Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 12 / 23 March 2017
 

More better indie

Film


Scene from filmmaker Jessie Deeter's A Revolution in Four Seasons. Photo: Courtesy SF IndieFest
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Back for the 19th year, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival capitalizes on our city's appetite for offbeat and boundary-pushing cinema that can persuade over 11,000 film buffs to leave their cable and streaming devices and choose from a menu of 43 feature films (37 fiction, six nonfiction), 10 live parties, and 48 short subjects from 22 nations. The 2017 SF IndieFest runs Feb. 2-16 at the Roxie Theater, Brava Theater, Alamo Drafthouse, 518 Gallery and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

A Revolution in Four Seasons Filmmaker Jessie Deeter traces the Arab Spring Revolution in Tunisia from its roots in a street peddler's martyrdom to the creation of a new constitution. The film features candid input from both strictly observant Muslims and men and women of far more independent faiths and cultural persuasions. Deeter's doc demonstrates the hard price to be paid for freedom in a still violently unsettled part of the world. (Roxie, 2/11; Alamo, 2/12)

Scene from director Chris Brown's documentary The Other Kids. Photo: Courtesy SF IndieFest

The Other Kids Chris Brown's captivating doc captures the wrenching choices faced by a cross-section of California adolescents about to graduate high school. We visit with an undocumented boy living in a trailer in the woods, a kid who cuts himself to relieve anxiety, a girl whose blue-dyed hairdo first isolates her and later attracts a sympathetic female friend, a young man pushed by a military recruiter to take the US Army's program for upward mobility, along with a genial assortment of young Turks, freaks and rebels. In many ways an updated version of that great 90s coming-of-age classic Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused. (Roxie, 2/12, 13)

Folk Hero & Funny Guy Filmmaker/comic Alex Karpovsky hits the road after being romantically dumped. The film riffs on the impossibility of finding happiness in the midst of two many options for fun, mischief, and enlightenment. (Brava, 2/2)

Desire Will Set You Free An American writer is drawn to Berlin by a Russian hustler, there to discover the German capital's queer mainstream and underground. With appearances by Punk Queen Nina Hagen, "electro star" Peaches, Brooklyn's Blood Orange and the German group Rummelsnuff. (Roxie, 2/12, 13)

Saltwater Lise Swenson's film traces a young woman's journey to the ecological meltdown that is California's Salton Sea, with relics from her family's history. (Roxie, 2/9, 11)

Twenty Twenty-Four Richard Mundy explores the madness/sanity quotient of a solitary scientist who retreats to an underground bunker to await the oncoming nuclear war. A psychological thriller that's slow to get underway. (Roxie, 2/5, 8)

Ticket to the Circus At a time when the venerable Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus is calling it quits, filmmaker Barbara Troy's women-on-the-lam drama celebrates two tough dames who find each other while fleeing the law in the urban chaos of Detroit. (Roxie, 2/4, 5)

Down Under Leave it to the Aussies to push all the buttons on a wild ride through madness. In Abe Forsythe's slow-moving 90 minutes, anarchy breaks out as rival tribes collide. A gang of white knuckleheads fears that Muslim immigrants are invading their beaches, and a gaggle of transplants from Lebanon seems bent on proving who's the craziest of them all. A few attractive men acting very badly! (Roxie, 2/5, 10)

Hunky Dory Michael Curtis Johnson gives us an it-can't-get-any-worse tale, the story of Sidney, a young aspiring rock-n-roller whose dreams crash into a flaming ruin as a "dive-bar drag queen." A new direction beckons when his ex drops off their 11-year-old son into Sidney's custody. (Roxie, 2/11, 15)

 






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