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January 30, 2001

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


San Francisco - A sold out crowd of 650 filmgoers opened the San Francisco Independent Film Festival Thursday, January 11 with the comedy STANDING ON FISHES. The filmmakers Meredith Scott Lynn and Bradford Tatum received a standing ovation before following the crowd to the amazing after party at SomArts Gallery which featured DJs, performances, live video mixing and plenty of food and drink for all.

The festival officially wrapped 11 days later at the Fine Arts Cinema in Berkeley with the screening of Evan Oppenheimer's comedy about indie film makers and indie film festivals, THE AUTEUR THEORY. In between, the festival hosted 21 feature films, 17 short animated works, and 5 programs of shorts. A total of 71 films were presented to an audience of over 7000. This represents an amazing 65% increase in attendance over the previous year's fest.

Immediately after the festival wrapped, the IndieFest staff packed up 5 features from the Festival and one documentary from The Digital Underground, an IndieFest mid-year program, and joined Philadelphia's Lost Film Festival to present two days of films in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. This underground program of edgy eclectic films received attention on many trade publication and was a chosen as a Yahoo! pick of the day.

Back in San Francisco the Audience Award ballots were tallied. The Audience Award for Best Feature Film went to Peter Hyoguchi's FIRST, LAST & DEPOSIT, a profoundly touching film about a single mother and daughter who suddenly find themselves homeless. The Audience Award for Best Documentary was awarded to Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen's BLACK AND GOLD, a powerful look at a New York street gang that tried to transform into a political activist organization and found themselves a threat to the status quo. The Audience Award for best Animation went to local animator Nina Paley for PANDORAMA. The Audience Award for Best Short Film was awarded to Jeanne Finley and Doug DuBois' LOSS PREVENTION a short documnetary about an elderly woman's obsession with shoplifting.

The IndieFest staff also awarded two prizes to their favorites. The Staff Prize for Best Feature was awarded to Tom Sawyer for THE STRANGE CASE OF SENOR COMPUTER, a hilarious and wholly original film that explores death, sex, existence and credit cards through the experiences of a computer named Ike. The IndieFest Staff Prize for best short went to Don Hertzfeldt's REJECTED, also a hit at last weeks Sundance Festival.

This year's IndieFest was sponsored by Adamation, a software company with an amazing new piece of editing software coming out this spring called personalStudio. Retailing for less than $50, personalStudio will help further the digital revolution by putting powerful editing tools in the hands of anyone with a PC.

Other Festival supporters include the Screen Actors Guild, Eveo.com, RedBull, The SF Bay Guardian, Cineric, Hotel Bijou, AIVF, Creative Technology, Sierra Nevada, Rainbow Grocery, Filmmaker Magazine, Lost Weekend Video, Sfstation.com and the Academy of Art College.

The SF IndieFest was begun three years ago to showcase the best works in the growing field of American independent cinema. Now a year round organization, IndieFest has more prgrams planned for 2001. Be on the look out for another program of all digital work, a long weekend of new documentaries and more.

The next San Francisco IndieFest is scheduled for January 31-February 10, 2002. For more information contact Festival Director Jeff Ross at jeff@sfindie.com