Shortlisted for the Oscars in the International Feature category!
In a mountainous town in rural Mexico, young Ana lives with her mother, who works in the poppy fields harvesting opium. The region offers natural splendor and small pleasures for Ana and her two best friends, Maria and Paula, yet the area’s inhabitants are gripped by a fear that is for now incomprehensible to the girls: drug cartels rule the countryside, and they regularly kidnap teenage girls for trafficking, leaving their families bereft of hope or closure. In her delicately wrought yet devastating first fiction feature, adapted from the 2014 novel by Jennifer Clement, Tatiana Huezo charts Ana’s growth from childhood to adolescence, steeping viewers in both the lyrical beauty of youth and the creeping terror of adult reality. Huezo’s film features an extraordinary cast of young actors and intimate camerawork by Dariela Ludlow, breathing naturalism into a world of desperation and despair.
A film by Tatiana Huezo. 2021. Mexico/Germany/Brazil/Qatar. Spanish with English subtitles. 110 minutes.
Shortlisted for the Oscars in the International Feature category!
The second fiction film by Panamanian director Abner Benaim (Invasion, Ruben Blades Is Not My Name) stars Mexican actress Ilse Salas (Güeros, The Good Girls) as Alicia, a woman whose seemingly perfect life was turned upside-down by the sudden death of her six-year-old son. Alicia’s grief is plagued by guilt, which has made her disassociate from society, from married life, and from herself. Now she lives in the Old Quarter of Panama City, a rich colonial enclave surrounded by the city’s poorest neighborhoods. There she meets Chief (Fernando Xavier De Casta), a street-smart 13-year-old who takes care of cars in front of her apartment and insists on getting paid for his job. Alicia keeps a safe distance from him, until one night Chief arrives at Alicia’s apartment bleeding from a gunshot wound and begs her to let him inside. Winner of the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards at the Guadalajara Film Festival, Plaza Catedral questions how far each of us would go to help a stranger. In a heartbreaking turn that substantiates the reality of gun violence addressed on screen, the film’s young protagonist was shot to death just months before the release of the film. “Reality intruded upon the film in the most tragic way,” said Benaim. “Fernando’s untimely death is harrowingly symbolic of a fractured society driven by violence and has become an inexorable part of Plaza Catedral‘s message.”
Dir. Abner Benaim. 2021, 94 min. Panama/Mexico/Colombia. In Spanish with English subtitles. With Ilse Salas, Fernando Xavier De Casta.
February 3, 2022 @ 12:00 am – February 10, 2022 @ 11:45 pm
SF IndieFest will once again bring the freshest new independent films and digital programs from around the world to San Francisco audiences. This year’s festival includes 42 shorts and 26 features from 10 countries.
There will be 20 live presentations that will take place at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. All programs, with the exception of CATCH THE FAIR ONE, will screen virtually on demand during the festival.
The program will be broken down into Big Nights, Local Films, Documentaries, International Indies, American Indies, and Shorts Programs.
Thursday February 3
*OPENING NIGHT FILMS*
The Sleeping Negro • 7pm
Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.
The young black man, simply identified as “Man,” must resolve the personal meaning of his blackness when his white boss orders him to commit fraud to benefit the corporation. Struggling with an overwhelming sense of shame for going through with the illegal demand, Man seeks consolation by discussing his unease with a black former friend and his white fiancé. Those conversations lead only to further confusion and frustrations…
Following on the footstep of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate Black story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America.
Across (Short Film)
A grieving father’s journey over a bridge goes awry after he picks up a homeless veteran.
Catch The Fair One • 9:15pm
In this absorbing revenge thriller backed by executive producer Darren Aronofsky, a Native American woman embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister. The former boxer intentionally gets entangled in a human trafficking operation in order to retrace the steps of her kid sister and work her way up the chain of command to find the man responsible.
Real life US boxing world champion Kali Reis plays the fearsome protagonist, delivering a raw breakout performance in a role that she co-wrote with the filmmaker. And Josef Wladyka, who won the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival with his debut Manos Sucias, lends an assured directorial eye to his second feature. The ruthless world of human trafficking is brought to life here with gripping suspense, immaculate cinematography and an emotional depth that resonates long after the end credits roll. —Lucy Mukerjee, Tribeca
Friday February 4th
Have A Nice Life • 7pm
After hitting a dead end in life, Indian American housewife Jyothi (Jagathi Kamalakanthan) meets a young stoner musician Sophie (Lucy Kaminsky) at a pawn shop. Soon after they find their lives unexpectedly linked through a wild, surreal road trip—on the run from the law together. Like a comedically offbeat Thelma & Louise, it’s the unlikely story of two lost souls… with confrontations, recriminations, and a full-blown Bollywood style dance number.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break • 9:15pm
Paul is set on winning the big national talent show. But when the actions of five selfish people cause him to miss his audition and ruin his dream, he sets out to seek deathly revenge. It’s 1 lunch break, 5 spectacular murders. As the bodies begin to stack, Dood becomes internet famous, and infamously hunted by the police.
Saturday February 5
Cat Daddies • 2:30pm
A heartwarming collection of stories that follow eight unique men whose lives have been changed by their love for cats.
These “cat dads” from all over the country include a group of firefighters, a stunt man, a truck driver, a homeless man, a Bay Area tech worker, a schoolteacher whose cat becomes a viral sensation, and an actor/Instagram influencer. These men couldn’t be more different, but they share an unconditional love of their beloved pets. Cat Daddies is a refreshing and timely exploration of modern masculinity and the unlikely bond between man and cat.
Shorts One: Journey • 4:45pm
A collection of short films including:
Bird Keeper dir. Linda Dahlem – Young Lumen finds herself captured in a surreal world between death and life. Guided by the dreamcatcher she has to face her inner self and make a tough choice before she is able to see the light that brings her back home.
Lux Noctis dir. Damiana Acuña – In a post apocalyptical matriarchal community, grieving Lina faces her trial to bring light or perish to the darkness. Mara’s act of compassion pushes Lina to overcome herself and create an unprecedented amount of light.
Prittyboi dir. Nicolas Collins – a docu-style music video which follows two lovebirds on a romantic getaway as they traverse the beautiful Bay Area. They go thrift shopping, play fight with ice cream cones and take in the Marin County landscapes.
Sammy & Quinn dir. Christopher Coppola – Sammy, the little brother, searches the streets of San Francisco to find Quinn, the older brother, to bring him home for Thanksgiving. Quinn, who suffers from mental health issues, has been missing for 5 years. He’s been on an imaginary quest to find his sublime Dulcinea melody. Sammy decides to help his older brother find his Dulcinea with the hope his love and dedication can somehow heal him and bring him back to the family.
The Devil Will Run dir. Noah Glenn – When a seven year old boy named Shah finds a hole in his back yard, he worries that it may be where the Devil gets in and out. His big brother teases and bullies him about this fear, leading Shah to bottle it up and shoulder his anxiety in silence. Shah’s best friend Nella is the only person who usually gets him, but he’s afraid this may be too much for even her to understand.
The Phoenix dir. Regina Pigsley -After successfully acquiring superpowers, a young girl attempts to fix her parents’ marriage. In the end, she learns that superpowers can’t fix everything.
This Side Up • 7pm
A struggling screenwriter is dumped by his high school sweetheart. Having no sense of direction in his life, he moves into a storage unit, where he figures out life.
All My Friends Hate Me • 9:15pm
A college reunion goes awry when Pete suspects his friends may be out to get him… As their weekend getaway grows more and more uncomfortable, should Pete be worried about his safety, or is it all in his head?
All My Friends Hate Me is a hilariously smart story of one man’s paranoia, so thick with suspicion that the lines between truth and simple insecurity become fuzzier with each passing minute. Screenwriter and star, Tom Stourton, imbues the idiosyncratic intricacies of Pete’s insecurity with nuance and humor, steadily building the level of tension as his attempts to connect with his friends—despite their oddly intense teasing—consistently go awry. A don’t miss comedy that not only nails scene after scene of cringe-worthy moments, but leaves you questioning our impending return to customary social life.
Sunday February 6
Alumination • 2:30pm
For nearly a century, the image of the Airstream travel trailer, with sunlight gleaming off the aluminum of its sleek silver-bullet body, has evoked the romance of escape and the mystique of a world where a new adventure is waiting just over the next hill. No matter the model of Airstream — Bambi, Caravel, Flying Cloud, Tommy Bahama, Classic, Serenity — Wally Byam’s invention offers an elegant passport to a world where friendship, communion with nature, and international caravans continually weave together in unforgettable moments. In the end watching Alumination will stir up in you the age-old desire to pack up and discover what lies beyond the next range of hills.
Narrated by Kate Pierson of the B-52s, director Eric Bricker’s film unpacks the evolution of Airstreams from simple trailers into platforms for free-spirited living.
Shorts Two: Rising Up • 4:45pm
A collection of short films including:
Dedicated To Those Who dir. Jules Retzlaff – A hybrid doc and visual album exploring the struggles of the past, present, and future San Francisco.
Kiana dir. Shandaeya Renee Caldwell – Kiana is a young woman on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, learning about the murder of Breonna Taylor. Upon this discovery within her apartment, she starts to encompass the feeling of isolation and vulnerability of what it means to be a black woman that can’t escape the world outside your door or inside your mind, because there isn’t safety inside or out.
Median dir. Matthew Riutta – A gay activist rallies the queer community after he and a trans activist are assaulted by a group of religious extremists.
Self dir. Ryan Thurston – A man is forced into isolation during a global pandemic and discovers himself through the experience.
Sunshine City dir. Evan LaMagna – After missing the last bus, rappers Ahmiya, Isaiah, and Brandon rush through the city of Berkeley to get to the most important show of their lives.
The Loyal Betrayal dir. Tom Huang – A man is caught in a web of love, murder and betrayal in this film noir set in the Manzanar Internment Camp during World War II.
The Creative High • 7pm
Adriana Marchione’s second documentary, The Creative High created in collaboration with Producer Dianne Griffin, features nine artists in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction who are transformed by creativity in their search for identity and freedom. Their stories reveal how art has been a ballast while confronting old addictive habits and finding a portal into the aliveness and spiritual connection of art-making. From a unique San Francisco perspective, showcasing dancers, musicians and visual artists, The Creative High is a testament to the chaotic and passionate nature of creativity.
Lion On The Mat (Short Film)
This short documentary follows Mai Nguyen, a 29 year-old Vietnamese-American martial artist, as she trains for an upcoming Jiu Jitsu match. We witness her training process, and learn how she mentally, as well as physically, prepares. We also see her balance the demands of regular life — job, being a single mother — with training. We meet her four-year-old son Benji, and understand more of the stakes in her decision to keep fighting. Gradually, we learn more about her childhood in Vietnam, her experience immigrating and assimilating to the US, and her return to martial arts as a way to recover from the trauma of her abusive childhood and ex-husband.
Summoned to his soon-to-be demolished childhood home, Mason discovers a video camera that can see into the past, driving him to record as many memories as possible before the doomed house is destroyed.
The Trade (Short Film)
Set in the wilderness of northern California in 1901, the film follows Bill, a world weary bounty hunter as he hunts down Mary, who is wanted for murdering her husband.
Monday February 7
Shorts 3: Outta This World • 7pm
A collection of short films including:
Anxiety-Proof: The Mothership dir. Rick Thomas Morrison – An anxiety-powered superhero gets a call from an old Tinder date saying he might be her baby’s daddy.
La Discoteca dir. Jacopo Miliani – In a dystopian future, any human emotion is under control and it is forbidden to freely express yourself through dance. In the discos humans must meet to further the reproduction of the species and going outside the rules would imply a transformation in to a cut-rose.
Launch dir. Leah Shore – Thirty-five years after Moon-walking astronauts placed special reflectors on the lunar surface, scientists have used these devices to test Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to unprecedented accuracy. The findings, which also confirm theories from Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, may help to explain physical laws of the universe and benefit future space missions.
Let Me Assist You dir. Noam Argov – After an absolutely devastating breakup, a man’s AI virtual assistant tries to take over as his fitness and wellness coach.
Mimesis dir. Leonardo Candidi – A man’s daily routine is scattered as his consciousness is taken over by an alien force.
Return Service dir. Sean Gillane – Airline passengers hate losing their luggage. But they love blaming it on the overworked delivery guy that brings it back to them. Unfortunately for Aaron, he’s that delivery guy.
Sneeze! dir. Yuki Takashima – A few years have passed since society has collapsed due to the coronavirus. Gang members living in an abandoned building along a railway are barely scraping by, and they obtain medical grade N95 masks with the intention of selling them at a high price. Just when they are about to put them up for sale, they get an unexpected visitor…
The Roommate • 9:15pm
When Alexis is laid off from her job in New York City, she impulsively decides to reboot her life by moving to the cultural boomtown of Austin, Texas. She responds to a “Roommate Wanted” ad, quickly lines up a place to live, and is eager to commence the next chapter in her life. But when she arrives—amid one of Austin’s famous citywide music festivals—her roommate, Brenda, is nowhere to be found, and Alexis embarks on a search for a woman she’s never met that takes her beneath Austin’s sunny surface into the neon labyrinth of its music scene. The farther she follows Brenda’s trail, the harder it gets for her to know who to trust—or whether she can trust anyone at all.
Tuesday February 8
Shorts 4: Bitter Sweet • 7pm
A collection of short films including:
A Pythagorean Love Story dir. John Corey – Roric Sparrow, lovelorn Pythagoras enthusiast, meets the girl of his dreams only to watch her float away.
Busted dir. Garen Scribner – Out-of-work millennial Broadway dancer impulsively buys an old VW bus and sets out to live #vanlife, but quickly realizes she’s in way over her head.
Helen’s Nose dir. Andrea Rosen – An overlooked woman finds much needed confidence when she experiences the horror of growing a 2nd nose.
In The Future dir. Kelly Gallagher
It’s Always Something dir. Derrick Scocchera – A social satire narrated by Stephen Fry (Gosford Park, The Sandman) Through a series of vignettes, the often inexplicable behaviors of contemporary humans are observed and commented upon by a droll narrator. No matter how outlandish or senseless the action, one thing is certain: “It’s Always Something.”
Meet Me With A Mask On dir. Kathleen Capdesuñer – A film about intimacy, transformation, and the power to keep dancing on.
The Letter Room dir. Elvira Lind – When a kind-hearted prison officer (Oscar Isaac) is transferred to the letter room, he soon gets involved in an inmate’s personal affairs…
Undergrads • 9:15pm
An ensemble of college students hang out over their last weekend before graduation. When Monday classes arrive, relationships have been put into question, or even cut off, while others have formed.
Party (Short Film)
“This short is quite literally the opposite of a party. I wanted to tell a weird, sad, funny story. I wanted to explore how life doesn’t care about what happens to you when you’re grieving, not really. The platitudes of all the side characters in our lives, and how brutal technology can feel in those moments. I wanted to make something that felt true, a weird fever dream but something we all felt as vaguely familiar.” – Monica Loomba
Wednesday February 9
Double • 7pm
Double works as a night receptionist in a hotel, and he is a theater actor. The company he is a part of is rehearsing a comedy. Double also has a special power: the power of invisibility.
Aquarium (Short Film)
A woman takes part in a ritual in an attempt to bring back a loved one who has passed.
Love Letter Templates • 9:15pm
A feature length animated narrative produced and shot entirely in San Francisco’s most recognizable landmarks between 2001 to 2009, is a series of thirteen music video short stories that intertwine the lives of millennials lost in San Francisco’s dark dive bars and night clubs during the 2000s.
Thursday February 10
*CLOSING NIGHT FILMS*
We Were Once Kids • 7pm
In the early 1990s, before New York City’s mass gentrification, a group of disparate youth ventured outside their broken homes into the city’s brutal streets. United by skateboarding, they cultivated a family and built a unique lifestyle that ultimately inspired Larry Clark’s 1995 groundbreaking film KIDS.
Mother Schmuckers • 9:15pm
Issachar and Zabulon, two brothers in their twenties, are supremely stupid and never bored, as madness is part of their daily lives. When they lose their mother’s beloved dog, they have 24 hours to find it – or she will kick them out.
Do It Yourself (Short Film)
When your brother gets sick and has no insurance the only thing to do is take matters in your own hand and do it yourself.
The Los Angeles Kurdish Film Festival (LAKFF) presents a new series of monthly screenings: ‘Nomad Kurdish Filmfest ‘ a traveling Film Festival, aiming to create a bridge between Kurdish cinema and the California cinephiles. Bringing critically acclaimed international awarded films from all parts of Kurdistan and diaspora to your doorsteps.
The international awarded film by Kazim Oz, tells the story of Jan, a young man who has grown up in New York and is moved by a song that grandmother sings to him on her deathbed. She tells him about a recurring nightmare that she experienced as a child in a terrible massacre. After her death, Jan travels to Kurdish coreland, searching for the truth behind the song she sang. His journey takes him deep into his own unknown heritage, revealing sad, violently hidden truths and the importance of what the grandmother has left behind.
Preceded by the short film:
Judi of the Wishes by Semiha Yıldız and Mesut Alp
Believed in many Middle Eastern cultures to be the place where Noah’s ark came to rest after the Flood, Mount Judi also constitutes the northern border of Mesopotamia, the birthplace of many civilizations. Inspired by a feeling from a childhood memory from Judi and its imagery, Judi of the Wishes (Cûdîyê Miradan) simultaneously tackles the seasonal cycle in the mountain and the disruption of this natural flow by armed conflict. This short is also an attempt to reconstruct the name of the mountain—home to a wide range of flowers, goats and honeybees, and which is also believed to have the power to grant wishes—from within that geography and by the sound of nature itself, in contrast to what outsiders have been attempting to do for decades.
Let’s get the record straight — the “all style, no substance” argument can apply to a lot of things: hybrid cars, paleo diets, Drake. Or, in the case of Hype Williams, the mastermind behind nearly every iconic hip-hop video from the ‘90s, such a defined style is a statement in and of itself. Every bug-eyed, leather-strapped frame beams with an intensity to melt the white right outta your eye. With BELLY, Williams places rappers Nas & DMX into a neon-soaked gangster dreamworld full of Jamaican drug lords and Amazonian lady assassins, conjured from the minds of a thousand wannabe Tony Montanas. Join us to celebrate the most audacious and exciting hip-hop joint of its era. Steady, are ya ready?
Directed by Hype Williams. USA. 1998. 96 min. 35mm. Print Courtesy of Lionsgate.
Poly Styrene was the first woman of color in the UK to front a successful rock band. She
introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, the Anglo-Somali punk musician was also a key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements.
But the late punk maverick didn’t just leave behind an immense cultural footprint. She was survived by a daughter, Celeste Bell, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and her mother’s demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while their lasting trauma scarred Celeste’s childhood and the pair’s relationship. Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother.
Directed by Paul Sng & Celeste Bell. Narrated by Ruth Negga. With, Poly Styrene, Celeste Bell, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill/Le Tigre), Vivienne Westwood (Fashion designer), Neneh Cherry (Singer/songwriter), Don Letts (Friend and DJ/filmmaker), Bruno Wizard (Friend and musician) and Youth (Friend and musician/producer). U.K. 2021. 101 mins.
Ten years after their high school graduation, party girls Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) haven’t exactly accomplished everything that they set out to do. Despite their strong friendship, their personal and professional lives are left wanting. But the advent of an upcoming class reunion fires their imagination, and armed with a borrowed Jaguar, new clothes and a story of their success as the inventors of Post-It notes, Romy and Michele descend upon their alma mater.
Directed byDavid Mirkin. Also with Janeane Garofalo & Alan Cumming. MPAA Rated: R. 1997. 92 mins.
A journeyman director of live television and the stage, Robert Altman’s inimitable style defined a peculiar era of American cinema in the 1970s with counter-cultural touchstones such as MASH, THE LONG GOODBYE, and NASHVILLE. Emerging from a panicked dream, 3 WOMEN takes the oft-rambling and naturalistic quality of his films into a fevered hallucination, where Altman regular Shelley Duvall and a post-CARRIE Sissy Spacek become tangled in a web of personal obsessions and personality crises.
Beguiling and uncompromising, 3 WOMEN is the type of film that stays looping in your mind well after the credits roll. (Jake Isgar)
Directed by Robert Altman. USA. 1977. 124 min. DCP. Print courtesy of The Walt Disney Corporation.
“Astonishing. A daring & Hilarious cinematic gamble.” -Indiewire
In Radu Jude’s (Aferim!) provocative Golden Bear-winning comedy, schoolteacher Emi finds her career and reputation under threat after a personal sex tape is leaked on the Internet. Forced to meet the parents demanding her dismissal, Emi refuses to surrender to their pressure. Filmed entirely during Bucharest’s lockdown, BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN delivers an incendiary mix of unconventional form, irreverent humor and scathing commentary on hypocrisy and prejudice in our societies. Romania’s Oscar® entry for Best International Feature Film.
Directed by Radu Jude. Romania / Luxembourg / Croatia / Czech Republic. In Romanian With English Subtitles. 2021. 106 mins.
Warning: Contains several scenes with explicit sexual content. (But….. it’s a comedy!)
You may very well also enjoy the rousing, Romanian, form-bending feature: UPPERCASE PRINT, opening Jan 7 in TheRoxie Virtual Cinema!