Thursday, May 14, 2015

Up-Coming: DocFest

Last week the San Francisco Documentary Festival, or DocFest, announced the programs for its upcoming festival,  June 4 - 18 at the Roxie, Vogue & Brava Theaters. Founder Jeff Ross & programmers Jennifer Morris & Chris Metzler gave an overview of the schedule, which includes 41 feature films & 50 shorts. Ms. Morris was proud to note that over 50% of the directors are women, & women filmmakers will be the focus of a free happy hour panel on the afternoon of June 10th.

Mr. Ross pointed out that the opening, closing & centerpiece films reflect the breadth of the festival. Opening night is All Things Must Pass, a film by Colin Hanks about the rise & fall of Tower Records. Several films in the festival celebrate music, such as Made in Japan, a profile of a Japan's 1st female country western star, & I Am Thor, a look at the attempted comeback of Jon Mikl Thor, a 70's body building champion & rock musician. His band will appear at Thee Parkside in conjunction with the film.

The centerpiece film, Finders Keepers, tells the supremely odd story of Shannon Whisnant, who bought a used barbeque smoker, found a severed leg in it, then got into a custody battle with the leg's amputee owner. Closing night is (T)ERROR, a political thriller which investigates a covert FBI operative as he seeks out potential terrorists.

Shorts are among the festival's most popular offerings, & there will be 4 shorts programs, including an all-animation program. A presentation of shorts about artists featured in Juxtapose magazine will be followed by an underground party whose location will be revealed at the screening.

The announcement event included a preview screening of All Things Must Pass, which traces the fortunes of Tower Records through extensive interviews with Russ Solomon, Tower's larger-than-life founder, & his ragtag band of employees, who got things done & had a ball doing so. Long-time employee Heidi Cotler is a firecracker & frankly admits that drugs & alcohol were part of the job. It's fun getting the story of Mark Viducich, the receiving clerk who opened & managed Tower's first stores in Japan. David Geffen, Elton John & Bruce Springsteen are among the interviewees fondly remembering Tower in its heyday. The movie is clear in its account of the economic conditions that led to Tower's steady rise from 1960 to 2000 & then its precipitate fall into bankruptcy by 2004. Quite a few interviewees get teary-eyed recalling their experiences. Archival footage of 1960's San Francisco & the store at Columbus & Bay certainly made me feel nostalgic. Director Colin Hanks & producer Sean Stuart are expected to attend opening night.

§ DocFest Website | Features | Shorts | Calendar | Festival Passes | Ticket Packages

§ 14th San Francisco Documentary Festival (DocFest)
June 4 - 18, 2015
Roxie, Brava & Vogue Theaters

§ All Things Must Pass

A film by Colin Hanks‏
2015, USA, 99 mins

§ 14th SF DocFest Press Conference
Wednesday, May 6 at 10:30AM
Roxie Theater

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