The city of Palo Alto and one of its best-known native sons -- James Franco -- are two of the driving forces in one of the major movie offerings in this year's San Francisco International Film Festival.

"Palo Alto," director Gia Coppola's adaptation of Franco's 2010 South Bay-set short story collection, is one of 168 films showing at this year's festival, running from April 24 to May 8 at venues in Berkeley and San Francisco. The busy Franco also has a movie he directed and stars in, "Child of God," in the lineup.

The diverse slate of films unveiled this week reflects the festival's commitment to support and honor independent filmmaking from throughout the globe.

"Palo Alto" interweaves stories that pinpoint teen challenges and issues, and features Franco in a supporting role as a soccer coach. Emma Roberts stars. The festival has given the film its Centerpiece status, and marks Coppola's feature filmmaking debut. Coppola, the granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, plans to appear at the "Palo Alto" screening set for 7:30 p.m. May 3 at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco. She is one of 44 other female directors whose work will be showcased during the festival's run.

In addition to the numerous screenings, the festival's 57th year will continue to include appearances by many of the filmmakers, as well as premieres, film classes, live performances and tributes to influential luminaries in the filmmaking community.

Indie film fave Richard Linklater (whose acclaimed "Boyhood" will show May 2 in San Francisco) is set to receive the Founder's Directing Award at that Castro Theatre screening. Other honorees include Pixar's John Lasseter, film critic and historian David Thomson, and artist/filmmaker Isaac Julien.

For its opening night film April 24, the festival selected the Kristen Dunst-Viggo Mortensen thriller "The Two Faces of January." Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, it marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Hossein Amini ("Drive") and also features Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis") in the cast.

The festival concludes May 8 with the dramedy "Alex of Venice," directed by and starring Chris Messina (TV's "The Mindy Project"). Don Johnson costars.

For more details, to buy tickets and view the entire lineup of the films and events, visit www.sffs.org/festival-home

57th annual San Francisco International Film Festival
When: April 24-May 8
Venues: Numerous San Francisco sites, including the Castro Theatre, The Chapel, FilmHouse, New People Cinema, The Regency Center, Roe, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, and The Walt Disney Family Museum; events also scheduledn for Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Theater
Tickets: $15 general; $14 senior/student/disabled; $13 member; $10 chidren (12 and under); opening and closing night films cost more; ticket packages available. General public tickets go on sale April 4.
Contact: Information, complete schedule and tickets at www.sffs.org/festival-home