Last weekend, I headed up to San Francisco for the 20th Annual SF Indie Fest (or San Francisco Independent Film Festival for those that aren't into shorthand). It was also the fourth festival in which my short film "When Comes the Rain" was screening!
The trip was a real treat, as I had never been to San Francisco before, and it was the perfect opportunity to go! The festival was held in the Mission District, across three different theaters, and two whole weeks full of indie and underground cinema. It should actually still be going on now as I write this! If you have a few days to spare, head on over and check it out!
Shorts programmer Fay Dearborn and festival producer Jeff Ross were a pleasure to meet and work with, and the vibe of the whole festival was really unique - films that were subversive and bold, with a sense of counterculture and...well, I guess independence - which I suppose is fitting for an indie festival.. But honestly, I feel like the word "indie" gets thrown around a lot and often just means "this film was made with little money," or "outside of studio involvement." But I think there's a deeper meaning that often gets ignored - which is to say indie films should also speak to independent thought, or inspire an unrestrained or individualistic kind of ideal - it's rewarding when filmmakers both recognize and apply this kind of spirit in their work. And it's nice to know this festival understands that, and programs their line up with this philosophy in mind!
Anyway...after checking into the fancy and historic Hotel Whitcomb, I headed over to The Roxie - one of the main theaters for the festival (and apparently the oldest continuously operating theater in the US!) My film screened on Saturday AND Tuesday as part of the 'Animated World' shorts block. Highlights include the stop motion short Homegrown by Quentin Haberham, as well as being part of a Q&A panel with fellow animators Ben Ridgway, Tim Ballard, and David Chai. It was a real diverse mix of animation, ranging from narrative, experimental, and music videos. Check out their work!
In the realm of non-animation, I also got to see a few features: Sequence Break, by Graham Skipper, who happens to be a friend of a friend, Gregg Araki's LGBT thriller comedy Kaboom, and the cult classic Raiders of the Lost Ark: An Adaptation, which is a pure love letter to the dream of filmmaking if ever there was one. I was also able to enjoy a live action block of dramatic shorts, which featured the amazing Counterfeit Kunkoo by Reema Sengupta, which previously appeared at Sundance.
Time spent not watching films was spent sightseeing. Points of interest were the Golden Gate Bridge of course, as well as the legendary flower shop as seen in The Room (which is now a cafe... or always was a cafe, I can't be sure...) I won't mention which landmark I was more excited to see..
Back at the airport, I was delighted to see they had a peephole cinema, featuring short travel-themed films - viewable in tiny screens you peered into via little holes in the wall. And two of the films were from Signe Baumane, another favorite animator of mine.. See, even the airport celebrates independent animation!
All in all, a short trip, but it was jam packed! Can't wait to return, and see what else San Francisco has to offer.