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.