The 59th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival has a number of science or technology-themed films in its lineup. This is the Sloan Foundation’s first year supporting the festival, which will screen two films which have been developed through the Sloan Film program: Matthew Brown’s THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY and Logan Kibens and Sharon Greene’s OPERATOR. THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, which was developed through Sloan grants at Film Independent and the Tribeca Film Institute, will have its premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival followed by a Sloan-supported panel of mathematicians and stars from the film. OPERATOR, supported through Sloan grants at the Sundance Institute and Film Independent, premiered at SXSW. Science & Film previously published a behind the scenes look at OPERATOR. Check back on Science & Film for an interview with producer Jim Young of MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY.

The 2016 program of the San Francisco International Film Festival includes 11 science or technology-themed films:

In the Marquee Presentation program: In LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD Werner Herzog interviews the computer programmers and thought leaders instrumental to the invention of the Internet. Matthew Brown’s Sloan-supported feature THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY is a biopic about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his relationship with the Cambridge scholar G.H. Hardy. The screening will be accompanied by a panel with the director, actors Stephen Fry and Dev Patel, and mathematician Edward Frenkel. The Sloan-supported narrative film OPERATOR is a comedy starring Mae Whitman and Martin Starr about a programmer who becomes obsessed with a computer-simulated version of his wife.


In the Masters program: D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’s new documentary UNLOCKING THE CAGE examines intelligence in animals such as apes, elephants, and dolphins and questions whether they should be granted ‘personhood.’

In the Golden Gate Award Competition program: HAVEABABY is Amanda Micheli’s documentary which follows parents using in-vitro fertilization. Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary NATIONAL BIRD, executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, examines drone use in the United States. NOTES ON BLINDNESS is a documentary based on the diaries documenting the progressive blindness of theology professor John Hull. NUTS! is a documentary based on the true story of pseudoscientist JR Brinkley who invented a goat-testicle “cure for impotence” in 1920s America. Science & Film interviewed director Penny Lane before the film’s 2016 Sundance premiere.


In the Global Visions program: Michael Almereyda creates a biography of actor, producer, and screenwriter Hampton Fancher, best known for BLADE RUNNER, in ESCAPES, which makes its world premiere. Fancher is the subject of an upcoming program of screenings at the Museum of the Moving Image. Almereyda is a Sloan-supported filmmaker who has been interviewed by Science & Film. THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES is a documentary by Mike Day about a Danish toxicologist examining the effects of mercury in fish on local communities.

The Festival will also present its first ever VR Day showcasing virtual-reality filmmakers.

The 2016 San Francisco International Film Festival will take place April 21-May 5 in San Francisco, California.