Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Up-coming: SF DocFest 2014

Last week SF DocFest held a press conference at the Roxie Theater to announce their up-coming documentary film festival, which runs June 5 - 19 at the Roxie in San Francisco & the Black Box Theater in Oakland, at 19th & Telegraph. Festival founder Jeff Ross & programmers Jennifer Morris and Chris Metzler gave an overview of the festival, keeping it short & sweet. The schedule includes 43 programs, 89 screenings & 5 world premieres. Opening night features Robert Greene's Actress, about Brandy Burre, cast member of HBO's The Wire, who gave up acting to become a stay-at-home mom. Mr. Greene will attend & also receive the festival's Non-Fiction Vanguard Award, which recognizes not-yet-famous filmmakers to keep an eye on. Closing night is Rich Hill, a documentary about poverty in the US, focusing on a small town in Missouri.

The programmers pointed out a few of the festival's amusing & quirky corners. Jingle Bell Rocks! shows us the people who collect Christmas music. Unsurprisingly, John Waters is among the interviewees. Wicker Kittens explores the world of competitive jigsaw puzzling. Vannin' introduces us to a particular subculture of automotive enthusiasts. A single mom aspires to a career in professional cage fighting in Glena. An Honest Liar profiles magician & debunker The Amazing Randi. A 14-year-old filmmaker finds out who drives BART in the shorts program.

Parties include swing music on opening night, a 90s sing-a-long, a game night pub quiz, a roller disco party, & a zombie-themed party following Doc of the Dead. Advance tickets are available online. The festival's DocPass includes priority entry to all screenings & parties.

The press conference included a screening of the festival's centerpiece film, The Internet's Own Boy, about computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide last year right before his Federal trial for cybercrimes. We get very familiar with the face of Mr. Swartz, who is seen in archival footage from a toddler onwards. The film contains interviews with his family, friends & colleagues & is both a biography & a look at issues of hacking, copyright & access to information. It's also a bit weepy. Director Brian Knappenberger will be in attendance at the festival screening.

§ 13th Annual San Francisco Documentary Film Festival
June 5-19, 2014
Roxie Theatre, San Francisco
Brava Theatre, San Francisco
Marion E. Greene Black Box Theater, Oakland School of the Arts

§ The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Director: Brian Knappenberger
USA, 2014, 104 mins.


Patrick J. Vaz said...

John Waters actually released a Christmas compilation CD a few years ago with some choice items from his collection. It forms part of my own (how many CDs do you have to own to qualify as a collector of Christmas music? I might be over the minimum).

Axel Feldheim said...

Hmm, I have no idea how many CDs are required to grant you "collector" status, but it sounds like the filmmakers missed out on including you in their doc!