News Stories

S.F. Int’l fest announces full program (3D shorts from 1900)


The S.F. Intl. Film Fest announced Tuesday the full program for its 54th edition, which kicks off on April 21 with Mike Mills’ “Beginners,” starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor (expected to attend) as father and son coping with the former’s very belated coming-out.

Official closer on May 5 is French helmer-thesp Mathieu Amalric’s “On Tour,” in which he stars as a beleaguered TV producer following an American burlesque troupe around the Gallic countryside.In between are a number of special events and tributes. Spotlight Centerpiece film on April 30 is Azazel Jacobs’ U.S. comedy of adolescent misery “Terri.” The Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting will go to Frank Pierson of “Cool Hand Luke” and “Dog Day Afternoon” fame, with a screening of the latter.

Also getting body-of-work nods are preservationist/restorer Serge Bromberg, who’ll present a program of rare 3D shorts dating back as early as 1900; and visual artist-experimental filmmaker Matthew Barney.

The annual State of Cinema address will be given this year by Christine Vachon, producer of “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Far From Heaven” and HBO mini “Mildred Pierce.” Other notable guests expected include helmers Otar Iosseliani (“Chantrapas”), Miranda July (“The Future”), Patricio Guzman (“Nostalgia for the Light”), Lech Majewski (“The Mill and the Cross”), Christopher Munch (“Letters From the Big Man”), and local makers Jay Rosenblatt, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

World premieres are Vanessa Roth’s docu “American Teacher,” Emily Lou’s U.S. haunted-house comedy “The Selling” and Oscar Godoy’s Chilean drama “Ulysses.”

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Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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