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January 17 , 2000

Media contact : Jeff Ross (jeff@sfindie.com)


San Francisco - More than forty two hundred Bay Area film lovers, critics, dilettantes, and dabblers turned out for the second edition of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival January 6-14, proving once again the consistent demand for independent film showcases.

The festival opened with a sold out house for Matt Leutwyler's THIS SPACE BETWEEN US, a comic drama about a grieving young filmmaker who returns to the Bay Area from Los Angeles and reconnects with the eccentric group of friends he had left behind. The packed house gave local filmmaker Leutwyler high marks for creating an engaging, entertaining film.

Eight days, nineteen features and seventeen short animated films later, the festival closed with Ash's PUPS, an exploration of media influenced kids and easily accessible firearms, which provoked one of the more animated discussions between audience and filmmakers of the week.

In addition to powerful dramas like PUPS, the IndieFest program was filled with great comedies. Therefore it was appropriate that the Tower Audience Award, awarded to the one film chosen by the festival audience as the “best of the fest,” was presented to Coke Sams for his hilarious politically focused musical EXISTO. Sams' appearance at the screening with Bruce Arnston, the actor who played performance artist extrodinaire Existo, was another exciting question and answer period between filmmakers and audience. Fifteen films were represented by filmmakers who traveled to San Francisco from Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Austin, Nashville and Ottawa.

New to the IndieFest this year was the addition of a new animated short preceding each feature. The Audience Award for Best Short went to Mark Osborne's MORE. In addition, those who worked on the festival were this year given the opportunity to award their own prize to the Staff Favorite, this award went to Andy Anderson's dark comedy about the modern American public school system DETENTION.

With the status of “filmmaker” evolving into a glamorous category of artistry, the latest crop attracted to the medium is more varied than ever before. The IndieFest in its second year has succeeded in culling from the top layer a textured program that offered varying tastes and styles. Festival organizers hope to translate another successful year into a long life for the event; one that will expand and mature with each passing year. Bay Area film aficionados will certainly want to keep an eye out for next year's program; a true celebration of the independent spirit.

Be on the lookout for the next San Francisco IndieFest, scheduled for January 11-18, 2001.