Friday, January 28, 2011
The 13th San Francisco Independent Film Festival
On the Chinese New Year's Day—February 3rd, 2011—the 13th San Francisco Independent Film Festival (SF IndieFest) will open at the Roxie Theater. During its two-week long running period, the festival will present 39 features and 50 shorts. In conjunction with the film festival, 50 rock bands will be playing at the 2nd San Francisco Winter Music Festival (SF Winter Music Fest) and promise to offer two-week long exciting parties and entertainment, until the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt and San Francisco Chinese New Year's Parade take over.
Perhaps it is pure coincidence that this year's SF Indie Fest and SF Winter Music Fest overlap with the Chinese New Year celebration, but it is no accident that the festivals have been drawing large crowd and contributing to San Francisco's film and music culture over the years.
SF IndieFest's films used to be so independent that they made Sundance look like Hollywood. Time has changed, so does Sundance, as well as SF IndieFest. Films at these festivals become more mainstream and more commercial, although that is not necessarily a bad thing.
However, many films at SF IndieFest are still as indie as they can get—you probably will not be able to see on the big screen anywhere else, for most of them. Of course, that does not apply to two high profile films at this year's festival: "Kaboom" (USA 2010 | 86 min.) and "Heartbeats" (Les amours imaginaires | Canada 2010 | in French | 102 min.).
The director of "Mysterious Skin" and "Totally Fucked Up," Gregg Araki has been a poster child for indie films. His latest film "Kaboom" has been touring many film festivals, including the Sundance at this very moment. It is the opening night film at this year's SF IndieFest.
"Kaboom" is a melting pot of over the top goofball comedy, soap opera melodrama, sexual identity bending story, and wacky sci-fi adventure. The plot involves several overly sexed college students who try to sleep with each other, solve a mystery, and even save the world. If nothing else, the film is definitely indie and shows plenty facial hair—in this film, you will not see typical twinkie guys on a typical college campus.
Talented 21-year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan impressed the world with his terrific drama "I Killed My Mother" (J'ai tué ma mère) before he can legally drink in the US. After shown at many prestigious film festivals around the world, including Bay Area's Mill Valley Film Festival, his latest film "Heartbeats" (Les amours imaginaires) will be screened at this year's SF IndieFest.
The film is about a love triangle among three close friends. That is a perfect story to be told in a city like San Francisco which is famous for its romantic sceneries, sexually (among other things) liberal spirits, and left-behind hearts.