Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 SF Indiefest Wraps

SF Indiefest closed February 22. Actually, it resume for 2 days next weekend (Feb 27 & 28) in Lake Tahoe (Sugarbowl).

I was impressed with this year's Indiefest. There were a lot of solid films there. I've written before about how Indiefest and its associated festivals have changed since Bruce Fletcher turned over programming responsibilities. This year's festival confirms my belief that my cinematic tastes are not in line with Fletcher's although I do miss his pipeline to outstanding Japanese films. This year, Indiefest only had three feature programs from Japan - Super Happy Fun Monkeybash! which is not a film but a compilation of Japanese television shows and commercials and two programs of soft-core Japanese porn. I wish they had a Japanese narrative film in the line-up but there were so many strong entries that I can overlook it.

I think I can go so far as say that this was my favorite Indiefest since I started going. I've been buying a festival pass since 2002, I believe. I saw 21 programs this year. I usually see more but on three out of four weekend days, I was essentially absent from Indiefest due to other cinematic engagements. Maybe by seeing fewer films, I was more selective in my choices but I don't think so. My choices were largely dictated by the schedule.

My favorite film from the festival was I'll Come Running. Honorable mentions go to (in alphabetical order) Fanboys, The Full Picture, Leaving Barstow, Morris County and Skills Like This. My favorite short film from the festival was Burr. Honorable mentions go to (in random order) The 100th Job, Vroom-Vroom!, No Strings Attached, You Better Watch Out, Side Effect, I Own You and Operation Falcon.


I hope I can get time to write about a few of these films this week. Between February 2 and February 22, I saw 37 films and I am exhausted. I don't have anything on my must see list until February 27 when I'll venture to San Jose to see Birth of a Nation at Cinequest. There are two films playing at the Roxie that I'm interested in. On Wednesday (February 25), Noise Pop is sponsoring Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison. It's playing one night only at the Roxie but it is also on the Cinequest program. The documentary is about Cash's 1968 concert at Folsom State Prison. The live album was a bestseller. I have a Greatest Hits of Johnny Cash CD that has five songs from the album.

Playing on the Little Roxie screen until Friday is Crips and Bloods: Made in America - a documentary about the origins of the infamous Los Angeles rival gangs. With any luck, Crips and Bloods will be extended into next week because I'd like to get by with just one weeknight film this week.


The Mostly British Film Series is playing at the Vogue from February 26 to March 5. The film that most appealed to me was Not Quite Hollywood - a documentary about Ozploitation films in the 70's and 80's. Ozploitation refers to exploiting Australian stereotypes and culture.

I was asked to go to Stone of Destiny starring Robert Carlyle. The Stone of Destiny (aka Stone of Scone) is based on the true story about the return of the stone to Scotland in 1996. It's showing March 1 and 2; I'm not sure which showing I was invited to.

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