2019 SFIFF Will Kick Off With First Episodic Opener: Netflix’s ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ Series

For the first time ever, the spring festival will open with an episodic premiere, one appropriately close to its heart.
The Castro Theatre in San Francisco during the San Francisco International Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival atmosphere
Tommy Lau Photography

For the first time in its six-decade existence, the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival will kick off its opening night with an episodic series. However, the pick is very much on brand: It will screen the first full episode of Netflix’s much-anticipated new original series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.”

“Like nothing before it, Armistead Maupin’s series of ‘Tales of the City’ books defined the values and unique worldview of San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said SFFILM executive director Noah Cowan in a statement. “We are thrilled that this new take on his original vision, the remarkable result of a collaboration between Lauren Morelli and Alan Poul, that incredible cast, and our friends at Netflix, can be introduced to the world for the first time in the place that originally gave it life. It’s going to be one hell of a ‘coming home’ party!”

Netflix will premiere the full series later this summer. Inspired by the books of Maupin, per its official synopsis, the series “begins a new chapter in the beloved story. Mary Ann (Laura Linney) returns to present-day San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter Shawna (Ellen Page) and ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross), 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis) and her chosen family, the residents of 28 Barbary Lane.”

The festival opens April 10 at the Castro Theatre, where it will roll out the red carpet for the first episode of the upcoming series, along with a preview of the season. Showrunner, writer, and executive producer Morelli will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A, as will director and executive producer Poul, author and executive producer Maupin, and star and executive producer Laura Linney. Additional special guests will be announced in the weeks to come.

The screening will be followed by the opening night party at the Regency Center, featuring live entertainment, dancing, and treats from some of San Francisco’s finest food and beverage purveyors. Tickets for the opening night festivities are available to SFFILM members now, and will be open to the general public tomorrow. Find out more information right here.

This year’s San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 10 – 23.

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