmark in downtown San Rafael since the early 20th century. Now owned and operated by the nonprofit California Film Institute (which produces the Mill Valley Film Festival), this beautifully restored Art Deco theater with three screens and state-of-the-art presentation is located just north of San Francisco. www.cafilm.org

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents contemporary art from the Bay Area and around the world. YBCA’s two landmark buildings in San Francisco’s Museum District include galleries, a flexible Forum space and screening room. www.ybca.org