SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – It’s time to roll out the red carpet. The 66th San Francisco International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday. 

For 11 days, movie lovers from all around can come to the Bay Area for a first look at films and hear from the artists about their work.

After searching through more than 5,000 submissions, 96 projects made the cut this year. A screening committee carefully selected this year’s programming specifically for this festival.

“It’s just a process of getting together, looking at what resonates. We’re humans picking films for other humans… something that’s very unique about a festival. We’re not an algorithm putting together what we think you would enjoy. We’re looking for stories that we find to be unique and engaging and challenging, perhaps ambiguous,” said Jessie Fairbanks, the festival’s director of programming. 

Of the 96 projects picked, 37 come from outside the United States. More than half of the films were made by filmmakers who identify as women or non-binary.

There is also an emphasis on local filmmakers and their projects. There are 15 films highlighting Bay Area voices, including two of the biggest events of the festival.

The festival will open at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater with the premiere of the new Apple TV Plus documentary: Stephen Curry – Underrated.

The documentary, produced by Oakland’s own Ryan Coogler, follows Curry’s life from his college years at Davidson up to last year’s championship run with the Warriors.

KRON4 sat down with the film’s director, Peter Nicks. He said the film festival is the ideal place to premiere his project.

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“I’ve screened all my movies at the Grand Lake Theater, which is down the street from my house. So to experience this movie which so much is about family and community with my family and community is gonna be very special,” Nicks said. 

Stephen Curry: Underrated plays at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater. On closing night, Bay Area filmmaker Boots Riley will show the first four episodes of his new series for Amazon Prime called ‘I’m a Virgo.” It is a dark comedy following a 13-foot-tall teenager trying to navigate an awkward life in Oakland. That premiere will be Sunday, April 23 at the San Francisco CGV.

The CGV will actually be serving as the main screening location for the festival this year, but it is not the only theater taking part. The Premier Theater, Disney Family Museum, and Dolby Cinema will house events in the city.

Over in the East Bay, the Berkeley Art Museum, Pacific Film Archive, and the Grand Lake Theater will be lighting up their screens.

Tickets are still on sale for some screenings. For more information about show times and ticket prices, head over to the festival’s website HERE.