The seventh annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival brings nearly three dozen full-length feature films and documentaries of every description, plus six programs of short films, to four Bay Area venues this month. Highlights include "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation" (Fri/4-Sat/5), a shot-by-shot remake of the modern-era swashbuckling classic filmed by three Mississippi teenagers on a shoestring budget; "24 Hours on Craigslist" (Sat/5, Sat/12-Sun/13), a documentary about some of the strange folks and services you can find on the legendary online bulletin board; "Blackball" (Mon/7), a British comedy that poses the burning question, "What if lawn bowling were to become the next big thing?"; "Zatoichi," (Fri/11), the 1989 coda for the long-running film series about a blind Japanese swordsman; and "Dead Birds" (Sun/13), a horror film set in a Civil War-era plantation house. The last two nights of the festival at the Roxie Cinema are reserved for TBA repeat screenings of the festival favorites. (Mark Nichol)
- SFgate.com, February 3, 2005
S.F. film fest dares its viewers with challenging films
While safe, impersonal films dart up and down the box office chart and across the screens of The City's multiplexes, the Seventh San Francisco Independent Film Festival deliberately goes out of its way to program films that provoke, tickle and shatter.
Indeed, if anything close to ordinary passes in front of the festival programmers' noses, they point skyward, favoring instead gutsy fare like the festival's killer opening-night film, Asia Argento's extraordinary "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things," screening tonight at 7 at the Castro Theater. (Jeffrey M. Anderson)
- San Francisco Examiner, February 3, 2005
Indie Fest Puts Eye on JT Leroy
For writer JT LeRoy, bringing the painful story of his life to the screen was part catharsis, part social mission.
"I like to comfort myself to think that there is a destiny, that it isn't just luck that I wasn't killed or didn't kill myself," he says over the phone from his San Francisco apartment. "You survive, and it's your job to tell the story of those who didn't." (Neva Chonin)
- San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 2005
Other Indie Fest Highlights
"Nice to Meet You. Please Don't Love Me!" is Yves Montmayeur's documentary about Asia Argento's making of the "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things," and is preceded in the program by Simon Safranek's "The Myth," an examination of singer Nick Cave and his devoted cult following. Director Michael Ferris Gibson's "24 Hours on Craigslist" offers a snapshot of life seen through the popular online site, from people shopping for roommates to an Ethel Merman impersonator seeking a backup band. "Sons of Provo" by Will Swenson explores the phenomenon of Mormon boy bands in Utah, and "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" by Jeff Feuerzeig documents the life of mentally ill singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston. The Short Film Sampler Platter, which precedes "The Heart Is Deceitful" on Thursday, includes Jason Wishnow's "Oedipus," in which the classic tale is faithfully enacted by a cast of talented vegetables. See the Indie Fest schedule at www.sfindie.com for details. (Neva Chonin)
- San Francisco Chronicle, January30, 2005
You won't get away with not knowing who JT Leroy is for very much longer. The local grit-lit wunderkind's tenacity and raw talent recently carried him to the front page of the New York Times Styles section. And this year's Indiefest centerpiece is the movie version of The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, LeRoy's autobiographical novel of growing up in a malevolent American underworld with a mom who makes Medea look like Mother Teresa. People will take sides on this fearless, shameless adaptation, as likely to inspire walkouts as instant cult veneration for its abrasive authenticity. (Jonathan Kiefer)
- San Francisco Magazine , January 2005
Film festival celebrates indie spirit
What started out in 1998 as a modest four-day showcase for budding Bay Area filmmakers has quickly become one of the film festival circuit's forces to be reckoned with. The 11-day-long program is expected to draw some 9,000 moviegoers and featuring the work of respected master filmmakers and bona fide movie stars right alongside some of the international filmmaking community's "next big things," both in front of and behind the camera.
From experimental to hardcore horror, from documentary to gripping drama, from a little film about the origins of the all-too-taken-for-granted Martini to a big studio-caliber crime drama/romantic comedy (featuring hunk of the moment Colin Farrell), this year's IndieFest has something to satiate every discerning movie buff's particular film fetish. (Bill Picture)
- San Francisco Examiner, February 5, 2004
Finally, a film festival that really does stay independent
San Francisco's IndieFest is one film festival that hasn't been swallowed whole by Hollywood, and isn't likely to be. It's a lean, homegrown affair specializing in independent features and shorts, from the ultra quirky to those almost ready for prime time. In its sixth year, the festival has found its stride but hasn't gotten smug about it. (Walter Addiego)
- San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2004
The Last of the Independents
It's a testament to the popularity of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival that its closing night at the Roxie Cinema sold out weeks before the fifth annual go-round had even begun. This is one festival San Francisco clearly needs. Just be sure to get your tickets early next year or risk being left out in the cold with the rest of us. (David Fear)
- San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 19, 2003
The 2004 San Francisco IndieFest
The San Francisco IndieFest is always the first festival to pop up in the New Year, and it's always one of the most welcome. After a season of Oscar hopefuls and a January full of near-reject teenybopper films, the festival's cutting edge is a welcome breath.
- Combustible Celluloid
Bash by the Bay
In its sixth year, the fast-growing San Francisco Independent Film Festival brings scrappy indies and some well-known established filmmakers to area audiences. Now in its sixth year, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival is living up to its founder's ambition to create one of the "bastard stepchildren of the major festivals." Inspired by the likes of Slamdance and the New York Underground Film Festival, the SF Indie festival aims to bring local audiences a range of work from scrappy low-budget fare to a few more polished films with wider distribution in their future. (Joshua Tanzer)