March – April 2014
Representing the only free and public, performing- and visual-arts high school in San Francisco, the Media (Film/Video) Department at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts has been dedicated, for over 20 years, to cultivating innovators and experimentors, cinematic visionaries who work across genres to create short narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental films.
Using a number of methods and techniques, articulating personally and socially relevant content utilizing the classroom, school, and the greater Bay Area as both location and inspiration, these diverse shorts will challenge your preconceptions of “the student film.” This program will showcase a variety of youth works from the past 10 years–written, directed, shot, and edited entirely by high-school students –and will raise money for the department’s upcoming class trip to New York City.
Thursday, March 27
CHEAP THRILLS follows the one-night descent of two friends participating in a series of escalating paid dares to entertain a wealthy couple with a twisted sense of humor. After down-and-out family man loses his job and is served an eviction notice, he runs into his long-lost deadbeat pal at a bar. As the two drink their troubles away, they are lured by a couple celebrating a birthday, who shell out obscene wads of cash in exchange for taking on harmless bets. The party continues to a strip club and eventually to the couple’s home, where the cash payoffs increase wildly as the challenges become more outrageous, hilarious, illegal and even downright inhuman. Drugs and laughter give way to sex, firearms, felonies and self-destruction. Directed by E.L. Katz. 2014. Digital. 9:30pm.
Thursday, March 27
Valencia the novel put the experiences of an entire generation of lesbians on paper through the lens of one hard-loving and hard-drinking dyke. Punk rockers, riot grrrls, and simple, artsy freaks suddenly had a heroine to look up to and a mecca to head toward. This highly anticipated film adaptation of Valencia gives a whole new generation of fabulous, artsy, genderqueer folks an opportunity to reinterpret and reinvent the tales of this iconic novel one chapter at a time. Various directors. 2013. Digital.
Friday, March 28- Thursday, April 3
SAN FRANCISCO PREMIERE!
CHEAP THRILLS follows the one-night descent of two friends participating in a series of escalating paid dares to entertain a wealthy couple with a twisted sense of humor. After down-and-out family man loses his job and is served an eviction notice, he runs into his long-lost deadbeat pal at a bar. As the two drink their troubles away, they are lured by a couple celebrating a birthday, who shell out obscene wads of cash in exchange for taking on harmless bets. The party continues to a strip club and eventually to the couple’s home, where the cash payoffs increase wildly as the challenges become more outrageous, hilarious, illegal and even downright inhuman. Drugs and laughter give way to sex, firearms, felonies and self-destruction. Directed by E.L. Katz. 2014. Digital.
SAN FRANCISCO PREMIERE! SKYPE Q&A w/ FILMMAKER ELIZA HITTMAN on MONDAY, APRIL 7!
In the middle of an uneventful summer on the outskirts of Brooklyn, Lila, a lonely fourteen-year-old from Gravesend, turns her attentions to Sammy, an older thug she sees at Rockaway beach. Wanting something to brag about, she weaves a story about him and becomes fixated on seeing it realized. When her attempts fail, she propels the lie even further, claiming they’ve had sex. During her sexual quest, Lila turns from predator to prey. IT FELT LIKE LOVE captures the confusing emotions and developing identity of an adolescent girl that explores what could euphemistically be called love. Starring Gina Piersanti. Directed by Eliza Hittman. 2013. Digital.
Hailed by Michael Moore as “one of the best documentaries about a band that I’ve ever seen” and by Pitchfork as “the funniest, most meta music movie since SPINAL TAP,” MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS is a truly hilarious, unusual, and moving film about two brothers, Matt and Tom Berninger.
Matt, the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band The National, finally finds himself flush with success. His younger brother, Tom, is a loveable slacker – a filmmaker and metal-head still living with his parents in Cincinnati. On the eve of The National’s biggest tour to date, Matt invites Tom to work for the band as a roadie, unaware of Tom’s plan to film the entire adventure.
What starts as a rock documentary soon becomes a surprisingly honest portrait of a charged relationship between two brothers, and the frustration of unfulfilled creative ambitions. Directed by Tom Berninger. Digital. 2013.
Winner of the Golden Bear, grand prize at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival!
“A fascinating, troubling portrait of maternal anxiety at its most smotheringly neurotic.”
– Washington Post
“Searing… …an engrossing character study and a biting social statement that works on so many levels, it’s hard to separate them all.” – San Francisco Chronicle
Călin Peter Netzer’s sharply crafted CHILD’S POSE pivots on a riveting performance by Luminita Gheorghiu (Best Supporting Actress, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Los Angeles Film Critics) as a steely, well-to-do Bucharest architect determined to keep her 30-something deadbeat son out of jail after a deadly car crash. How far will she go to convince the police, eyewitnesses and even the victim’s family that her son was not recklessly speeding? A spellbinding drama of social commentary and psychological realism, this caustic look into the corrupt heart of the Eastern European bourgeoisie twists into a brilliantly ambiguous study of obsessive motherly love. The Official Romanian Entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. Digital. 2013.
“Perversely engrossing thanks to Gheorghiu’s performance as the queen of denial.– Newsday
“A tour-de-force performance from Gheorghiu” – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Sunday, April 13
How did a casual party game designed for the family become one of the most watched fighters in the history of competitive gaming? From East Point Pictures, THE SMASH BROTHERS chronicles the saga of the small yet passionate community responsible for this transformation and provides a rare account of the real lives beyond the controller. The documentary series follows the top seven “smashers” of the last decade, and examines the shaping of the competitive Smash Brothers scene as it exists today. All profits will be donated to Child’s Play. Directed by Samox. 2013. Digital.
2 PM – 4:15 PM: Episodes 1-5 // 4:15 PM – 5 PM: Intermission and Q&A with director //
5 PM – 7:30 PM: Episodes 6-9
A FRAGILE TRUST tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism. In 2003 Blair was caught plagiarizing the work of other reporters and supplementing his own reporting with fabricated details in dozens of different stories published in the Times. The ensuing media frenzy left a major blemish on the history of the ‘Old Grey Lady’, which just a year earlier won a record 7 Pulitzer prizes for its coverage of 9/11. It was a spectacular fall for both Blair and the paper. The daily operations of the Times newsroom became a public spectacle as every major news outlet picked up the story and ran with it. The fact that Blair is African-American was emphasized again and again as accounts of the ‘Blair Affair’ served up sordid details in a soap-opera style tale of deception, drug abuse, racism, mental illness, hierarchy, white guilt, and power struggles inside the hallowed halls of the New York Times.
Through the course of the film, we follow Blair as he slowly unravels in the face of mounting pressures and distractions. Starting with his ‘reporting’ of the plagiarized article that ultimately lead to his undoing, we trace the rise and fall of this fascinating young reporter as he clings to his career at the Times even as he is losing his mind.
The Jayson Blair scandal is at the most basic level a compelling, character-driven narrative about an important chapter in the history of journalism. It is also a complex story about power, ethics, representation, race, and accountability in the mainstream media. Featuring exclusive interviews with everyone involved, including former Executive Editor Howell Raines and Blair himself, A FRAGILE TRUST is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring these deeper themes. With more and more publications moving to online-only formats and plagiarism on the rise, this cautionary tale about the slippery slope of ethical transgressions is more relevant than ever.