Calendar

Feb
14
Fri
SF IndieFest: ASPHALT WATCHES
February 14, 2014 - February 17, 2014

asphalt watches.jpg

 

Film Info
Director: Shayne Ehman
Seth Scriver
Film Category: Animated Feature
Running Time: 94
Country: Canada
Year of Release: 2013
Description

This autobiographical psychedelic animated road movie – and TIFF award winner – from underground comix darlings Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman follows characters Bucktooth Cloud and Skeleton Hat as they embark on a hilarious and frightening road trip, encountering strange people and happenings you could only find along the Canadian highway – a psychotic Santa Claus from Calgary, a small town beauty contest in Regina and a barrage of out-of-control hosers – all set to head-bopping beats.

“Though their work may call to mind late-night animated fare like South Park, Adult Swim’s Squidbillies and 12 oz. Mouse, Scriver and Ehman’s vision is daringly experimental and vibrantly unique. As with the best road movies, it’s not about where you are going, but the journey itself.Asphalt Watches is a trip in every sense of the word.” (Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, TIFF)

-Kier-la Janisse

Plays with the short film:

LOVES OF A CYCLOPS
Nathan Punwar | USA 2012 | 25mins. |Print Source: Nathan Punwar

Just another short film about a modern-day one-eyed man with a strange vision, an experimental scientist, and a former child-star narrator of books on tape.

Feb
15
Sat
SF IndieFest: ALMOST HUMAN
February 15, 2014 - February 17, 2014

almost_human.jpg

Film Info
Director: Joe Begos
Film Category: Narrative
Running Time: 80
Country: USA
Year of Release: 2013
Description

The year is 1987. Seth Hampton (Graham Skipper) and Mark Fisher (Josh Ethier, who also edited the film) are the best of friends. After a mysterious blue light consumes their home, Mark disappears. The entire town, including Mark’s girlfriend Jen (Vanessa Leigh), suspect that Seth had something to do with Mark’s disappearance. A few years later, Mark suddenly reappears. He is not the same person.

“In his feature debut, Begos mines a deep vein of influences— John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and Jeff Lieberman all come to mind— to craft a razor-sharp horror film that brings the best aspects of ‘80s horror forward into 21st century.” (Rodney Perkins, Fantastic Fest)

Almost Human is a raw indie film that delivers the splatter, drawing from many of the touchstones of cinematic shock for a refreshingly intense thriller bound to excite a new generation of moviegoers.” (Colin Geddes, TIFF)

-Kier-la Janisse

SF Indie Fest : THE CONGRESS
February 15, 2014

The Congress 1.jpg

Film Info
Director: Ari Folman
Film Category: Opening Night Film
Running Time: 122
Country: Israel
Year of Release: 2013
Description

“In The Congress, Robin Wright, playing a fictionalized version of herself, gets an offer from a major studio to sell her soul and cinematic identity so that she’ll be “scanned” and her digitalized alias can be used with no restrictions in all kinds of Hollywood films – even the most commercial ones that she previously refused. In exchange, she receives a massive financial reward, but most importantly, the studio can keep her forever young, for all eternity, in all her movies.

To say that Ari Folman’s The Congress has a lot going on is a massive understatement. It successfully presents an indictment of Hollywood’s age-old sexism and ageism while incorporating Stanislaw Lem’s somewhat accurate forecasting of a worldwide chemical dictatorship run by the leading pharmaceutical companies. Amazingly, Folman even manages to merge these ideas as Wright’s digitalized identity can be made into a drug, available for any fan, allowing them to see in their own minds any fantasy they can imagine.

Folman divides the film into thirds: two parts live action, one part animated, so that Folman, in his words, can “illustrate the transition made by the human mind between psychochemical influence and deceptive reality.” For him, this allows the freedom that animation can allow on “cinematic interpretation” and also provide a “cry for help and a profound cry of nostalgia for the old-time cinema we know and love.”

The Congress also stars Jon Hamm, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti and Danny Huston and is the most subversive, surreal, metacinematic experience of this year’s fest. “(James Shapiro, Fantastic Fest) -Kier-la Janisse
Plays with the short film:
BEASTS IN THE REAL WORLD
Sol Friedman | Canada 2013 | 8mins. | Print Source: ArtBeast Productions

Sol Friedman follows up his brilliant Love Songs From an Android and A Message From Your Robot President with this iconoclastic blend of documentary, animation and action fantasy about an exasperated amphibious creature recalling the adventure that led him to a sushi restaurant chopping block.

After catching Ari Folman’s amazing THE CONGRESS at the Brava Theater on Opening Night, stick around as San Diego’s VOKAB KOMPANY (hip hop/EDM/live band featuring electric violin), local outfit GENE WASHINGTON AND THE IRONSIDES (Stax/Motown Soul with a capital “S”) and DJ Junkyard (Litterbox) kick off this year’s festival some super great fun tunes! Your first drink is on us!

The event features a full bar and is all ages.

SF IndieFest: AN ANIMATED WORLD
February 15, 2014 - February 20, 2014

TLRTY_windowsill.jpg

 

Film Info
Film Category: Shorts Program
Running Time: 72
Year of Release: 2013
Description

Despite being one of the oldest forms of the moving image, there is no shortage of innovation when it comes to animation. This program features the best of new animation from around the world, with a wide range of styles from 8-bit cartoon to celluloid manipulation to rotoscoping the invisible. See humans learn to communicate at the dawn of time, an overture brought to life in inky black and white, and a man get his first (of many) colonoscopies, all rendered one frame at a time. -JW

Included Shorts
A Dream at The Edge of Land (8min) More
Humanexus (13min) More
Leviathan Ages (4min) More
Makor (4min) More
Medical Adventure Power!! (3min) More
A Ride Towards the Sea (Une balade a la mer) (4min) More
RPG OKC (10min) More
They Look Right Through You (10min) More
Tin (7min) More
Virtuos Virtuell (8min) More
A Walk in the Woods (1min) More
SF IndieFest: THE LOVE SONGS OF TIEDAN
February 15, 2014 - February 16, 2014

The_Love_Songs_of_Tiedan375x210.jpg

 

Film Info
Director: Hao Jie
Film Category: Narrative
Running Time: 91
Country: China
Year of Release: 2013
Premier: US Premiere
Description

IndieFest is proud to present independent Chinese director Hao Jie’s latest film, a raucously rollicking crowd-pleaser in The Love Songs of Tiedan (Mei Jie). With the world’s film-festival landscape dominated by downbeat fare, distinctive and talented oddballs like Hao are more necessary than ever!

 A bawdy tribute to the Er-ren-tai form of musical performance associated with Hao’s home region in the north-west near the Mongolian border, this film is a colorful, fun, and hugely accessible slice of backwater ethnography. Winner of Best Asian Film Award from the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan. Official selection at Tokyo FILMeX and the international film festivals of: Rotterdam, Hong Kong, San Sebastian, and Vancouver.

“Co-written with Ge Xia, Hao’s script ambitiously covers a time-span of several decades, though so offhand is the attention to period detail that it’s hard to be sure exactly when anything is taking place. The only specified date is an on-screen caption informing us that in 1966 Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution outlawed Er-ren-tai, a two person form of mini-opera whose lyrics often deal with adults-only subjects: ‘Have Sex With Sister-in-Law’ is a typical title.

Taking their cue from the Er-ren-tai songs themselves, which express passionate feelings in bursts of hyper-stylized intensity, Hao and his Korean editor Baek Seung Hoon sock over short scenes packed with freewheeling incident and comedy, sustain high energy levels throughout. But the film’s style is less berserk than it superficially appears, cinematographer Du Pu’s hyperactive digital cameras not only doing justice to the stunningly varied terrain of Shanxi province but also coming up with some smart, striking compositions in between vibrant hand-held evocations of hectic village life.

Seldom far from some kind of absurdity and never, ever dull, The Love Songs of Tiedan isn’t for those who like their ethnographic cinema tidy, ordered and sensible, or who might be distracted by the protagonist suddenly aging about 30 years in what’s supposed to be a one-decade transition – the delightfully pixie-like Shi somehow turning into the careworn, but model-handsome Feng. A dynamic stage presence, this older Tiedan proves much more than a ruggedly pretty face, his character’s bisexuality presented with a matter-of- factness that will likely offend China’s official censors while amusing most everyone else”. -The Hollywood Reporter

-Jeff M. Giordano

 

SF IndieFest: YOU’LL BE A MAN (Tu Seras un Homme)
February 15, 2014 - February 16, 2014

TSUH-site-photo-1.jpg

Film Info
Director: Benoît Cohen
Film Category: Narrative
Running Time: 86
Country: France
Year of Release: 2013
Description

Down-and-out Theo, 20, has no choice but to take the menial job of babysitting resistant little Leo, 10, whose negligent parents have left him socially awkward. The two strike a deal to leave each other alone, not realizing that they need each other more than they know.About one-third of the way through Benoit Cohen’s You’ll Be a Man, viewers might think they know exactly what’s going on. Leo is a somber child, not permitted to play outdoors because of an earlier injury. Lighthearted and affectionate, Theo brings joy to the melancholy house and provides lonely Leo with a much-needed companion. But the film soon breaks free of the familiar Mary Poppins formula and heads for more treacherous territory. Best Foreign Feature: Arizona International Film Festival, Colorado FF, Harlem FF, Philadelphia Independent FF, and Oaxaca FF. This film is family-friendly.

-Jeff M. Giordano

Feb
16
Sun
SF IndieFest: Blue Ruin
February 16, 2014 - February 20, 2014

BLUERUIN_Radius_1.jpg

 

Film Info
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Film Category: Closing Night Film
Running Time: 92
Country: USA
Year of Release: 2013
Description

Back in 2007, SF Indie played Jeremy Saulnier’s riotous horror comedy Murder Party, and after making a name for himself as a cinematographer in the interim – most notably for the dreamy narratives of Matthew Porterfield (Putty Hill) – Saulnier now returns to the director’s seat, with frequent collaborator Macon Blair turning in a transfixing performance as Blue Ruin’s damaged lead, Dwight.

Dwight is a soft-spoken, somewhat shell-shocked beach hobo who lives in his blue car on the west coast, just trying to keep his head down and limit interactions with the outside world. When he is informed by a sympathetic cop that the man imprisoned for murdering his parents has just been released, Dwight vows to get revenge, and sets off on a road trip back to his old haunts to give the killer a different kind of homecoming.

“[Saulnier’s] dark revenge tale flaunts its small-town strangeness, but it also keeps a sharp eye on the human beings at the story’s center. Blue Ruin may occasionally be midnight-movie lurid, but not at the expense of deeper questions about vengeance’s diminishing returns.” (Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine)

-Kier-la Janisse

SF IndieFest: PROXY
February 16, 2014 - February 20, 2014

proxy_04.jpg

Film Info
Director: Zack Parker
Film Category: Narrative
Running Time: 120
Country: USA
Year of Release: 2013
Description

“Ready-to-pop pregnant Esther Woodhouse (Alexia Rasmussen) is walking home from an obstetrician’s appointment when she’s brutally attacked in the street by a hooded stranger. It is a harsh and surprisingly graphic opening— one likely to have some movie patrons running for the door— but marks only the beginning of the pitch-black psychosexual terrain to be explored in Zack Parker’s fourth feature, Proxy.

The hospital counselors urge the seemingly friendless would-be mother to attend grief counselling. There, her slouching, kicked-dog cautiousness is enlivened by a random conversation with fellow-griever Melanie Michaels (Alexa Havins), whose demeanor is comparatively perky given the context (and whose husband is played by IndieFest fave Joe Swanberg). Melanie is a natural nurturer and over a few confidence-sharing coffee dates, Esther starts to morbidly fixate on her. But when she spies Melanie from afar in a retail shop acting out a bizarre scenario, the revelation will give the damaged Esther a new, dark purpose.

Director and co-writer Zack Parker (Scalene, 2011) is no stranger to complex emotional mysteries. Here the netting of the plot is punctuated by shocking bursts of violence, including a slow-motion show-stopping centerpiece filled with enough blood-spray and Donaggio-esque swelling strings to warrant a gleeful applause.

The intense experiential space of the film is one that can be compared to headtrips like Altman’sThree Women or even Drew Tobia’s See You Next Tuesday (also playing this year’s IndieFest), but the execution and the subjects it dares to expose make it wholly unique. The film keeps the audience guessing, and even though each revelation is deftly supported by calculated clues, the suspense remains terrifically palpable throughout, with any kind of pat psychological précis avoided in favour of a deliberately sustained ambiguity.” (Kier-La Janisse, Fangoria Online)

-Kier-la Janisse

SF IndieFest: STRANGER/DANGER
February 16, 2014 - February 19, 2014

Clown with gun.jpg

 

Film Info
Film Category: Shorts Program
Running Time: 80
Year of Release: 2013
Description

It’s that something you can’t quite put your finger on— the feeling that something bad is about to happen, but you can’t do anything to stop it. The strange, the dangerous, the foreboding and ominous collide in this eclectic collection of shorts, which includes (but is not limited to) clown cops, UFOs, a dead goldfish, miniature houses, a step-by-step guide to uploading your consciousness to the internet, human/monster love triangles, and one very talented Theremin player. BYO Kool-Aid and become one of us, one of us! -JW

Included Shorts
#Postmodem (10min) More
Break (4min) More
Casimiro Effect (Efeito Casimiro) (15min) More
Love (Liebe) (4min) More
Mr. Grillo: The Thereminist (20min) More
Mr. Lamb (15min) More
Through The Tubes (12min) More
SF IndieFest: THE WAIT
February 16, 2014 - February 19, 2014

The Wait 1.jpg

 

Film Info
Director: M Blash
Film Category: Narrative
Running Time: 96
Country: USA
Year of Release: 2013
Description

An enigmatic phone call from a psychic catapults a family into a state of suspended belief while waiting for their recently deceased mother to be resurrected. One sister (Chloe Sevigny)believes the claim, and the other (Jena Malone, also a narrator of this year’s selection Teenage) staunchly opposes it until she encounters a chance at love giving her hope that anything, even resurrection, is possible. A discordant struggle between sisters plays out in a world where the virtual and real converge.

“(A) surreal – and stunningly shot – backdrop of isolation and immersion, beauty and loss.” (Austin Chronicle).

The Wait … is nothing short of magical.” (The Portable) .

“An unusual film, with a complex and layered aesthetic … grounded by a beautiful script in which the actors convincingly portray a very real and mournful time in their lives.” (PopBytes).

-Kier-la Janisse