SF Indie Fest, The San Francisco Independent Film Festival, recently announced the entire lineup for the 18th edition of the festival, which will return to San Francisco Thursday, February 11th to Thursday, February 25th. During the two-week event, the festival will bring some of the finest independent films and digital programs from around the world to San Francisco audiences. As in year’s past, films will be screened at the Roxie Theater and Brava Theater, but SF IndieFest is thrilled to also be screening at the new Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater location. For its 18th year, SF IndieFest is partnering with Noise Pop to co-present a sidebar series of music documentaries on February 19-21 at the Roxie Theater, curated by SF DocFest programmer and filmmaker Chris Metzler (Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, and Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea).
Additionally, the festival will have a Fantastic Films sidebar curated by Bears Fonte (Former Director of Programming at the Austin Film Festival, and the Founder/Director of the Other Worlds Sci-Fi Festival), which will take place at the new Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater. Some of the most unique and compelling new indie films will screen over the course of the festival and San Francisco audiences will have the opportunity to meet some filmmakers while sampling these outstanding comedies, horror flicks, love stories, documentaries and short films. For more information, please visit www.sfindie.com or call 415-820-3907.
New Partnership with Presenting Sponsor Toyota
SF Indiefest and Presenting Sponsor Toyota are partnering to present a series of 5 short films at the festival called The Toyota Effect, highlighting how Toyota collaborates with other companies and non-profit organizations to help create a positive impact on people, society, and the environment. The short film series by Academy-and Award-Winning filmmakers Ross Kauffman, Kief Davidson and Steve James showcases how Toyota shares its Toyota Production System with different partners to help them find better ways of doing things. By working with Toyota to make small changes to their day-to-day operations, the partners are able to have a greater impact – and, in many cases, help more people in need.
SF IndieFest has long championed non-fiction story telling at its annual Independent Film Festival in February and its Documentary Film Festival in June. “Documentary story telling is often called The New Journalism,” said Festival Director Jeff Ross. “We are pleased to be able to present The Toyota Effect series in San Francisco as an opportunity to explore how brands and companies can creatively use non fiction story telling to reach new audiences who hunger for truth and authenticity.”
Super Bowl: Men in Tights Pre-Fest Kick Off
Before the festival kicks off in earnest, join SF IndieFest at the Roxie on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7th for the annual SUPER BOWL: MEN IN TIGHTS football/comedy show. Laugh and cheer in the presence of David Cairns and other local comics!
Opening Night Film
On Thursday, February 11th at 7pm the Brava Theater in San Francisco, SF IndieFest will open with FRANK AND CINDY, director G.J. Echternkamp’s personal retelling of his late teen years and his relationship with his mother, Cindy (Rene Russo), and his step-father, Frank (Oliver Platt). Frank, during his stint as a member of the ‘80s one hit wonder band, OXO, met Cindy as a devoted groupie. Reality sets in for Cindy when she realizes that her marriage doesn’t match up with her fantasies of a life filled with glamour and award shows.
Following the screening, SF IndieFest will host the Opening Night Party at Dance Mission (3316 24th Street at Mission Street) with special guest DJ Shindog spinning one hit wonder 80’s/90’s Dance hits. Attendees are invited to join festivalgoer’s, filmmakers, SF IndieFest staff and other special guests in kicking off the festival on the right note with a hosted bar and special surprises.
Celia Rowlson-Hall’s MA will be presented as the Centerpiece Film at the festival on Sunday, February 14th at 7pm at the Roxie Theater and again on Thursday, February 18th at 7pm at the Roxie Theater. An official selection of the 2015 Venice Film Festival, MA is a modern-day vision of Mother Mary’s pilgrimage set in the American Southwest. Celia Rowlson-Hall also stars in the film, which deconstructs the role of the virgin mother as she encounters a world full of bold characters.
Closing Night Film
Presented in 35mm, TOO LATE will close the 18th SF IndieFest on Thursday, February 25th at 9:15pm at the Roxie Theater. The film follows a private investigator (John Hawkes) as he finds himself tangled up in a sleazy scandal involving strip clubs, petty drug pushers and missing girls. Dennis Hauk’s debut feature plays out in five, twenty-two minute shots, the maximum allowed on Techniscope 35mm.
Following the film, festival attendees are invited to join the SF IndieFest staff, volunteers and filmmakers at the Wrap Party at the Brand New Vortex Room (3189 Mission Street at Valencia Street).
Music In Film Spotlight
For its 18th installment, the festival is excited to collaborate with Noise Pop and showcase films that focus on music, including:
- Mike Todd’s documentary, HUSTLERS CONVENTION, in which Todd goes in search of the artist behind the titular 1973 album. The film includes interviews with George Clinton, Fab 5 Freddy, Ice-T, and Chuck D, leading to the album’s first live performance by Jalal Nuriddin aka Lightnin’ Rod.
- AKOUNAK TEDALAT TAHA TAZOUGHAI (RAIN THE COLOR OF BLUE WITH A LITTLE RED IN IT), a Nigerian remake of PURPLE RAIN. Mdou Moctar arrives in a music-mad Niger town and sets about wooing a local beauty, clashing with his pious father, and fencing with the jealous king of the local scene until their climactic six-string shootout.
- THE JOURNEY WITHIN follows musicians in post 9/11 Pakistan who go on a quest for self-identity by starting a music show to reclaim the vast musical heritage of their country.
- In SLY JOHNSON: ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS the Velvet-voiced soul singer Syl Johnson is chronicled from his decades long struggles, which ultimately lead to him to leave the music business in the 1980s to his opening a Chicago fried-fish chain. But with the dawn of hip hop came the unexpected, widespread embrace of his 1967 song “Different Strokes” – sampled by artists as diverse as Run-DMC, Michael Jackson, the Wu-Tang Clan, Beastie Boys, Kid Rock, En Vogue, Usher and Kanye West, among many others – and new opportunities for the savvy performer emerged. With a lively soundtrack and an original score by Yo La Tengo, this buoyant documentary celebrates one man who can’t stop the music.
- From the isolation of his secluded desert compound in Southern California, Edwin Borsheim, eccentric founder of the long forgotten shock metal band Kettle Cadaver, ruminates on a life of violence, mayhem and personal destruction lived on the absolute edge of the known musical universe. DEAD HANDS DIG DEEP is anything but the typical music documentary.
- WHO IS BILLY BONES?, a documentary that focuses on Steven “Billy Bones” Fortuna, lead singer of the seminal L.A. punk rock band The Skulls and an early pioneer of punk rock. The documentary highlights Fortuna’s unwavering perseverance amid adversity throughout the past four decades and includes interviews with rock musicians Mike Dirnt (Green Day), Christa Collins (X Factor), Chas T. Gray (Wall of Voodoo) and Kevin Preston (Prima Donna) among others. The screening will be followed by a live performance by Billy Bones and joined by special musical guests from the Bay Area.
Genre Films at the Alamo Drafthouse
IndieFest will also present Fantastic and Far Out Flicks curated by Austin’s Other Worlds programmer, Bears Fonté, such as:
- HARUKO’S PARANORMAL LABORATORY, where Haruko’s wish to experience a “real paranormal phenomenon” finally comes true when her TV set unexpectedly comes to life in the form of a handsome, TV-headed humanoid who quickly becomes the object of her fascination and romantic affections.
- After losing his job at a butcher shop in MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD, a nameless man breaks in to his former place of work and steals as much meat as he could leave with. He wanders through impoverished Chicago neighborhoods offering food to various strangers. Most don’t know what to make of this bewildering gesture, and the offer is looked upon with suspicion, confusion and distrust. Already prone to erratic outbursts on a good day, the man responds to his increasingly grim situation in the most primal ways imaginable.
- DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY: THE TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN is an exercise in extreme meta-fictional tragicomedy. Presented as the commentary track of a rushed reissue of a forgotten (but 100% genuine) Frankenstein film’s DVD (because of unspecified ‘recent events’), this project transforms the film into an entirely new, very human horror story.
- BUNNY THE KILLER THING sets the scene for a group of seven Finnish young adults heading to have a fun weekend at a cabin in the dark woods of Finland. The party weekend at cabin becomes a game for life and death, when suddenly a weird creature emerges from the forest to terrorize the people! The creature is half man, half rabbit, and it is after anything that resembles female genitals. The creature is Bunny the Killer Thing!
- LADY PSYCHO KILLER presents a doe-eyed knife-wielding killer that is on the loose in a small town, slicing and dicing men of questionable intent left and right. As her brutality leaves a town littered with corpses, her unquenchable blood-lust is lost on her young lover who is willing to pursue her regardless of the obvious warning signs of psychosis. Will he meet his end at the end of her blade? She decides who lives or dies!
- THE SIMILARS (LOS PARECIDOS) features a dark and stormy night, where eight strangers are stuck in a small bus station waiting for a bus to Mexico City. When strange things start happening, they find themselves trapped in a struggle for sanity and survival.
- POLDER introduces NEUROO-X, a German-Swiss-Chinese entertainment company group that focuses on games that dissolve the boundary between reality and gaming. In doing so, a world full of demons, witches, knights and terrorists is formed from the psychoses of gamers, as their secret longings are the raw material for the storytelling of NEUROO-X.
International Films Showcased
This years festival is pleased to present a collection of films that tell stories from across the globe, both fiction and non-fiction. The festival will showcase the following:
- Set in Colombia, CAMINO follows photojournalist Avery Taggert (stunt superstar now legit action star Zoe Bell) as she treks into the remotest regions of the country to cover a militant missionary bringing hope to the poor.
- From Japan, LEAP YEAR GIRL follows a young, struggling actress who returns to her small hometown in rural Japan to confront growing up and responsibility as a young adult in a modern world.
- CHUCK NORRIS VS. COMMUNISM showcases the power of film and details when in 1980s Romania, thousands of Western films smashed through the Iron Curtain opening a window into the free world for those who dared to look. A black-market VHS racketeer and a courageous female translator brought the magic of film to the people and sparked a revolution.
- THE GALLOPING VET is a Turkish comedy focusing on a veterinary surgeon and professor who searches for the missing ingredient to his grandfathers handed down elixir recipe.
- FRAME BY FRAME looks at four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape as they reframe Afghanistan for the world and themselves.
- STUBBORN BOY (BUBE STUR) follows Hanna, a 21-year-old German Woman, who recently released from prison journeys deep into the black forest to complete her community service. There she forms a bond with the townspeople in this compelling tale of friendship and maturity.
Short Film Programs Presented by KQED’s Film School Shorts
SF IndieFest and their longtime community partner KQED will team up again to present KQED’s award winning national TV series “Film School Shorts” as part of the festivals short films selection. Short film programmer Jay Wertzler sifted through over 1,000 films to curate the following five short film programs will be presented during the festival:
- To A Fault follows several borderline obsessive characters as they try to get rich quick, steal a service dog’s vest, and dance away the tears. 80 min
- Based on a True Story reveals the direct connection between the narratives we see on screen and the true stories that inspired them. 95 min
- Revenge of the Shorts showcases some of the best indie horror, sci-fi and “genre” work normally shunned by traditional festivals. 98 min
- Don’t Get All Mushy On Me doesn’t shy away from the ups and downs of relationships, be they between lovers, strangers, or a man and his foreskin. 95 min
- Real Talk gives voices to some of the most powerful, unique, and human stories of the last year—plus a special sneak preview. 84 min
Additionally, as part of the partnership, KQED will be hosting a free, open bar reception/party at the triumphant return of the Bad Art Gallery on Friday, February 12th at 518 Valencia.
Additional Highlights for SF IndieFest 2016
This year’s festival will screen several new films including:
- After the death of her friend Robin Williams, comedian Margaret Cho took to the streets with the mantra “Don’t grieve Robin, BE Robin.” What started as Margaret busking on the corner with a bag of socks and a guitar case, rapidly turned into hundreds of musicians, comedians, and homeless advocates spreading food, clothes, money and awareness in an amazing humanitarian street theater experience. #BEROBIN THE MOVIE capsures these events and shares the deeply moving and inspiring story. Directed by San Francisco based filmmaker Kurt Weitzmann.
- The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Festival hit film,CHANGING SEASON: ON THE MASUMOTO FAMILY FARM, a documentary featuring the trials of the Masumoto family during a year of drought and changes on their organic farm. The Masumoto farm holds important origins: the first 40 acres were purchased by David Masumoto’s father – a first generation Japanese American who lived in an incarceration camp during WWII. The Masumoto Family will be in attendance with San Francisco based filmmaker Jim Choi.
- Local filmmaker Carolyn Cavallero will present her film PARADISE CLUB. Based on a true San Francisco story, and filmed in San Francisco and Oakland, the semi-autobiographical tale of Catherine’s journey in 1968 into the heart of the club’s dark underworld while America is at the height of a social revolution.
- HOMEMAKERS follows part-time punk singer, Irene McCabey, who must choose between her newfound domestic side and her unquenchable desire for self-destruction, after her ex-girlfriend moves to kick her out of their band and Irene receives the news that her estranged grandfather has bequeathed to her a dilapidated house across the country in Pittsburgh.
- Sam Kretchmar presents KEEP IN TOUCH, where, a man attempts to track down his long-lost first love, only to discover that she was killed in a car accident years prior. He finds her younger sister, an aspiring musician who bears a striking resemblance to the girl he used to love. A relationship blossoms between the two before he has a chance to disclose his true identity. Features original music and performances by singer-songwriter Gabbi McPhee.
What’s IndieFest Without Some Parties!
In keeping with years past, SF IndieFest will present the following additional parties providing San Francisco with some of the most unique and exciting experiences for audiences to enjoy during the festival.
- The 12th annual Big Lebowski Party will return Saturday February 14th with a live on stage shadow cast by BAWDY CASTE. The evening will take place at the Brava Theater where actors will act the film in front of its projection, á la The Rocky Horror Picture Show with White Russians on hand.
- Also on February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day, the festival will present their now annual Anti-Valentines Day 80’s Power Ballad Sing-A-Long. Spandex, make up, teased hair, and 80s hair metal never looked and sounded more fabulous.
- SF IndieFest is teaming up with the Dark Room’s Bad Movie Night presenters to kick off a monthly series at the Roxie of BAD MOVIE NIGHTS on Saturday, February 20th. Join in on the fun as local comedians give Hollywood movies the Mystery Science Theater treatment, live. For the first installment, SPACE JAM will receive the Movie Roast treatment with hosts Sherilyn Connelly (SF Weekly), Alexia Staniotes, and Jim Fourniadis (Dark Room Theater) riff on the movie.
General Information about SF IndieFest
Regular film tickets are $12 in advance, $13 at the door. The Opening Night Film+Party is $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Super Bowl: Men in Tights is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. The Power Ballad Sing A Long is $15. The Big Lebowski Party is $20. The IndiePass, good for all screenings and parties at the Film Festival, is $200. Passholders jump to the front of the line at all screenings! 5Film vouchers are $55, 10Film vouchers are $100. These discount vouchers are only available and onlyredeemable at sfindie.com. Vouchers are redeemable for all events except Opening Night, Big Lebowski and the Power Ballad show. Full festival information, complete with additional ticket information, trailers and more details can be found at sfindie.com.