The most popular film noir festival in the world returned to San Francisco's majestic Castro Theatre for its 14th edition, January 22-31, 2016. Its timely theme, given the threat traditional arts face from the technology revolution and its accompanying skyrocketing living costs, was "The Art of Darkness"—a collection of 25 noir-stained films exploring the pressures, pitfalls, paranoia and pain of being an artist in an indifferent and often cruel world. This time the tortured protagonists weren't felons or fall guys, but were writers, painters, dancers, photographers, and musicians.

NOIR CITY 13, January 16-25, Castro Theatre, San Francisco

Art Director Bill Selby's poster for this year's festival perfectly captured this year's concept of the interplay between film noir and The Arts. Discover the story in and behind the NOIR CITY 14 posters from Selby here.

In addition to the onscreen artists, this year NOIR CITY featured a plethora of performing artists. Torch singer Laura Ellis opened NOIR CITY with two numbers prior to our screenings of Rear Window and The Public Eye. Noir chanteuse Jill Tracy performed appropriately haunting love songs prior our screening of the British reincarnation romance Corridor of Mirrors. But it wasn't just vocalists who took to our stage. Classical violinist Emanuela Nikiforova played prior to our evening screenings of Deception and Humoresque, both tragic tales set in the demanding world of professional musicians. Deception co-star Paul Heinried's daughter Monika joined host Eddie Muller on stage to chat about her dad and his off screen friendship with Davis at both the matineé and evening screenings. Grammy-nominated trumpeter Dave Len Scott performed a trumpet solo prior to our double bill of dark musicals, Love Me or Leave Me and Young Man with a Horn.

NOIR CITY 13, January 16-25, Castro Theatre, San Francisco

There were more than musicians at the festival. For our nightclub double feature of Screaming Mimi and Mickey One, burlesque queen and NOIR CITY favorite Evie Lovelle performed for an entranced audience. The visual arts were also represented during the festivities: The mezzanine served as a studio for artist-in-residence Randall Sexton as he painted a series of canvasses, one of which was raffled off during NOIR CITY 14. As usual, throughout the festival, NOIR CITY patrons were invited up on the mezzanine to imbibe hooch provided by our generous liquor supporters. Prior to our closing weekend double bill of ballet noir, the mixologist and author Duggan McDonnell served his Pisco Punch and signed copies of his book, Drinking the Devil's Acre: a Love Letter from San Francisco and Her Cocktails.

While the artists who generously performed at NOIR CITY added greatly to the fun, at the heart of the festival lies our dedication to film preservation. Proceeds from the NOIR CITY festival go towards funding the Film Noir Foundation's restoration efforts. During our opening weekend, we were proud to screen the world premiere of our 2015 restoration project, Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems) (see sidebar for more on the film).

Los tallos amargosDuring our closing weekend, we were also delighted to announce the winner of this year's $5,000 FNF/Nancy Mysel Legacy Grant at the festival, Jana D. Gowan of UCLA, a Master of Library and Information Science/Media Archives Specialization student. Gowan attended NOIR CITY on Saturday night, January 30, for the grant announcement where she spoke on the Castro Theatre stage with FNF founder and president Eddie Muller. The Mysel family, the grant's benefactors, were in attendance as well.

Los tallos amargosSad that you missed all the fun in San Francisco? Never fear, we may be coming to a city near you. Our satellite festivals during 2016 will play in Hollywood, Austin, Chicago, Portland (OR), Washington D.C., and Kansas City. There are a few more cities in the works, which we'll be announcing when finalized.


NOIR CITY 14 photo coverage by David M. Allen

NOIR CITY photographer David M. Allen captured all the excitement and sartorial splendor of the 2016 festival's ten-day run. View and buy prints from his photo coverage of NOIR CITY 14 here.

NOIR CITY 14 Overture by Serena Bramble


Meet Ms. NOIR CITY 14, Aja De Coudreaux

Jessica Lipsky, SF Weekly

"Artist's model and Oakland resident Aja De Coudreaux will be the 11th Ms. NOIR CITY, a title given to the glamorous women who grace the festival posters each year and introduce films during the festival....Sometimes your art can turn against you, so we chatted with De Coudreaux along with the 'Czar of Noir,' Film Noir Foundation President Eddie Muller about the Ms. NOIR CITY dames." READ MORE.

Argentinian Noir, Restored Thanks to an HFPA Grant, Shines
at NOIR CITY Festival

Hollywood Foreign Press Association

"The North American premiere of the restored [Los tallos amargos] took place in a sold out gala performance at the historic Castro Theater, a 1400 seat 1920's movie palace." READ MORE.

NOIR CITY 14: The Dark Corner and The Two Mrs. Carrolls

Lara Gabrielle Fowler, Backlots

"[T]his year had some truly unusual and unique offerings for the noir aficionados and for the uninitiated alike." READ MORE.

Interview with Eddie Muller

Brian Darr, Keyframe, Hell on Frisco Bay

"NOIR CITY is our City. On the eve of his annual festival, a conversation with 'Noirchaeologist' Eddie Muller." READ MORE.

SEE ALSO Humoresque (Jan 24) , The Public Eye (Jan 22)

Catching Up with the Czar of Noir at Café du Nord

Thomas Downs,

Thomas Downs interviews Eddie Muller at the Café du Nord to discuss NOIR CITY 14 and more. READ MORE.

Dark Arts at the Castro Continues

Tavo Amador, The Bay Area Reporter

"The 14th annual Noir City film festival concludes at the Castro Theatre this week with excellent, rarely seen movies set in several worlds, including nightclubs, which provide classic noir venues. " READ MORE.

SEE ALSO The Dark Arts at the Castro Theatre (Jan 28)

Through a Lens Darkly…

Michael Fox,

"In lieu of the usual lineup of doomed mugs and molls, Muller has compiled a rogue's galleryŚnay, an entire wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Melancholic MiseryŚof angst- and anguish-plagued artists and writers and their muses, tormentors, patrons, exploiters and lovers." READ MORE.

Gettin' Drunk With: Eddie Muller, the Czar of Noir

Peter Lawrence Kane, SF Weekly

Peter Lawrence Kane interviews Eddie Muller at the Ha Ra Club in San Francisco's Tenderloin. READ MORE.

NOIR CITY 14: 25 Films Examining the Tortured Artist

G. Allen Johnson, SF Gate

",,,An adventurous program of films that have what NOIR CITY producer, host and co-programmer Eddie Muller calls 'trace elements of noir'. For example, a zowie double feature on Tuesday, Jan. 26, with the 1945 version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, featuring an astounding exercise in narcissism by Hurd Hatfield, paired with the rarely seen Corridor of Mirrors..." READ MORE.

NOIR CITY 14: Artists and Models

Max Goldberg, Keyframe

"Noir City's 2016 incarnation takes a tough-guy look at the artist as antihero. " READ MORE.

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Copyright © 2016. Website design: Ted Whipple/Incite Design; poster and logo design: Bill Selby; poster and NOIRCITY photos: David M. Allen