Now Playing

Program-Hacking the San Francisco Film Festival

From early Coen brothers to the JT LeRoy myth, here's what's coming to the indie screen.

 "Author: The JT LeRoy Story" screens April 22 at the Castro Theatre.


The nationally renowned festival is once again brimming with indie must-sees. San Francisco Film Society executive director Noah Cowan gives us his top picks.

The Fixer
Following an Afghan immigrant who settles in a small town north of San Francisco, this film highlights the “peculiar combination of people you find in rural Northern California,” as Cowan puts it: “Some hippies, some meth heads, but mostly people trying to be a community.”

Blood Simple
It’s the newly restored edition of the Coen brothers’ first movie, Blood Simple, about a man who hires a hit man to kill his philandering wife. “It introduced the world to the Coen brothers,” says Cowan. Bonus: Brother Joel will attend. 

The White Knights
Cannes winner Vincent Lindon stars as the leader of a Darfur NGO that’s trafficking orphans from the war-torn region to France. “It raises the question: What is the West’s responsibility in these regions, and when does it go too far?” says Cowan.

Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Back in the mid-’90s, Laura Albert created the persona of JT LeRoy, who became a darling of the literary world until it was revealed that JT himself was fictional. “The world was convinced that she was JT LeRoy,” Cowan says. “The film explores the complicated reactions that followed.”

The San Francisco Film Festival runs Apr. 21–May 5


Originally published in the April issue of San Francisco

Have feedback? Email us at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Annie Tittiger on Twitter @atittiger