Philadelphia Film Festival

Film festival

What: The Philadelphia Film Festival, which is now in its 16th year, features 299 films from around the world, including modern Spanish and Latin American cinema, documentaries, Asian gangster flicks and local work.

When: April 5-18

Where: The city and region will be bursting at the seams with cinema. Screenings will be held at the Ritz Theatres, Prince Music Theater, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Constitution Center, International House and The Bridge. Screenings will also be held at three suburban theaters: the Hiway (in Jenkintown), Ambler and County (in Doylestown).

How much: Single tickets are $10 ($9 for Film Society members); $9 for matinees ($7 for members) and $7 for children. Multiple-film passes range from $35 to $275 ($30 to $250 for members).

Penn’s role: The University is involved for the fifth year, this time as an official sponsor of the Festival. Penn is offering a discount at University Square businesses and a $7 parking discount at the 40th and Walnut street garage after 5 p.m.

Cafe life: Penn is also hosting five free Cine Cafes, featuring notable profs chatting about specific films. On April 12 at 5 p.m., Philippe Met (French and Cinema Studies) will muse on “Asian Gangsters,” in reference to the films “A Dirty Carnival” and “Exiled;” and Peter Decherney (Cinema Studies) will lead a discussion on “From Page to Screen: Raymond Carver, Walt Disney, and William Shakespeare” on April 15 at 5 p.m.

Slow down: The Festival can get overwhelming even for cinephiles, so the Cafes are a nice way to slow down and reflect a bit, says Andrew Zitcer, Penn’s cultural assets manager. “You’re almost getting a miniature version of what’s happening inside a Penn classroom for free.”

Highlights: Ray Murray, artistic director of the Philadelphia Film Society, says to get tickets for “The Cats of Mirikitani,” winner of the audience award at Rotterdam; the Japanese horror film, “Unholy Woman;” and actor Alan Cummings’ directorial debut, “Suffering Man’s Charity.” The Fest opens in the midst of Passover and Easter with “The Ten,” a hilarious take on the Ten Commandments. “I like to start off with something pop or funny to get people excited or laughing,” says Murray. There will also be a screening of “Fantasia” and never-before-seen Disney films.

How the Fest has changed: “I think we’ve watched the Philadelphia audience kind of trust our programming,” says Murray. “The program has grown with the audience.”

More info: For tickets, schedules and updates, go to the PFF website:

Originally published on March 29, 2007