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  •  FESTIVAL: SAN FRANCISCO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL

    San Francisco Independent Film Festival

    Bash by the bay

    In its sixth year, the fast-growing San Francisco Independent Film Festival brings scrappy indies and some well-known established filmmakers to area audiences.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    Now in its sixth year, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival is living up to its founder's ambition to create one of the "bastard stepchildren of the major festivals." Inspired by the likes of Slamdance and the New York Underground Film Festival, the SF Indie festival aims to bring local audiences a range of work from scrappy low-budget fare to a few more polished films with wider distribution in their future.

      
    SAN FRANCISCO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL

    Related links: Official site
     RELATED ARTICLES
    San Francisco Independent Film Festival 2004
  • Overview
  • A Certain Kind of Death
  • interMission
  • Haute Tension
  • Official site
  • Among last year's highlights were the Bush-biographer documentary "Horns and Halos" and the cult hit "Bubba Ho-Tep." This year's offerings include some well-known filmmakers including Alex Cox ("Repo Man," "Sid and Nancy") with "Revengers Tragedy," based on a 17th-century with current-day undertones; Takashi Miike ("Audition," "Ichi the Killer") with "Gozu," a less gore-drenched but typically twisted effort; and animator Bill Plympton has a satire of high school popularity called "Hair High."

    A few California-specific offerings look interesting. "In Smog and Thunder" is a Ken Burns-style documentary covering the history of the tragic civil war between Los Angeles and San Francisco through letters, e-mails, paintings and interviews with those who were there. "Security" is a crime-caper comedy by a local improv troupe, and there's the reality-twisting "Corner of Your Eye" about people haunted by a giant watching eyeball.

    San Francisco Independent Film Festival  
    But the festival's main emphasis is not on Bay Area filmmakers — the San Francisco Film Arts Festival covers much of that territory. Nor is it intended to highlight many major arthouse films, like the San Francisco International Film Festival. It aims to give Bay Area audiences a chance to see interesting work that might never get a showing otherwise.

    Notable in this year's lineup are three other Japanese films besides "Gozu." Two connected films, "Aragami" and "2LDK," arise from a challenge between filmmakers Kitamura Ryuhei and Tsutsumi Yukihiko to make films about duels between two people in a confined space. And "9 Souls" by Toyoda Toshiaki has strong word of mouth for its offbeat story of a prison break that sends its participants careening in a variety of directions. And seemingly inspired by recent Japanese horror flicks is a relentless French gorefest called "Haute Tension" (pictured above), which reportedly had tongues wagging at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival.

    Founder Jeff Ross — who started the annual event in 1999 with a four-day lineup that drew an encouraging 3,000 people — is proud of his festival's niche, showing an interesting roster of movies that wouldn't make the more high-minded San Francisco International Film Festival. "We're more of a youth-culture festival," he says. "Like, you won't find many Iranian masterpieces at our festival, just like you won't find the latest yakuza flick at the International festival."

    Festival articles


    Reviews:



      

    A Certain Kind of Death

    "A Certain Kind of Death" gives us a patient, detail-rich look into what the authorities do with you when you die alone and unclaimed.



      

    High Tension

    This American-influenced French film is competent and suspenseful, but ultimately does little more than extend the running joke that is the slasher flick.



      

    interMission

    A loosely connected ensemble collage that's part crime caper, part romantic comedy set in an Irish town, proves likeable if not brilliant.

    FEBRUARY 6, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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