2010 SF IndieFest Program Information

Posted by sfindie July 24, 2010 85 views

MusicFest:

Welcome to SF IndieFest’s Winter Music Festival.  43 great local bands in 11 showcases spread over 7 days.  More cool music than you can shake a stick at.  See one show or see ‘em all. Support local music!

FilmFest:

The 12th SF Independent Film Festival: This year we’re all about Iranian Rockers, Shakespearian Vampires, Art Cars, Rasta Prophets, Slacker Romantics, Escaped Princesses, Dysfunctional Families, Bomb Shelters, Phone Sex, and the Wonders of Public Access TV, and way more from indie filmmakers around the world. We’ve even got a surprise or two To Be Announced. Check www.sfindie.com for the latest, and enjoy!

OPENING NIGHT FILM
Wah Do Dem
Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner, USA, 73 min

Winner of the top jury prize at the LA Film Festival. Brooklyn hipster Max (Sean Bones) and girlfriend Willow (Norah Jones) have won a free Caribbean cruise. But then Willow dumps Max, and with no friends willing to take a cruise (even ironically), he decides to go alone. After docking in Jamaica, Max flees the tourist zone for more authentic environs, and in the process loses all of his clothes, possessions, and middle-class white privilege. Heading to the American Embassy in Kingston on foot, Max has extraordinary encounters, including a full-moon celebration with the reggae group the Congos, and a dreamy stay with a Rasta prophet (Carl Bradshaw, The Harder They Come).

Co-presented by the SF Film Society

CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Harmony and Me
Bob Byington, USA, 75 min
Harmony (a hilarious, wry Justin Rice) is a charmingly quirky slacker in the depths of a yearlong post-breakup funk that shows no signs of abating. The highlights of his days are “chance” run-ins with his ex. When one such excursion leads him to a nasty discovery, he decides it’s time to move on, but a disastrous date with his neighbor might not be the ticket. In what New York Magazine calls “a raucous, highly musical comedy,” director Robert Byington establishes himself as a unique, irreverent and highly entertaining voice in contemporary cinema.

A + D
Amber Sealey, USA/UK, 83 min.
For Alice and Dan, it’s love at first sight. It’s the rest of their relationship that they find so hard. Confined to their small London flat, they magnify their differences, create conflict out of nothing, and slowly tear each other apart. Raw, edgy and intensely intimate, A + D offers a documentary-like portrait of a relationship; the insatiable intensity of new love, the comfort of a lived in relationship, the breakdown of trust and the aftermath of heartache and regret.

Access Denied
Compiled by Rodney Perkins, USA, 90 min
What would life be like without public access television? Unfortunately many communities have had to find out the hard way. We’ve lost many wacked-out gems due to cancellation (or just the transient nature of public access programming), but thanks to obsessive collectors of pop culture ephemera, there’s a goldmine of lo-fi creativity to be found in the back catalogue of now-defunct public access stations. Fantastic Fest programmer and Twitch Film critic Rodney Perkins has put together an exclusive show for SF IndieFest that celebrates the weird and wonderful world of public access from San Francisco and beyond.

An Animated World
US, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, 83 min
This year’s animation program begins at the end with Backwards and then heads straight into a world of darkness with Roue.  We emerge into candle light with Light Headed before rocking out with the Unbelievable 4.  Down to the Bone slips into sick ‘n twisted for a bit, until we trip into war games in Manifestations. Fuzzy Insides looks at how we relate and So Then Don’t Wait warms us up on a bright, snowy day. ‘nstaCharge is fast and quick while The Falcon gets quite mechanical. Lev puts some feelers out before Dave Talks About Stuff and Things.  Things get complicated in Pause Replay and even more so in Brothers in Arms.  We end the program by Entering the Mind Through The Mouth.

The Art of the Steal
Don Argott, USA, 101 min
This fascinating documentary chronicles the long and dramatic struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation, a private collection of Post-Impressionist and early Modern art valued at more than $25 billion. After the cultural elite scorned his collection as “horrible,” Dr. Barnes left control of the collection to a small African-American college with a strict proviso that the Foundation should remain an educational institution and the paintings must not be removed. But times and tastes change, and now the very people who belittled Barnes want access to the collection.

At the Foot of a Tree
Ricky Shane Reid, UK, 84 min
In a small English town, a boy wakes to find his father brutally beaten by members of his own family. Though his devastated mother pleads for him to leave, vengeance and retaliation flood his mind, and he’s off to exact retribution. Violence begets violence however, and the boy is soon entangled in a messy web of family allegiances, realizing the true consequences of his actions much too late. Shuffling between past and present, At the Foot of A Tree is a unique and engrossing drama.

Life NorCal-Style
California short documentaries-82 mins
Just in case there was any doubt about the Bay Area’s doc-making cred, we’ve got this awesome shorts lineup. Ready for a miracle? Line up for a look in El Milagro de Stockton. In Drugs, a few San Franciscans attempt to explain why they just can’t say no. Next, like a ski movie’s freaky California cousin, Second Nature gives downhill skateboarding some experimental flavor. A Sentence Apart looks at kids living in SF without their incarcerated parents. And finally, we follow a few motivated would-be Americans to boot camp in New American Soldier.

Beyond the Pole
David L. Williams, UK, 87 min
As the first-ever carbon-neutral, vegetarian, organic expedition to attempt the North Pole, Mark and Brian have high hopes of doing their bit for global warming, and perhaps getting into the Guinness Book of Records. Unfortunately, the world first is a first for them too. All alone on the ice, the boys hadn’t reckoned on the polar bears, the competitive Norwegians or on Mark’s rapidly loosening grip on reality. No one said saving the planet would be easy. But does it have to be this hard?

The Blood of Rebirth
Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan, 83 min
Toyoda-san (of past IndieFest titles Hanging Garden, Nine Souls, and Blue Spring) is back with another beautiful, mind-expanding film. The Blood of Rebirth loosely adapts a well-known Japanese folktale with minimal dialogue and visual eloquence. Set in a time when gods and demons ruled the Earth, our hero finds himself undead after helping a captive princess escape from their VD ridden Lord.  He takes the form of a Hungry Ghost and flees with the princess, but the Lord is hot on their heels, hell bent on finding and punishing his two escapees.

Bonecrusher
Michael Fountain, USA, 69 min
Lucas Chaffin is a proud fourth-generation coal miner, trying to live up to the legend of his dad and what he believes is a family duty. But his father Luther, still known in the mines as “Bonecrusher,” is withered and sick at just 61. He’s given his life to the dust, and he wants his son to get out of the mines before it’s too late. Bonecrusher is an intimate account of the love between a father and son; and a moving portrait of a tough community and an even tougher way of life.

City Island
Raymond De Felitta, USA, 100 min
The Rizzo family lives on a little-known island in the Bronx that is as quaint and sleepy as any New England town. But the Rizzos are not as picturesque as the island they inhabit, and like most dysfunctional families, they all stop at nothing to avoid the truth. Vince (Andy Garcia) is a prison guard who is secretly taking acting lessons and plotting a new career. His daughter is moonlighting as a stripper, while young Vinnie Jr. has a hidden fetish involving a 300-pound neighbor. –Genna Terranova, Tribeca

Corner Store
Katherine Bruens, US, 93 min
Some cities are just corner-store cities, and ours is one of them. Sure, all corner stores seem to have the same stuff, but amid the culture of an SF micro ’hood, each store has its own unique drama. For Yousef, his store is also his home: he’s lived and worked there, alone, seven days a week, for ten years, in the hopes that he can bring his wife and children here from Palestine. Will his hard work pay off? Is such a trade even worth a decade of life?

Double Take
Johan Grimonprez, Belgium/Germany/Netherlands, 80 min
In his new film Double Take, acclaimed director Johan Grimonprez (dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y) casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period.  As television hijacks cinema, and Khrushchev debates Nixon, sexual politics quietly take off and Hitchcock himself blackmails housewives with brands they can’t refuse. Bestselling novelist Tom McCarthy writes a plot of personal paranoia to mirror the political intrigue in which Hitchcock and his elusive double increasingly obsess over the perfect murder of each other.

Down Terrace
Ben Wheatley, UK, 89 min
Down Terrace is a darkly comedic drama from Britain that follows the daily travails of a dysfunctional family of crooks trying to keep their business from disintegrating. In an inspired move, first-time feature director Ben Wheatley and co-writer Robin Hill (who also stars) decided to write a bleak, Mike Leigh-esque film about a struggling crime family, and people it with comic actors from the likes of Spaced, The Office and Extras for a heady cocktail of surreal crime comedy that has been called “The New Wave of Kitchen Sink.” Winner: Grand Prize—Next Wave Competition, Fantastic Fest 2009

Easier With Practice
Kyle Patrick Alvarez, USA, 100 min
Alvarez’ provocative debut film was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at CineVegas 2009, and based on an autobiographical article by Found Magazine creator Davy Rothbart. A disillusioned writer on a book tour, Davy (Brian Geraghty, The Hurt Locker) gets a mysterious phone call in his hotel room, igniting a long-distance phone sex relationship in sharp contrast to his awkward and unfulfilling real-life relationships.  “Erotically charged yet intellectually stimulating, Easier With Practice is an enthralling love story for the cell-phone generation.” -CineVegas

The End is not the End
US, Thailand, Australia, Canada, 70 min
Nothing is truly finite in this shorts collection. In Space is a quiet examination of a young monk’s take on the death of his grandmother. Adrift offers a poetic consideration of suicide, youth and aging. In Rufus, a zealous documentarian follows a vampire’s internet date. The Last Page is a send-up of the serious nature of writer’s block. Dreamland is a delirious intersection of mythology and crime scene photography. Tungijuq, featuring acting and music from experimental throat singer Tanya Tagaq, meditates on Inuit seal-hunting.

Games of Telephone
US, Australia, Georgia, UK, 80 min
This shorts program plays on miscommunications ironic, humorous, revealing and heart-wrenching. In True Beauty This Night, an unexpected call from a man curiously met the night before sets a woman reeling. Felicita follows the poignant and darkly comic travails of a Georgian woman grieving for her husband long-distance. The pre-arranged, unspeakable deal in Nice Shootin’ Cowboy leaves one key element unspoken. Sapsucker asks who’s hunting whom during a hilarious birding expedition. Christmas Night with Franz Dubert examines a mail-order bride’s plight through a fairy-tale lens. One Last Time is a bank heist with too many insiders.

Godspeed
Robert Saitzyk, US, 99 min
A taut dramatic thriller, Godspeed centers on Charlie Shepard, a modern day faith healer eking out a meager living in the lingering light of Alaska’s midnight sun. When his family is brutally and mysteriously murdered, he gives up his old life, receding into a reclusive, ghost-like existence. When the unknown, radiant Sarah appears in town, her link to the killings grows stronger by the day, and Charlie is faced with dark possibilities that challenge his faith, grief and newfound solitude.

High on Hope
Piers Sanderson, UK, 72 min
In the late ‘80s, Northern England was a pretty dismal place to be young. But it seemed like something was in the air, like something was about to happen; so in the summer of 1989, local lads Tommy and Tony, together with 2 young sound engineers and a posse of willing helpers had a small party in an old workshop in Blackburn, Lancashire. Pretty soon the press were calling it “Acid House,” and a powerful new youth counterculture had sprung up in the unlikeliest of places.

Last Son
Brad Ricca, USA, 76 min
How did Cleveland teens Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster devise Superman, the first comics superhero, and, second to a certain mouse, the most popular fictional character in the world? Last Son tells the tale, uncovering a new source for the very first Superman story (which was rejected for years) and solving the mystery of the lovely Lois Lane. Among the never-before-seen home movies, there’s a beautiful bit from the 1941 World’s Fair, which included a “Superman Day” with the first actor to play Superman—a high point for the two men who created, but would never own, the Man of Steel.

Less Adolescent
Lee Galea, Australia, 85 min
When 18-year-old Emmanuel’s mother dies, he feels like the whole world has fallen apart. But when his estranged father Vic accidentally reveals a shameful secret, Emmanuel is thrust into a family he never knew he had. Set in Melbourne’s western suburbs, Lee Galea’s thought-provoking, engaging, and quirky drama offers a fresh take on universal themes of secrets versus honesty, friendship versus family.

Lilli
Filippo Ticozzi, Italy, 38 min
Giancarlo, a “peculiar” young man, lives among some secluded hills with his mother and his dog named Lilli. When Lilli is crushed by a car the life of Giancarlo suddenly changes.
Followed by:
Secure Space (Merkhav Mugan)
Oren Gvill, Israel, 50 min
Israel, 2006, the second Lebanon war, a bomb shelter, wedding day: The bride, the groom and their families prepare for the wedding ceremony during Lebanese air raids on Haifa.

Limbo Lounge
Tom Prankratz, US, 92 min
After a fatal accident, charming con man Silas encounters gridlock on the highway to Heaven and Hell and is forced to spend some time in Limbo. There, he meets an old flame who offers a fast track to the good life: working in the upper management of Hell. To earn his horns, Silas must first corrupt an innocent young copywriter climbing the corporate advertising ladder. With devilish intentions, Silas discovers just how low he’ll go to get what he wants.  By SF filmmaker Tom Prankratz (Wayward, IndieFest ’05)

My Movie Girl
Adam Bronstein, US, 83 min
Everything Adam knows about love, he learned from the movies. Unfortunately, Adam is no Cary Grant, and the closest he’s come to experiencing true romance is one drunken night with his unrequited crush, Kate. That evening failed to live up to Adam’s expectations, so he casts himself and Kate in a movie recreation of their big night, hoping for a better ending. Set in San Francisco, this playful comedy is sure to leave any cinephile wondering “Why can’t life be like the movies?”

No One Knows About Persian Cats
Bahman Ghobadi, Iran, 101 min
Winner of the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, Persian Cats follows musical duo Negar (Negar Shaghaghi) and Ashkan (Ashkan Koshanejad) after their release from prison. They decide to start a band, and their search for musicians takes us on a tour of Tehran’s underground indie-rock scene. Forbidden by the authorities to play in Iran, they plan to perform in Europe, but without money and passports it’s not so easy. Exciting musical performances add to the real-life resonance (the famously imprisoned Roxana Saberi co-wrote).

None of the Above
US, Italy, Spain, 75 min
Sometimes the choices offered aren’t the only ones. In Il Vincitore (The Winner), a futuristic lottery winner’s prize isn’t what he expected at all. The gently poetic Medicine Man observes a youth’s disillusionment with western medicine in the quest to heal his wheelchair-bound father. The Orwellian fantasy Emotion Malfunction peeks at the consequences of forbidden love. The Gynecologist tackles a strange brew of trans-gender issues when a boy visits the OBGYN. Life On Earth’s heroine, nearly aged out of her foster home, finds inspiration far from her life-skills classes.

Oh My God! It’s Harrod Blank!
David Silberberg, USA, 75 min
The life and adventures of local artist and all-around eccentric Harrod Blank, creator of such interactive spectacles as the Camera Van and the Flash Suit. Oh My God! It’s Harrod Blank! mines more than 20 years of footage to show a loveable boy-man in all his oddball glory. The more Harrod’s family, friends, and (most hilariously) ex-girlfriends kvetch about his obsessions and goofy naiveté, the more you’d like to meet him yourself. But what really sticks with us? The way an initial spark of creativity, doggedly pursued, can become a life’s work.
WITH: Last Day at the Nut House

Point Traverse
Albert Shin, Canada, 103 min
An encounter with an ill-fated loner creates parallel stories for two childhood friends. Adwin leads a solitary, structured life as the manager of a restaurant in a small town. Meanwhile, Cael fantasizes about life in the city but finds it hard commit, preferring to aimlessly wander the globe in faint hope of something better. After a chance encounter with an ill-fated loner, the two friends embark on a journey of self-discovery, learning that learning that their lonely independence might be overrated.

P-Star Rising
Gabriel Noble, USA, 83 min
A talented young hip-hop performer becomes the vehicle for her father’s unfulfilled ambitions in this feature documentary. A struggling father and former rapper, Jesse Diaz works hard to support his family as a single dad. He regains custody of his two daughters after incarceration and finds himself broke, unemployed and living in temporary housing. He pins his hopes for the family’s fortunes on his youngest daughter, Priscilla, a.k.a. P-Star. Recognizing Priscilla’s natural musical talent and precocious personality, Jesse sets out to make his 9-year-old daughter the next rap phenomenon, –Heartland Film Fest

RENÉ
Helena Trestikova, Czech Republic, 83 min
Steve James (Hoop Dreams) once lamented that “no one makes long-form documentaries anymore.” He’ll be happy to know that veteran documentarian Helena Trestíková has answered the call. Since 1989, she has followed 17-year-old René’s development from pimple-faced juvie to tattooed convict to published writer in this incredible document, spanning twenty years of a life lived both inside and outside Czech prisons and politics. Intelligent and introspective, this multi-award-winning film is a fascinating study of cyclical bad behavior and the glimmers of hope that keep us all going.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead
Jordan Galland, USA, 85 min
Julian (Jake Hoffman) scores his big break when he lands in the director’s seat of an off- Broadway version of Hamlet. The author, Theo (John Ventimiglia), has an ulterior motive for his adaptation, though: he’s actually a master vampire who hopes to lure the real Hamlet (Kris Lemche) out of hiding so the two can end a centuries-old feud over Ophelia. Meanwhile, Julian pines for his ex, Anna (Devon Aoki), who’s dating mobster Bobby Bianchi (Ralph Macchio). With Jeremy Sisto, the Holy Grail, the Rosicrucian Society, and a brilliant score by Sean Lennon.

West of Pluto
Myriam Verreault and Henry Bernadet, Canada, 95 min
Like Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park (IndieFest ’08), West of Pluto inhabits the world of suburban teens, who reveal their inner lives in small, nuanced moments. A marriage of hyperrealism and dreamscape, the film is a mix of improvised and scripted dialogue that reverberates with emotional honesty and a sense of realism. Shot in suburban Quebec, the teens start garage bands, give class presentations, fall in and out of love, throw parties that spiral out of control, and lose their virginity—quintessential experiences on the way to adulthood.

You’re not the Only, Lonely
US, England, 83 min
Escaping solitude through cunning, imagination, or simply by reaching out, the characters in these shorts discover they’re not alone. Bean focuses on a teenage writer who’s finally had enough of mom’s loafer boyfriend getting all the attention. Weight captures the release of daily disillusionment in one poetic moment of flight. Lollipop Man sees a crossing guard realize his calling. Me, You, A Bag, & Bamboo follows two melancholic strangers working up the courage to say hello. Backyard witnesses a hushed exchange of playthings, adolescent and adult. In Penance, a grizzled loner finds redemption tinged with tragedy in an autistic employee.

Zooey & Adam
Sean Garrity, Canada, 83min
Adam and Zooey have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant for seven months. But a relaxing trip in the country turns to mayhem as they are set upon by a band of drunken young men who beat them up and rape Zooey in front of Adam. As the distraught couple attempt to recover, they discover Zooey is pregnant. Unsure of the parentage of their child, they decide to go through with the pregnancy… But Adam—who is sure the child has been spawned by a rapist—is haunted, and eventually driven to extremes.  –Calgary International Film Fest