San Francisco, CA - The San Francisco
Independent Film Festival, in the wake of its most successful
year ever, today announced the launch of yet another Bay Area
film festival. As if there aren't enough film festivals already,
make room for the San Francisco Documentary Film
Festival, or SF DocFest, for short, to take place
Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2001.
Why another film festival? "Well," says DocFest
coprogrammer Tod Booth, "we found four days in May that weren't
being used to launch another film festival, so we thought
we'd better grab 'em before someone else did."
The spunky DocFest is going bravely head-to-head
with a Goliath of another name, though, on that fateful Memorial
Day weekend: Michael Bay's PEARL HARBOR opens on the same
day as the DocFest's opening night. Said Booth, "Mr. Bay may
think we're pushovers, but we're confident that Bay Area filmlovers
will make the right choice with their entertainment dollar
The first annual SF DocFest will be announcing
its full slate of films in the very near future, but today
offered a taste of its upcoming program. Eschewing the kind
of overly serious documentaries that get nominated for Oscars,
SF DocFest will be including no films that can be construed
as "triumphs of the human spirit." SF DocFest documentaries
instead will be poking into the nooks and crannies of our
great American pop culture, revealing the strange worlds that
often lie right under our noses. SF IndieFest founder Jeff
Ross said, "For many people, documentaries are 'good for you,'
like taking a pill or going to school. But documentaries can
be just as fun and entertaining as anything playing at the
local multiplex -- maybe even more so."
Here's a sample of the upcoming DocFest slate,
which includes many award winners and premieres:
The San Francisco premiere of PLASTER CASTER,
directed by Jessica Villines, brings to the screen the story
of recovering groupie Cynthia Plaster Caster, who has been
making life-size casts of rock star cocks since the late Sixties.
AN INCREDIBLE SIMULATION, directed by Jeff Economy
and Darren Hacker. A tribute to tribute bands, AN INCREDIBLE
SIMULATION takes you into a world beyond fandom into the
land of the truly obsessed, a land where seemingly ordinary
people want to be Adam Ant, or Molly Hatchet or, God help
us, Gary Numan. Featuring incredible simulations of Kiss,
Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond, Abba, Van Halen, Molly Hatchet,
Adam & The Ants, the Rolling Stones, Gary Numan and even a
Guided by Voices tribute band. http://pages.ripco.net/~economy/ais.html
KARAOKE FEVER, directed by Arthur Borman
and Steve Danielson, is a journey into the world of hard-core
karaoke contests. We follow six hopefuls as they compete for
one of the coveted spaces in America's largest singing contest
-- Karaoke Fest!
by Maggie Carey and Elena Carr, won the Midnight Movie Audience
Award at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month. In it,
two female filmmakers struggle with a student budget and amateur
actors to produce a porn flick for women. www.ladypornthefilm.com
NO MAPS FOR THESE TERRITORIES, directed by Mark Neale,
takes us on a road trip with the man who coined the term "cyberspace."
Elegant in its simplicity, not only because of what the man
has to say, but because of the way the film's visuals help
him say it, it's a brilliant and provocative viewing experience.
This year's Slamdance Film
Festival Grand Jury Award winner for best feature, HYBRID
is a film about a 100-year old Iowa farmer and his life-long
obsession with hybrid seed corn. Milford Beeghly began his
seed company in the '30s, experimenting with hybrids in secret,
peddling his seed to skeptical farmers at a time when intervening
in the natural process was seen by some as an oddity, a hoax,
even a sin. Growing corn is all about sex: the promiscuous
mating ritual of corn, the evil inbreeding and pimping for
pollen which man partakes to create a hybrid.
In noise music circles, The Nihilist Spasm
Band are certified international cult legends. The NY Times
referred to the band as "a droll, clattery ensemble (that)
has maintained the sly humor and casual provocation of 1960s
art movements like Fluxus." In WHAT ABOUT ME: THE RISE
OF THE NIHILIST SPASM BAND, the band members are portrayed
as the subversive, ear-splitting senior citizens that they
are--chaos-loving geezers with a need for noise! Asher's doc
traces the group from its origins in 1965 as a response to
ultra-conservative London, Ontario to the band's recent tours
of Japan, where they enjoy a rabid following.
Also included are plenty of short films, addressing
subjects from indie rock god Daniel Johnston (DANIEL JOHNSTON:
ROCK) to jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott (JIMMY SCOTT:
ALONE TOGETHER), from Texas fireworks stands (BUY 1
GET 5 FREE) to bathroom graffiti (URBAN SCRAWLS),
from a death metal band on a tour of libraries (BLOODHAG:
THE FASTER YOU GO DEAF, THE MORE TIME YOU HAVE TO READ)
to a New York doll hospital (DOLLY).
The SF DocFest will take place at, believe
it or not, the First Congregational Church at Post
and Mason streets, courtesy of the Academy of Art College,
conveniently located for public transportation and downtown
parking lots. Seating 800 worshippers, this church will become
a temple of cinema, providing the elegant yet austere surroundings
befitting the humble, often-overlooked film genre of the documentary.
Stay tuned for more announcements and the full
schedule of films, coming soon in a press release near you,
and keep an eye on our website, www.sfindie.com, for the full