The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival will open with Peter Bratt’s “La Mission,” a drama about the powerful ties of family and community that premiered at Sundance earlier this year. The San Francisco-set “Mission” tells the story of Che (Benjamin Bratt), a reformed and respected ex-con and recovering alcoholic who has turned his life around and now has a great relationship with his honor student son, Jess (Jeremy Ray Valdez). When a revelation shatters this peace, a confused and angry Che finds himself struggling with his ideals.
“Like the neighborhood in which it’s set, Peter’s film is full of life and has a big wild heart,” Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, said in a statement. “We loved it at first sight, not least because of the wonderful way in which it marshals the city’s filmmaking talent, and we can’t imagine a more enjoyable way to open this year’s Festival than with this moving and powerful film.”
The film will screen at 7:00 pm, Thursday, April 23 at the historic Castro Theatre. Director Peter Bratt, cast members Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez and many members of the film’s local crew are expected to attend the hometown premiere and festivities. At 9:30 pm the Mission-style Opening Night party kicks off at two historical venues, the iconic Bruno’s and a unique street scene setting within the ruins of the El Capitan Theatre, located at 2389 Mission Street between 19th and 20th Streets.
The 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 23 – May 7, 2009 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre and Landmark’s Clay Theatre in San Francisco; and the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley.