January – February 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
Preston 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
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.
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.
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.
Well it’s soon time for SUPER BOWL FORTY-SOMETHING and as always, SF IndieFest is bringing you the funniest, non-footballest, most-factually-incorrect Super Bowl broadcast presentation out there: SUPER BOWL: MEN IN TIGHTS. Come on down to the Mission and pound your guts full of bloody marys, beers, and snacks as some of SF’s best comedians provide comedic color commentary for the game but leave the commercials untouched because they are Holy and Good.
With Hosts David Cairns & David Gborie
Special Guest Commentators include:
Aparna Nancherla of FX’s TOTALLY BIASED
Keith Lowell Jensen of THE COEXIST? COMEDY TOUR
Kaeli Quick of ENDGAMES IMPROV
Trevor Hill of MISERY INDEX
George Chen of the CINECAVE
Andrew Holmgren of the FUNGEON
“Groundhog Day” on Groundhog Day: Film Screening and special Tobolowsky Files with Stephen Tobolowsky
What 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).
$20 All Ages
Stephen 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.
The Synesthesia Film Festival is a monthly one-night film festival that screens the best independent short films, student films, web series, documentaries, music videos, experimental films and animations from around the world.
The goal is to bring an eclectic mix filmmakers together to mingle, share ideas, and collaborate on future projects.
This film festival is for filmmakers, writers, producers, directors, actors, editors, and anyone who loves indie movies.
-Mingling with the filmmakers will start at 6:30pm in lobby.
-Film screenings begin at 7pm.
-Afterparty at 9:30 PM down the street at a local bar or restaurant.
The Afterparty is an informal event where we can eat, drink, and just have fun talking about the screening.
At the end of the month the Film Festival panel will tally up the scores and announce the winners of the Audience Choice Award at the following screening.
The winners of the Audience Choice Award will receive $100 in prize money.
With a remake in the works by Twentieth Century Fox, a presentation of this cheesiest of all cheesy sci fi flicks seems to be in order. Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow and Sam Jones are the stars, with a sound track by Queen. Flash Gordon, local football hero, finds himself on the planet Mongo battling Emperor Ming the Merciless to save the planet Earth from destruction. Catsuited temptresses, bad guys into S&M, horny robots, phallic space ships; what we have here is high camp in PVC hot pants.-JR
Directed by Mike Hodges | USA 1980 | 111 min
Channeling the inner recesses of our tv-addled brains, the SF IndieFest seeks to settle the age-old question – what was REALLY better, the 1990 line-up of ABC’s TGIF Friday night pre-teen programming block (Full House, Family Matters, etc.) or the absurdist oasis that was Nickelodeon’s 1993 iteration of SNICK (we’re talking Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren and Stimpy Show, and Are You Afraid of the Dark?) – MK
West Coast Premiere
This side-splitting comedy tells the story of Tom Murphy, your average Irish-American lad. For Tom, the perfect woman is beautiful, hardworking, family-oriented and like his parents, 100 percent Irish. So when his best friend Marty decides to get married in Ireland,Tom sets off to find himself a real Irish lass. Tom’s plan to find his dreams takes him on a journey of discovery to a land that defies his original expectations. He soon discovers that the grass isn’t always greener, even in Ireland. -JR
Directed by Sean Lackey | USA 2014 | 94 min
West Coast Premiere!!
Middle-aged Dawn is finally learning how to sell stuff on eBay. She lives in a glorified pit stop town, except with the “glory” part removed. One day at an estate sale auction, she meets a man with sad eyes. It’s his mom’s stuff for sale – she just died. They start to hang out. Tired Moonlight is a true gem – a couple of weeks in the lives of a half dozen folks in a part of the country you wouldn’t bother to stop in. -MK
Directed by Britni West | USA 2015 | 80 min
Britni West | USA 2015 | 80 min
Wild Canaries centers on bumbling twenty-something Brooklynite, Barri, as she becomes convinced that foul play was involved in the death of her elderly neighbor. Meanwhile, her thirty-something, jaded and grumpy husband-to-be, Noah, does everything in his power to reign in what he sees as foolish speculation and meddlesome tendencies on the part of his fiance. Enter the couple’s roommate Jean (an outstanding turn by Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat), whose maybe-not-so-platonic feelings towards Barri increase tensions in the household and may help to inform her belief that Barri is on to something.
As the plot thickens, so too does the pre-marital discord. An outstanding ensemble cast fleshes out the rest of the film including Kevin Corrigan (Martin Scorsese’s The Departed) as the decedent’s vaguely creepy son and Jason Ritter as the couple’s boozing artist landlord who has secrets of his own.
Wild Canaries’ interplay between genres and themes forms an elegant and uproarious whole that showcases the filmmakers’ many talents, upping the ante on their previous works. A highly entertaining and carefully crafted film that gleefully and smartly references the likes of Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery and Peter Bogdanovich’sWhat’s Up Doc? and their genre-classic forebearers, while maintaining a thoroughly modern sense of life in 21st century New York. As if the pressures of big city living and an impending marriage weren’t enough, there just might be a killer loose in the building! –Maryland Film Fest.
Starring Sophia Takal, Alia Shawkat, Lawrence Michael Levine and Kevin Corrigan.
Directed by Lawrence Michael Levine, USA, 2014, 98 min
“Napoleon Dynamite by way of Taxi Driver”
Stuart Simpson’s Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is a strange character study flaunting wicked humour and mounting unease. Warren is an ice cream man who lives alone with his cat and tunes in daily to his favorite soap opera. However, after an awful accident, Warren’s life begins to spiral out of control: he becomes dangerously obsessed with his favourite soap star, a local drug dealer starts muscling in on his patch, and his sanity begins to disintegrate alarmingly. – KJ
Directed by Stuart Simpson | Australia 2013 | 85 min