Calendar

Jan
28
Wed
Docunight #11 Infidels / Pilgrimage
January 28, 2015

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Infidels

Directed by: Bahman Kiarostami, Produced by: Butimar Production, 2004 / 40 mins

UnknownA documentary about the Godars, Artist-Gypsies Living in Iran. The Godars are nomadic gypsies who migrated fromIndia to Iran and share the same heritage as thegypsies who moved into Eastern and Western Europe and into the Middle East. This tribe speaks Chuleh, which is a combination of Sunscrit, Mazandarani, and Farsi. Their original religion, Animism, was based on the belief that natural objects and phenomena possess lives and souls. During the Islamic Revolution, they were forced to convert, and although they are now officially Shiite Muslims, they are still outcasts and considered infidels. Infidels, recounts the four ways which the Godars make their living: dancing, acting, hunting and music, and showcases their dedication to preserve their art and age-old rituals. In this film, the Godars sing songs, play music, and tell the ancient tales of their heritage which often deal with their problems with God. Infidels is the first filmic record of the Godars, their lives, and their efforts to maintain the independence of their culture.

Pilgrimage

Directed by: Bahman Kiarostami, Produced by: Butimar Production, 2005 / 40 mins

Pilgrimage-3Despite the threat of mines, assassination, and death by dehydration and starvation, determined Shiite Muslims as many as 3,000 a day, have been pouring across the Iran-Iraq border since the fall of the Iraqi government. They risk their lives for only one reason: to visit the holy city of Karbala, fifty miles south of Baghdad. This city houses the magnificent shrine of seventh-century leader Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhamed. Hussein died in a battle in 681, a martyr to the Shiite faith. The intense devotion of these pilgrims to Imam Hussein and Karbala astounds outside observers at the same time that it puts the Iranian government in a major predicament. Torn between bureaucracy and allegiance to Islam, Tehran is continually revising its emigration policies, periodically opening and then closing its border. Meanwhile people are dying, and chaos reigns at crossing points.

Unknown-1Bahman Kiarostami (born 1978) lives and works in Tehran, as a documentary film director, editor and cinematographer. He made his first documentary ‘Morteza Momayez: Father of Iranian Contemporary Graphic Design’ in 1996. Most of his documentaries focus on valuing and legitimizing processes in art, but also cover the visible yet obscured and unnoticed details which define Iran’s post revolutionary visual culture.

With special thanks to Marjaneh Moghimi, Butimar Productions

Jan
30
Fri
SF Sketchfest 2015: Salute to Preston Sturges: “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” with guests Christopher Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer
January 30, 2015

SF Sketchfest was founded in 2001 by David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney as a way to showcase the talents of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People and White Noise Radio Theatre. The festival debuted in January of 2002 at the Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco and has grown rapidly into a nationally recognized comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy.

Salute to Preston Sturges: “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” with guests Christopher Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer

Chris_Michael_Harry_pressPreston Sturges (1898-1959) was an American playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker who was considered by many to be the father of the screwball comedy. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for “The Great McGinty” and went on to write and direct comedy classics including “Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Lady Eve,” “The Palm Beach Story,” “Hail the Conquering Hero,” “Unfaithfully Yours,” and the film that will be screened at this salute, the uproarious 1944 film “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.” One of the highlights of Sturges’s work is his use of an unofficial ensemble ‘stock company’ of the greatest comedic character actors and actresses of the era. There is a parallel in the work of special guests Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, who are key members of a modern ‘company’ of performers who have created amazing ensemble comedies starting with “This Is Spinal Tap” and leading up through “Best In Show,” “Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” “Family Tree” and “A Mighty Wind.” They’ll present the film live in-person.  

$25 All Ages

Performers:

Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest directed and starred in “Waiting For Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration,” all of which he wrote with Eugene Levy. He also directed and starred in “This Is Spinal Tap,” which he wrote with Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner. He received a Grammy Award for the soundtrack of “Best in Show” and an Emmy for “The Lily Tomlin Special.” Most recently, he co-created and directed HBO’s “Family Tree” with Jim Piddock.

Michael McKean

Recent New York theatre includes “The Band Wagon,” “All The Way,” “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man,” “King Lear,” “Our Town,” “Superior Donuts,” “The Homecoming,” “The Pajama Game,” “A Second Hand Memory,” “Hairspray.” He is the first million dollar Celebrity Jeopardy champion. Theatre World Award for Rupert Holmes’s Accomplice; Grammy for title song A Mighty Wind, written with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy; Oscar nomination for Best Song A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow, written with Annette O’Toole.

Harry Shearer

Actor…author…director…comedian…musician…philosopher…political satirist…record-company owner…and one of the best “voices” in the business (just ask “The Simpsons”), Harry Shearer is a comic personality and modern day renaissance man.

For the past two decades he has enjoyed enormous success and planted the fruits of his talents in the heads of millions worldwide thanks to his voice work for “The Simpsons,” where he plays a stable of characters: most notably Mr. Burns, Smithers, and insufferable neighbour Ned Flanders.

Feb
2
Mon
SF Sketchfest 2015: “Groundhog Day” on Groundhog Day: Film Screening and special Tobolowsky Files with Stephen Tobolowsky
February 2, 2015

SF Sketchfest was founded in 2001 by David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney as a way to showcase the talents of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People and White Noise Radio Theatre. The festival debuted in January of 2002 at the Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco and has grown rapidly into a nationally recognized comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy.

“Groundhog Day” on Groundhog Day: Film Screening and special Tobolowsky Files with Stephen Tobolowsky

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film PostersWhat better way to celebrate a giant rodent seeing his shadow than a screening of the beloved Bill Murray deja vu comedy “Groundhog Day?” SF Sketchfest is thrilled to screen the film on the day itself, followed by a special Tobolowsky Files, the award-winning storytelling show and podcast by veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (who stars in the film as the hilariously irritation Ned “BING!” Ryerson).

GD-bill-murrayDon’t miss your chance to relive this special film over and over again and listen to engaging yarns by a true master storyteller!

$20 All Ages

Performer:

Stephen Tobolowky

avatar-5.jpg.320x320pxStephen Tobolowsky is one of the leading character actors in film today. USA Today listed Stephen as the 9th most frequently seen actor in movies. He has appeared over 200 movies and television shows. He is best known for playing Ned Ryerson in “Groundhog Day,” Sammy Jankis in “Memento,” Werner Brandes in “Sneakers,” Happy Chapman in “Garfield,” and Mr. Bates in “Freaky Friday.”

On television, he has played Tor Ekland on “Seinfeld,” Hugo Jarry on “Deadwood,” Bob Bishop on “Heroes,” and is currently seen as Sandy Ryerson on “Glee” and Stu Beggs on “Californication.” He wrote and performed “Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party” that premiered at the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen. He wrote “True Stories” with David Byrne and Beth Henley. He has written and performed his stories on the “The Tobolowsky Files” for Slashfilm.com and on iTunes. They are also broadcast weekly on KUOW in Seattle and on WFPL in Louisville. PRI (Public Radio International) is now producing broadcasts of his stories to air on stations across the country.

Feb
8
Sun
SF Indie Fest: FREE
February 8, 2015 - February 14, 2015

Local Filmmakers!

UnknownThis stirring, up-close documentary follows a group of Oakland teens who find personal liberation and mutual support through dance.  These dynamic young people face the very real challenges of poverty, alienation, HIV, sexual abuse, and gang violence, but they are dedicated to tell the truth, even if it hurts, because the truth will in some degree set them free.  Free captures their struggles as they turn the courage, determination, and stamina demanded of their lives into a contagious joy.   – CM

Directed by David Collier and Suzanne LaFetra | USA 2014 | 73 min

Plays with: STAND, Melanie D’Andrea, 21 min

F R E E Trailer from F R E E on Vimeo.

Feb
14
Sat
SF Indie Fest: ALL CONTAINED IN VOID
February 14, 2015 - February 17, 2015

World Premiere!! Local Filmmaker 

ACIV 1This intriguing and thought provoking experimental documentary crawls over, under and inside the leftover ‘dead zones’ of the California road and freeway system, finding an eclectic mix of people who inhabit, explore, and re-purpose these liminal spaces, sometimes uncovering a world to call their own.  Urban planners, artists and engineers reflect on the sociological considerations about the built environment, including interviews with KALW’S Roman Mars (host of the popular architecture and design podcast “99 Percent Invisible”) and John Law (co-founder of Burning Man and the Cacophony Society).   -CM

Directed by Whit Missildine | USA 2015 | 52 min

 

Plays wth: Broken City Poets, Ariane Wu, 29 min

All Contained In Void – Trailer from Whit Missildine on Vimeo.

SF Indie Fest: BEYOND CLUELESS
February 14, 2015 - February 19, 2015

West Coast Premiere!!

beyond clueless 2 heathersFollowing 1995’s Clueless, Hollywood made hundreds of movies exploring the teenage psyche. Most were set in the drama-rich landscape of high school, complete with jocks, cheerleaders, freaks, geeks, and countless sub cliques in between.  Narrated by cult teen star Fairuza Balk, this stylish film takes us into the soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of 200 modern coming-of-age classics, exploring themes of alienation, loss of self, and scouring the often amusing myriad of emotional tempests that dominate the teenage years.   -CM

Directed by Charlie Lyne | UK 2014 | 89 min

SF Indie Fest: POWER BALLAD SING A LONG
February 14, 2015

Anti-Valentine’s Day Mass Karaoke Party

08_EdpSome of us just can’t stand Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, there’s an entire genre of music made just for our pain, and it happens to be the most badass music ever: POWER BALLADS! This Valentine’s Day we’ll sing, we’ll hold lighters in the air and sway, we’ll pound our fists at the sky in defiance of those who would dare not love us. This new playlist for 2015 features the music of Journey, Guns ‘n Roses, Bon Jovi, Warrant and more. -JR

This year’s event kicks off with a live performance by sketch comedy troupe The Mess followed by a new playlist featuring the music of Journey, Guns ‘n Roses, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Warrant, and much, much more. – Jeff Ross

Includes live performance by sketch comedy troupe THE MESS.

1NSQdtxFrom the people who brought you HOT MESS comes THE MESS, a sketch comedy troupe based in California’s East Bay with writers, dancers, singers, actors, and mischief makers from all over the globe. This collective of rabble-rousers create original scripted shows from the ground up with a focus on performances that celebrate the Bay Area and all it’s ridiculousness.

Feb
20
Fri
2015 Noise Pop Film Series: Ollies, Dollies & Drones: A Survey of Spike Jonze’s Skate Videos
February 20, 2015

NOISE POP EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE!

Q&A with special guests

Spike Jonze PosterOne of the best filmmakers of his generation (and indisputably the greatest music video director ever) Spike Jonze learned his craft in the last remaining Wild West for filmmakers growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s – skateboard videos. From early work with World Industries through his contemporary contributions to Lakai and Girl (of which he is a co-owner) Spike’s grasp on the formal restraints of the genre – namely, a loose interpretation of trespass and copyright laws – were immediate, and the boundary shattering imagination he applied to his skate videos changed the game forever. As skate videos, they’re thrilling and hilarious and super cool; viewed as a sort of sketchbook for a restlessly creative artist sharpening his craft, they’re invaluable. Join us for a survey of Spike’s skateboard videos.

Director: Spike Jonze. 2014. Digital. 90 minutes.

 

 

 

Mar
10
Tue
Nippon Nights #7: Branded to Kill by Seijun Suzuki
March 10, 2015

“Reputedly one of Seijun Suzuki’s finest works and unquestionably very stylish in its ‘Scope framings (Jim Jarmusch copied a few shots from it in his Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)”

-Jonathan Rosenbaum,  Chicago Reader

Unknown-5A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.

Directed by Seijun Suzuki, 91min, 1967, Japan

Branded to Kill review – genuinely bizarre Japanese thriller

Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a very 1960s metaphysical thriller, a cult item treasured by connoisseurs as the kind of film that – for all its delirious craziness – could even be a truer product of Japan than the higher artefacts of Ozu and Kurosawa. It is an erotic and dreamlike pulp noir, and its disdain for any sort of conventional plot infuriated the director’s employers at the Nikkatsu studio. Jô Shishido is Hanada, a hired killer with a sexual fetish for the smell of boiled rice; a bungled job brings him into mysterious contact with Misako (Anne Mari), a woman who hires him for three hits. He becomes obsessed with her, and finds himself in a duel with the legendary top killer, the No 1 (Kôji Nanbara). The obvious comparisons are with Melville’s Le Samouraï or Godard’s Pierrot le Fou – this film holds up against these perfectly well – with hints of John Boorman’s Point Blank and Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. It is, however, closer to Luis Buñuel in its gleefully disquieting insistence on sudden horrific closeups: the glass eye removed from the skull, the bullet hole, the bleeding head in the toilet bowl. Where Godard had his jump-cut, Suzuki has his disorientating ellipses, his sudden dreamlike time-slips. Genuinely fascinating and bizarre.

Peter Bradshaw, The Gurdian

Apr
16
Thu
Nippon Nights #8: GHOST IN THE SHELL
April 16, 2015

Ghost in the Shell stands as one of the pioneering films of anime history, one that captures the imagination with its intricate story and dazzles the eyes with its gorgeous animation.

-Jeff Beck, Examiner.com

MovieClipping (53)The year is 2034 and the face of terrorism has changed. No longer restricted to the limits of the physical world, the war on terror has exploded onto the net. In an attempt to confront this new threat, an elite counter-terrorism and anti-crime unit was formed: Public Security Section 9.

2ebc1db3-e9e4-4788-9062-a50cf46c4cc5-1020x612Two years have since passed when the team’s commander: Major Motoko Kusanagi, resigned from her post. After a rash of mysterious suicides Section 9 is forced to confront the ‘Puppeteer,’ a dangerous hacker with unsurpassed skills.

imagesAs their investigation of this terrorist threat takes them deeper into the bowels of a potential government conspiracy, Section 9 once again crosses paths with the Major, but is her sudden reappearance more than a coincidence, or is she somehow connected to the ‘Puppeteer’?

No one is above suspicion in this action-packed continuation of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex saga!

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, 83min., 1995, Japan, English subtitled.