Film Arts Fest To Highlight Bay Area Filmmakers
by Ali Gitlow
The 19th-annual Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema will begin today in San Francisco and will run through November 2. The fest spotlights independent filmmakers from the Bay Area whose works span from narrative features to documentaries to shorts. On opening night, two documentaries will be shown at the Roxie Cinema. "Soulsville," by Bob Sarles, explores the history of soul music through Memphis-based STAX Records, home to artists like Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes. Jed Riffe's "Waiting to Inhale," which is still being worked on, examines the hot debate over the legalization of medical marijuana. The closing-night film, "Double Dare" by Amanda Micheli, tells the story of two go-getting stuntwomen in Hollywood, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.
Feature films to be shown include musician Neil Young's "Greendale," a modern spin on the rock opera which tells of a California family destroyed by politics and the media. Adam Ballachey's "American Dancer" chronicles the sometimes harsh lives of the Suncoast Calendar Men, four straight male strippers. "Soundz of Spirit" by Joslyn Rose Lyons attempts to show the world that hip-hop is a musical genre which goes beyond the sex and violence of gangsta rap. Profiles of artists such as KRS-One, Talib Kweli, and Andre 3000 exemplify this movement toward conscious lyrics and ideas. On Halloween night, Curt McDowell's 1975 film "Thundercrack!" will have a revival showing. It depicts one rainy night of random guests at a strange woman's mansion where fighting, sex, and voyeurism occur.
The Little Roxie Docs Series comprises four sessions of short documentaries to be screened at the Little Roxie. Among them are "Cheerleader," about the aspirations of young girls, "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria," about one woman's transition to maleness through dreams, and "Straight Sex," about a gay man and a lesbian attempting to have a traditional family. The program My So-Called Life is a collection of six shorts about the lives of teens, including "One Fine Morning," about a goth, "Little Failures," about a shunned skateboarder, and "Between You and Me," about the strengths and weaknesses of a high school friendship. Other shorts programs include Local Colorful, about eccentric and well-known Californians, Spirit of Gravity, a collection of films focused on movement, and New Storytellers, showcasing shorts that have distinct directorial visions.
The festival will also hold several workshops. In Experimental Film Production 101, director Ken Paul Rosenthal will explain ways in which filmmakers can manipulate and experiment with their footage. At Media Activism: A Crash Course, Whispered Media, the Empire Collective, Media Alliance and the Association of Independent Film and Videomakers will speak about their experiences with politically and socially-relevant filmmaking.
[ For more information, please visit: http://www.filmarts.org. ]