Saturday, April 8, 2017

Film Festival Line-Up Changes

This blog is in a sad state.  I'm too busy with work, other personal items and seeing films to maintain this blog.  I'll limp along for awhile and see if my life changes.


Among the news items:

Camera Cinemas is closing the Camera 7 Pruneyard (in Campbell) tomorrow.  I've only been there once so it's not as if I'll miss it.  However, coming on the heels of last summer's closing of the Camera 12, the Camera Cinemas are down to one theater (Camera 3).

This year's Cinequest was the first since the Camera 12 closed.  The main venue this year was the Cinemark Redwood Downtown 20 in Redwood City.  I believe they had five screens dedicated to Cinequest.  Essentially, Cinequest replaced the Camera 12 screens with screens at the Cinemark 20 in Redwood City.  In addition, they screened films at the old SJ Rep, the California Theater and Santana Row (new venue).  Maybe they screened at more venue but those were the only ones I went to.  Attendance at the Redwood City venue seemed significantly lower than Camera 12 in previous years.

Spreading the festival out between Downtown San Jose, Downtown Redwood City & Santana Row (about five miles from Downtown San Jose) detracted from the experience.  I hope attendance picks up for Cinequest next year.

I note that Cinequest did not screen any midnight movies this year.

Regarding the Camera 7, the space currently occupied by the Camera 7 will remain a movie theater.  "we [Camera Cinemas] are excited to be the first to welcome incoming Pruneyard Dine-In Cinemas.  With a planned opening in Fall 2017 after an extensive remodel, Pruneyard Dine-In Cinemas will be the South Bay's first luxury dine-in theater with chef driven kitchen, full bar, and food and drink service to VIP reclining chairs and love seats (with swivel tables) that can be reserved online. There will also be a new comfortable patio space and service."

The entire Pruneyard Shopping Center is undergoing a renovation and Camera Cinemas co-founder Jack Nyblom is part of the ownership group of the Pruneyard Dine-In Cinemas.


For the past few years (including this year), the first weekend of CAAMFest conflicted with the final weekend of Cinequest. After this year's CAAMFest (March 9-19), CAAM announced that starting in 2018, the festival will move to the month of May.  That will remove the conflict with Cinequest and allow me a breather.  January through March is a marathon of film festivals - Noir City to SF IndieFest to Mostly British to Cinequest to CAAMFest.

A new scheduling conflict may arise.  The California Film Institute (the organization behind the Mill Valley Film Festival & the Smith Rafael Film Center) have announced a new film festival called DocLands.   2017 is the inaugural year (May 10 to 14).  Tickets and presumably the full film lineup for DocLands go on sale on April 20.

Speaking of the Mostly British, I guess it has grown up.  I procrastinated in buying my festival pass this year.  When I attempted to buy it, I was informed that they had sold out of festival passes.


The San Francisco Film Society has changed its brand to SFFILM.  I guess that is different than changing it's name.  As the press release says "SFFILM is the new public-facing brand of the San Francisco Film Society."  Similarly, the San Francisco International Film Festival is now called SFFILM Festival.  A rose is a rose is a rose...

Of more substance is the change in festival dates and venues.  In past years, SFIFF was held in late April and the first week in May.  This year, SFFILM Festival runs from April 5 to 19.  In addition, SFFILM has expanded the number of venues for its festival.  In addition to previous venues such as the Castro, the Roxie, the Victoria, BAM/PFA & the Alamo Drafthouse, new venues such as the YBCA (the large live performance theater in addition to the screening room), SFMOMA and the Dolby Cinema have been added.

SFFILM is creating small clusters of venues for its festival.  SFMOMA and the YBCA are across the street from each other.  The Roxie & the Victoria are two blocks apart.  The Dolby Cinema is about halfway between the Roxie & SFMOMA.  The Alamo Drafthouse & the Castro are within walking distance of the Roxie and accessible via public transit.

The other change is that SFFILM is running from Wednesday (April 5) to Wednesday (April 19).  In past years, it ran for two weeks but Thursday to Thursday.  I'm not sure about the significance of the change.


I'm running about 10 films ahead of last year's pace.  In other words, I've seen more films YTD as of April 8, 2017 compared to April 8, 2016.  That should count for something.  At least it does with me.  I'm not so preoccupied with work or my father's estate which is a good thing in my opinion.  Now, if I could just find time to update this blog periodically.

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