15th SF Documentary Festival June 2-16

Posted by sfindie April 5, 2016 2972 views


Announcing the 15th SF Documentary Film Festival

SF DocFest, June 2-16, 2016

Roxie Theatre, Vogue Theater and Great Star Theater in San Francisco

Returning for its 15th year, SF IndieFest is pleased to announce the dates for the 15th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival (SF DocFest). SF DocFest will return to San Francisco June 2-16 at the Roxie Theater, Vogue Theater and the Great Star Theater. The complete lineup for SF DocFest will be announced May 11th. The information will be available at www.sfindie.com. For more info, contact DocFest at (415) 820-3907 or info@sfindie.com.

Non-Fiction Vanguard Award: Sean Dunne

In its 15th year SF DocFest is proud to honor filmmaker Sean Dunne with its Non-Fiction Vanguard Award.

As both a documentary filmmaker and internet phenom, Brooklyn-based Sean Dunne has built a burgeoning reputation for himself with a series of web distributed short and feature films that have demonstrated a strong visual sense and a fascination with everyday people and the extraordinary stories that exist all around us.

With the ongoing documentary renaissance, SF DocFest prides itself on recognizing those unconventional, creative risk-taking filmmakers that are redefining the nonfiction cinematic form and are someone to watch. Sean Dunne the latest filmmaker the festival has recognized. Past honorees include Robert Greene and Melody Gilbert.

This award is a celebration of that attitude and Sean Dunne’s films that have their own off-beat approach to documenting the human condition.  Filming in a guerrilla-style, his interviews have a strangely intimate style as he delves deep into the lives of his subjects that could be categorized as living on the fringes of society.  However, his films don’t view his subjects as “fringe” and it is instead his empathy and rapport with them that is evident in the (sometimes shockingly) open manner of his subjects on screen.

In addition to being a visual stylist and thoughtful storyteller, Sean Dunne has also continued to break new ground in the industry by forgoing traditional distribution channels/routes/methods and instead directly distribute via the web.  This allows him to not only maintain creative control and ownership, but also embrace the sense of urgency shared in his work that is built for the audience at large, not just film festivals and television, which are often the main forum for documentaries.

In addition to screening his feature documentary OXYANA on Friday, June 3rd the festival will present a retrospective of some of Sean Dunne’s short films including his newest short documentary TRUMP RALLY (2016) in addition to FLORIDA MAN (2015), THE ARCHIVE (2011), THE BOWLER (2010), and MAN IN VAN (2009). with a reception to follow.

Previous award recipients Melody Gilbert (2008) and Robert Greene (2014) will also be screening their newest films during this year’s festival.


Early Confirmed Films at SF DocFest


Jason Cohen

Launched in 1982 by three friends in a Houston diner, Compaq Computer set out to build a portable PC to take on IBM, the world’s most powerful tech company. Many had tried cloning the industry leader’s code, only to be trounced by IBM and its high-priced lawyers. SILICON COWBOYS explores the remarkable David vs. Goliath story, and eventual demise, of Compaq, an unlikely upstart who altered the future of computing and helped shape the world as we know it today. Directed by Oscar®-nominated director Jason Cohen, the film offers a fresh look at the explosive rise of the 1980’s PC industry and is a refreshing alternative to the familiar narratives of Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg.



Andrea Marini

Art of the Prank is a feature documentary about New York artist Joey Skaggs, the godfather of the media hoax. Famed for such media fictions as the Celebrity Sperm Bank, the Cathouse for Dogs, the Fat Squad, and Portofess (the mobile confessional booth), all reported as fact by prestigious journalists, he’s one of America’s greatest living satirists. When he decides to pull off the most demanding hoax of his career, filmmaker Andrea Marini gets a unique view into the mind of this most unconventional man.



Pablo Alvarez and Tony Massil

Directors Pablo Alvarez and Tony Massil’s inventive personal documentary follows Frank Furko, an 80-year-old eccentric living in a Pittsburgh suburb. He’s pretty much retired from farming and has turned his attentions to playing the accordion and staunchly supporting the local high school football team. The focus of this revealing film, however, is Frank’s celebrity, which derives from a deeply felt friendship with Pudgie Wudgie, his 20-pound performing house cat.



Rod Murphy

When runner Will Harlan won Mexico’s infamous Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, the indigenous Tarahumara dubbed him El Chivo (the goat).  Since then, he’s changed his life and his family’s lifestyle acutely. While he prepares to return to the canyons to race again, El Chivo chronicles Harlan’s motivations to live deliberately, while illustrating the toll it takes on his body and family.



Melody Gilbert (previous Vanguard Award winner)

At their university in Eastern Europe, they are future bankers, journalists and politicians. In America, they are just “the help.”  From Martha’s Vineyard to Myrtle Beach, thousands of international students descend upon summer resorts and tourist towns in the U.S. to clean hotel rooms, wash dishes and make pizza for Americans on vacation. Who are these students and what will they find when they get to the country of their dreams? Why do they work at two, three and sometimes four jobs for minimum wage? Is America what they thought it would be? In this documentary, we meet students from Bulgaria who dream about going to America to do the jobs that most American teenagers don’t want to do. What will they find when they get there and how will it change them?


Charles Redon

A tribute to a tormented love story by the young French filmmaker Charles Redon, who adores and constantly films his girlfriend, an ambitious professional ballerina named Mathilde Froustey. Mathilde eats, trains and sleeps while Redon acts as her assistant. He is fascinated by her physical form and her discipline until he finds out that she is abusing her body. This completely changes the way he sees her: in his eyes, she is transformed from an admirable dancer into a dance-obsessed person with no mercy for her own body. When she starts to avoid him and no longer wants to cooperate with the film, Redon becomes obsessed with the issue that has become a taboo subject in their relationship. Made up of private recordings, the film concentrates on the time surrounding the French couple’s move to San Francisco, where Mathilde is pursuing a career as prima ballerina. Redon uses many different camera techniques to document his life with Mathilde in diary style – from a spy cam to a camera mounted on a selfie stick and a drone. He also delivers poetic commentary with enchanting images of jellyfish, a heron and a crocodile.



Samantha Grant

DAUGHTERS of the FOREST tells the powerful, uplifting story of a small group of girls in one of the most remote forests left on earth who attend a radical high school where they learn to protect the threatened forest and forge a better future for themselves. Set in the untamed wilds of the Mbaracayú Reserve in rural Paraguay, this intimate verité documentary offers a rare glimpse of a disappearing world where timid girls grow into brave young women even as they are transformed by their unlikely friendships with one another. Filmed over the course of five years, we follow the girls from their humble homes in indigenous villages through the year after their graduation to see exactly how their revolutionary education has and will continue to impact their future lives.



Josh Bishop

THE DWARVENAUT gives viewers a glimpse into the visionary mind of Brooklyn-based artist and entrepreneur Stefan Pokorny. Director Josh Bishop (MADE IN JAPAN) weaves together memories of Stefan’s tumultuous childhood with his modern day escapades to paint a mesmerizing portrait. An art prodigy obsessed from a young age with Dungeons & Dragons, Stefan navigates absurd adventures—from Midwestern game conventions to the canals of Venice to Bushwick dive bars—on a quest to bring his most ambitious miniature sculpture project to life through a multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign. Part philosopher, part jester, he preaches the virtues of fantasy gaming as a vehicle for uniting the human race.



William Kirkley

The never-before-told story of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love – a spiritual group of surfers and hippies in Southern California that became the largest suppliers of psychedelic drugs in the world during the 1960s and early 1970s. Bonded by their dreams to fight social injustice and spread peace, this unlikely band of free-spirited idealists quickly transformed into a drug-smuggling empire and at the same time inadvertently invented the modern illegal drug trade. At the head of the Brotherhood, and the heart of this story, is the anti-capitalistic husband and wife team, who made it their mission to change the world through LSD.



Georg Koszulinski

Filmmaker Georg Koszulinski follows Extanta Aoleé, a local houngan or ‘Vodou man,’ who has served ancient Haitian spirits called Loa for over fifty years. A family tradition to commune with these spirits gives the practitioner supernatural powers to either heal or harm. This mystical, experimental film brings to light an unseen world beyond the veil.



Shaun Colón

In the ’90s, pop-punk was king of the West Coast indie scene, and San Francisco’s Fat Wreck Chords gave a home to edgy bands such as Rise Against, Lagwagon, Propagandhi and Fat Mike’s own NOFX. Colón weaves together the FAT WRECK story from interviews with the label’s band members, rare and grainy performance footage and a crunchy soundtrack packed with quick punky riffs and huge melodic choruses. Oh, and there’s puppets that play out the best (and sometimes the worst) of the characters and conflicts that inhabit the Fat Wreck Chords’ world. Not all of the story is pretty, but that’s what makes this a compelling “punkumentary.” Colón pits good against bad, right against wrong, and shows Fat Mike and his compatriots as they are, true punks.



Shawn Stutler

Learn about the 40 years of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as told by the people who have kept it alive, the fans. Follow Director, Shawn Stutler and the crew of The Home of Happiness and Throbbing Temple Productions as they visit fans, collectors and casts to hear their story on how and why Rocky Horror saved their life.


General Information about DocFest

The full program will be announced at the DocFest press conference at 11a Wed May 11 at Roxie Theater.  Tickets will go on sale May 13.