Home > Press Releases > July 1, 2001

March 28, 2001

Media contact : Tod Booth (tboot@well.com) Jeff Ross (jeff@sfindie.com)


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 that weekend."

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. www.plastercaster.com

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!

LADYPORN, directed 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

WILLIAM GIBSON: 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 schedule.