March 20, 2015 - April 29, 2015

“This small gem offers a lovely evocation of Spain as well as a touching tribute to an unforgettable moment in time when the Beatles seemed to offer brand new  possibilities, the idea that strawberry fields might indeed go on forever”

Hollywood Reporter

Unknown-3Spain, 1966, a High School English/Latin teacher, Antonio, drives to Almeria in hopes of meeting his hero, John Lennon. Along the way, Antonio picks up two runaways. The movie title, Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, comes from a line in Lennon’s song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ which he wrote while filming Richard Lester’s “How I won the war” in Almeria, Spain.

Directed by David Trueba, 108min, Spain, 2013

April 17, 2015 - April 28, 2015

Animator Bill Plympton in person for the 7:00pm and 9:30pm show on April 17!

A newlywed wife proves the depth of her love by becoming her cheating husband’s mistresses.

th-2CHEATIN’ is an award-winning, surreal animated adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder. Inspired by the work of James M. Cain (“Double Indemnity”, “The Postman Always Rings Twice”), CHEATIN’ marks Academy Award nominated Bill Plympton’s seventh animated feature film. In a fateful bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of Romance. But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity spells out an untimely fate. With only the help of a disgraced magician and his forbidden “soul machine,” Ella takes the form of Jake’s numerous lovers, desperately fighting through malfunction and deceit as they try to reclaim their destiny.

th-4Bill Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation, and is the first person to draw an entire feature film by hand. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short Your Face. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short Guard Dog. Push Comes to Shove won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or; and in 2001, another short film, Eat, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.

th-5After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made ten feature films. Seven of them, The Tune, Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person, Mutant Aliens, Hair High, Idiots and Angels, and Cheatin’, are all animated features. Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West and “Weird Al” Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

Directed by Bill Plympton, 76min., 2013, U.S.A.

April 17, 2015 - April 30, 2015

a CLASSIC crime-saga face off…” – Hollywood Reporter


MFR_STILL+3+RGBIn a small town south of San Francisco, Sheriff Paul Del Moral (Pepe Serna) is driving home through the fog when he accidentally strikes a pedestrian, a lone Japanese man.  However, before an investigation can take place the man disappears from the hospital without a trace. At the same time, Japanese mystery author Aki Akahori (Ayako Fujitani) takes a trip to San Francisco in order to escape the press tour for her latest book–a potboiler in her world famous “Inspector Takabe” series.  Feeling lonely and vulnerable, she begins a romantic affair with a mysterious Japanese traveler from Reno (Kazuki Kitamura). Her new lover is charismatic and charming but abruptly disappears from the hotel, leaving behind his suitcase and a trail of questions…

Dir: Dave Boyle. USA. 2014. 111 min.

April 24, 2015 - April 30, 2015

RoarLoResNo animals were harmed in the making of this movie. 70 members of the cast and crew were.

ROAR is an infamous, rarely seen ’80s cult classic starring Hedren, Griffith and over 150 lions, tigers, and other untamed animals. An unprecedented––and wholly unpredictable––action-adventure, ROAR follows wildlife preservationist Hank (The Exorcist producer Noel Marshall in his sole and career-derailing turn as an actor and director), who lives harmoniously alongside a menagerie of 100+ untamed animals, including cheetahs, elephants, lions and tigers on a preservation in the African plains. When his wife and children arrive (real-life wife Tippi Hedren, The Birds, and step-daughter Melanie Griffith, Working Girl) for a visit, a long-brewing battle for dominance between the lions erupts and threatens their very lives.

The cast and crew endured countless injuries, with over 70 bloody attacks documented. While nobody was killed, there were several close calls, most notably de Bont being scalped by a lion resulting in 220 stitches on his head. Hedren endured a fractured leg and deep scalp wounds. Griffith was mauled by a lion, resulting in over 100 stitches and reconstructive surgery. Noel was gored so many times that he was eventually hospitalized with gangrene. Maintaining a consistent crew became virtually impossible as injuries and safety risks kept them from returning to set.

Dir: Noel Marshall. 102 min. USA. 1981.

Read why Drafthouse’s Tim League is utterly incapable of resisting the WTF-ness of ROAR

“Like watching a live-action Lion King as Mufasa holds a switchblade to your throat” – Complex

“It’s like Walt Disney went insane and shot a snuff version of Swiss Family Robinson” – Hitfix

“Just watching it feels dangerous” –

Revenge Of The Mekons
April 25, 2015 - April 30, 2015

“Infectious…contagious” —The New York Times (Critics’ Pick)

“Jubilant” —The Village Voice (Critics’ Pick)

“Moving and raucous” —Time Out New York (Critics’ Pick)

th-6 Political provocateurs. Social agitators. Punk’s reigning contrarians. The Mekons have been called all this and more. Revenge of the Mekons chronicles the unlikely story of a group of radical British art students who formed in the first blast of punk rock in 1977. Against all odds—and despite a career consigned to the margins—the Mekons continue to tour and make adventurous and challenging albums, despite the fact that its eight members are separated by thousands of miles across two continents. Adored with cult-like devotion by fans and critics alike, the Mekons have redefined themselves and their music repeatedly over the years while staying true to the punk ethos. But the Mekons are more than just a band. th-7They’re also an art collective whose members make art individually, collectively and in collaboration with other avant-garde artists. A rich and illuminating account of a fascinating, criminally under-recognized band, Revenge of the Mekons is a lively, inspiring and entertaining film—with killer music, to boot!

Directed by Joe Angio, 95min., 2013, U.S.A.

Footsteps of Godzilla
April 26, 2015

Classic movie with post-show Q&A with Godzilla Expert

Godzilla_poster-e1425497682651A special double header event, perfect for fans of Godzilla!

First we’ll watch the original film from 1954 featuring a giant monster (or kaiju) resurrected from nuclear testing and goes on a rampage in Tokyo! Can it be stopped? Should it be killed?

After the film we’ll have the unique opportunity to hear from Japanese-monster expert Armand Vaquer who will provide commentary on the movie we’ve just seen, including tidbits not generally known to the public. He will also share his knowledge about classic Japanese classic movie monsters (including not only Godzilla but also Rodan, Mothra, Gamera and many others), and the techniques used in the making of Japanese monster movies.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, 96min., Japan  *Godzilla (1954) will be subtitled in English.

For those who want more opportunity to interact with Armand, and to meet and socialize with fellow Japanese movie fans over a delicious Japanese meal, we will also have a special VIP post event at Izakaya Roku. The prix fixe menu will consist of the following:

Marinated eggplant
White tuna tataki
Tofu and seaweed salad
Fried potato
Chicken karagae
Salmon cooked in foil with miso glaze
Roast pork with vegetables
Japanese style pasta with squid and mentaiko
Homemade green tea cheesecake

Ticket price does not include beverages.

(The event will benefit the Japan Society and help us present future programs.)

ArmandTravelGuide-280x300Armand Vaquer

Monster fan extraordinaire Armand Vaquer has visited Japan seven times researching monster movie locations, some of which resulted in his 2009 book “The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide to Japan.”  Many scenes from classic Japanese monster movies were filmed on location and artfully combined with detailed miniatures. In addition to writing his book, Armand has also written for “G-FAN Magazine” a quarterly fanzine devoted to Godzilla and other film giant monsters. We’re pleased to have Armand visit us from his home in Southern California especially to do this program.


  • 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM  Film
  • 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM  Discussion with Audience Q&A
  • 7:00 PM                    VIP Dinner with Armand Vaquer


 Organized by Japan Society of Northern California

Docunight #14: Caged | Street Sultans
April 29, 2015


Caged directed by Tala Hadavi, 52min, 2013

“Caged” tells the story of the iconic MMA athlete, Reza Madadi. Reza fled Iran at the age of 12 and went to Sweden as a refugee. After a youth dotted by run ins with the law, Reza found his savior in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). His boisterous and charismatic personality quickly won over the hearts of Swedish sports fans, earning him The People’s Award four years in a row. His dream came true when he was invited to compete in the best league in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).The film follows his preparation for an UFC fight in Brazil, while shedding light on the personal struggles of a lost immigrant boy searching for the right path.

Swedish-Iranian filmmaker, Tala Hadavi, followed Reza for 5 weeks as he prepared for his controversial fight against Brazilian super star, Christiano Marcello. “Caged” has been translated to three languages and aired in 45 countries.

Tala Hadavi is an award-winning multi-lingual producer and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled the world as a solo filmmaker and produced multimedia projects covering a range of topics for television and commercial clients. Yet, as a former professional basketball player, when it comes to her long-form projects, Tala’s fascination with the athlete’s psyche and dedication is what has driven the topics of her long-format projects.

Street Sultans directed by Paliz Khoshdel, Zeinab Tabrizy, 38min,  2011

Street Sultans is a Documentary about Parkour in Iran. There are several young people who were the pioneer of a dangerous street sport: Parkour. The sport is derived from modern cultural society. They are trying to hold a festival in Tehran.

Street Sultans is the first collaboration documentary film of Zeinab Tabrizy & Paliz Khoshdel

BAY AREA DOCS: Capturing Grace
April 30, 2015

Filmmaker David Iverson, a radio broadcaster known to Bay Area audiences as the Friday former host of KQED’s Forum call-in show, was himself diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2004 and will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

This event is presented by the San Francisco Dance Film Festival and SF DocFest.

CapturingGrace_Poster_3This award winning documentary is about an unlikely intersection between two very different worlds – one is occupied by a legendary dance company, people who move with beauty, the other by people who live with Parkinson’s disease and sometimes struggle to move at all.  Capturing Grace tells the story of what happens when a world renowned dance group joins forces with people with Parkinson’s to stage a unique performance.  Over the course of a year, the film captures the hopes, fears, frustrations and triumphs of this newly forged community.  s_CapturingGrace_Photo_1Challenging our expectations about illness and art, it’s a story filled with enduring characters who demonstrate the transformative power of art and the strength of the human spirit as a remarkable community of dancers–some professional, some not –  come together to capture grace. 

Directed by David Iverson, 60min., 2014, U.S.A.

Misery Loves Comedy
May 1, 2015 - May 7, 2015

Tom-Hanks-in-Misery-Loves-Comedy-a-Tribeca-Film-release-cropped Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, and Jon Favreau are among over 60 famous funny people featured in this hilarious twist on the age-old truth: misery loves company. In-depth, candid interviews with some of the most revered comedy greats who each share their unique path and a life devoted to making strangers laugh.

Lisa-Kudrow-in-Misery-Loves-Comedy-a-Tribeca-Film-release-croppedWith arresting anecdotes and insights from the comedy underbelly that reveal a performer’s deep desire to connect with audiences, Kevin Pollak’s MISERY LOVES COMEDY is the definitive master class on the art of humor that details a comedian’s rare ability to help us understand life as only they can.

Directed by Kevin Pollak, 94min., 2015, U.S.A.

Heaven Adores You
May 8, 2015 - May 14, 2015

“Nickolas Rossi’s documentary is a gorgeous recounting of Smith’s life, beautiful and troublesome, and the influence he had on everyone.”

~ Chad Liffman,

ElliotOneHeaven Adores You is an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith. In this documentary portrait, we journey through the life of American singer and songwriter Steven Paul “Elliott” Smith, a musician whose rise to prominence in the 1990s and early 2000s was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 34 in 2003.

The film opens in 1998 — a year in which Elliott receives an Oscar nomination for his song “Miss Misery” for the Gus Van Sant film “Good Will Hunting,” and his album “XO” receives mainstream airplay — an interviewer from Dutch TV inquires about his recent declaration that he’d never be a rock star. Elliott thoughtfully replies, “I’m the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous…”

What kind of person was Elliott Smith? Since his death in 2003, many media-makers have attempted to tell the story of his creative “sad-sack” genius, often through the lens of struggle, heartache and addiction. Director Nickolas Rossi employs a different lens, placing music center-stage, creating a framework for Elliott to narrate the story of his life himself, through the filter of recorded conversations and interviews, with support from friends along the way. With great care, Rossi expertly weaves together 30+ interviews to create an intimate and personal history like never seen before.

HeavenAdoresYou_Portland3Beginning in Portland, we’re treated to Rossi’s stunning cinematography with a gorgeous aerial view of the lush landscape. Photographer and friend Autumn de Wilde and official archivist Larry Crane discuss how the Oscar nomination affected Elliott, with Autumn noting, “I wanted more people to hear his music … but it changed a lot of things for him.”

The film moves to a sombre day — Elliott’s death on October 21, 2003 — and we see shots of the Elliott Smith Memorial Wall in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. Music video director Ross Harris discusses his reaction to the news of his friend and collaborator’s death.

Rewind. The year is 1997 and Elliott is in Santa Monica, CA being interviewed by KCRW’s Chris Douridas. Douridas inquires about Elliott’s childhood and is surprised to discover he grew up in Dallas. Smith’s sister Ashley Welch discusses her experiences with Smith when they were children, set against a montage of photographs from their childhoods. Smith’s childhood friend Steve Pickering also shares stories from their school days.

HeavenAdoresYou_ElliottSmith2We meet Tony Lash, friend and bandmate, who discusses meeting Elliott at Lincoln High School in downtown Portland. It’s here, in high school, that Lash and Smith began collaborating in music. Post-university, Lash and Smith form the band Heatmiser which becomes a major part of the Portland music scene in the 1990s. Musicians Pete Krebs, Sean Croghan, and others involved with the Portland scene at the time, discuss the era and the subsequent discovery of Smith’s solo work, which was quietly recorded on a 4-track and would become the basis for “Roman Candle.” Slim Moon, from the record label Kill Rock Stars, and Margaret Mittleman, soon to be Smith’s manager, discuss seeing him perform solo, especially significant given the period, which favored loud and often-times political rock; acoustic sets were considered “nerdy” and “uncool.”

We move into 1995 and Ross Harris discusses his experience directing Elliott in the video, “Coming Up Roses,” a single from Elliott’s second self-titled release. It’s a busy period for Smith as he balances duties with his band Heatmiser and his emerging success as a solo artist. Lash and recording engineer Rob Schnapf discuss tensions that surfaced with Heatmiser members as they recorded what would ultimately be their last album together, “Mic City Sons.” Of Smith’s solo career at the time, Sean Croghan notes, it went to “big all of a sudden.”

th1997 sees the release of Smith’s third album “either/or” and James Clark, a guitar tech who would work on a future tour, remarks, “if you didn’t know you were standing next to genius, then you just aren’t paying attention.” Larry Crane and Elliott open Jackpot! Recording Studio and we see images of the two of them painting and setting up the space. Crane and Elliott’s former girlfriend Joanna Bolme and collaborator discuss the era.

Elliott moves to Brooklyn, NY. Friends such as Autumn de Wilde discuss having him in New York and the impact it had on them. Elliott’s fourth album is released in 1998, “XO.” Jon Brion and Larry Crane discuss the song “Waltz #1” with Brion noting, “there were a couple of times he full-on freaked me out as a musician.” Friend and publicist Dorien Garry suggests that he was not well during this period, drinking heavily and calling in the middle of the night. Friends discuss their “intervention.” We re-visit Elliott’s Oscar nomination for “Miss Misery.” Bolme, Crane and Smith himself talk about the nomination and subsequent ceremony.

Next we go on the XO tour with Elliott and his crew and are treated to several stories and anecdotes that paint a picture of an Elliott Smith who’s funny and silly – not a common understanding of the man. Elliott moves to Los Angeles post-tour.

Jon Brion, Largo club-owner Mark Flanagan and Elliott’s manager Margaret Mittleman discuss the era candidly and describe it as a “golden period.” His fifth release, “Figure 8” comes out and the world is introduced to the now-infamous Elliott Smith wall at Solutions! in the Silver Lake area of the city by “Son of Sam” video director, Autumn de Wilde. Mittleman, Brion, Flanagan, Garry, Lash and others discuss their experiences with Elliott’s substance abuse and attempted recovery in the time leading up to his death from two stab-wounds to the chest.

The posthumous release, “From a Basement on the Hill,” Elliott’s sixth album completed by Joanna Bolme and Rob Schnapf after his death, is discussed. The documentary wraps with footage from “No Name #1” – a series of benefit shows that took place over four cities in 2013 and was put together by Elliott’s sister Ashley Welsh. The track “Happiness” is featured, sung by both musicians on-stage, and folks in the crowd – it’s a magical moment for all involved.

At the conclusion of Heaven Adores You, we have a rich view of an incredible and accomplished talent, a view that places music at the center of Elliott Smith’s legacy. Elliott said it best himself, “the less I think about it, the happier I am. I don’t really care where I fit into anything, or if there’s anything to fit into to. It’s just, I like music, you know? That’s the thing. It’s really uncomplicated.”

Directed by Nickolas Dylan Rossi, 104min., 2014, U.S.A.