The San Francisco International Film Festival has been with Richard Linklater from the beginning. When Slacker screened in 1991, its triumph — from a former oil-rig worker in Texas, no less — heralded a new era for independent film. Spontaneous, funny, and spot-on, Linklater's movies offered youth culture without condescension, solidifying some careers along the way — young Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, and Parker Posey in Dazed and Confused come to mind. Linklater's longstanding connections with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy also gave us the Before Trilogy, a nuanced, convincing look at love over years (their characters also take a turn in Linklater's animated musing Waking Life). But this year's Boyhood demanded an even deeper conscious commitment from its stars Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Ellar Coltrane. Filmed over 12 years, beginning when Coltrane was only 6, Boyhood tracks a life as it unfolds, incorporating much of Coltrane's real-life experience into a loose story line. It is a perfect project to accompany Linklater's acceptance of SFIFF's Founder's Directing Award, given in the past to masters such as Altman, Herzog, and Coppola.
Linklater appears before Boyhood at 7 p.m. at Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. Tickets are $25; call 621-6120 or visit sffs.org/festival.