June Film Guide: Screenings Outside the Mainstream Variety

Summer is here so let the festivals begin! There are experimental films, documentaries, and some romantic dramas. Only a few teasers will be featured here because really, to make the most out of a festival it takes a little research. That’s especially true when your options are endless but your time is limited. Some possible film choices include one about twelve pianos and an artist’s rebellion, a love story sabotaged by politics, a girl with a dream of independence, and a mix of avant-garde shorts that hit with an artsy punch. But for sure, leave yourself some time for mingling at an after-movie roller disco party and a before-movie tequila tasting.


June 7 – 10
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Cinematheque specializes in “aesthetically radical cinema” through avant-garde/experimental, underground and personal films. For the ninth year, Cinematheque has joined the SF Museum of Modern Art to present Crossroads 2018. This year they have 60 to 70 new film/video works for your viewing pleasure.

An example of their collaboration can especially be seen with A World of Images: An Unexpected Response to René Magritte: The Fifth Season.
SFMOMA White Box Media Gallery—Program 1
June 7 to June 10 on a recurring basis (alternating with Trains & Flags)

The René Magritte SFMOMA exhibition runs until October 28th and focuses on Magritte’s later career from the 1940s to the 1960s. More than 70 of his artworks are currently on display. Within the related Crossroads 2018 film presentations are, Model of a Hand (2018), Void Vision (2018), Down Wind (1973), Les Chaises (2008), Rose (2013), and Season of Doubt (2015).


17th SF Documentary Film Festival
May 31- June 14
Roxie, Brava, New People Cinema

DocFest started back in 2001 with a mere 12 films screening out of a converted church. It is now the oldest and most extensive non-fiction film festival in the Bay Area. Jeff Ross, the festival’s founder/director plans to bring to you “the most weird and wonderful aspects of real life to the big screen.” For example, Afghan Cycles, that explains how an ordinary bicycle can be a tool of empowerment for women around the world.

For two weeks, you’ll have the chance to see 90 of the best local and international doc selections. You’ll also get to meet the other attendees at some great parties, such as AHOY! The Yacht Rock Sing A Long Party. And there’s even more movie-party news below.


Roller Dreams
June 8, 7:16pm (and after-party)
June 13, 9:30pm
Roxie Theatre, SF

One film to note is Roller Dreams which is set in Calfornia’s Venice Beach, the place to be for roller disco dancing in the late 70s and early 80s. This doc by Australian director Kate Hickey pays homage to that phenomenon and its founders. Roller Dreams will screen twice but make note that they will only offer only one night of roller disco dancing to follow. The run time for the after-party is stated as “180 minutes,” so be sure to work on your skating stamina now. SF DocFest is hosting the Roller Disco Party at 9pm at Church of 8 Wheels, SF.


Agave: The Spirit of a Nation

Agave: The Spirit of a Nation will make its West Coast Premiere and will close out the festival.  The tradition of distilling agave has been passed down through generations of families. From Jalisco to Oaxaca, the film tells the story through three of these producers of Tequila and Mexcal. And don’t miss out on the pre-screening reception on June 10th hosted by Dulce Vida Tequila and Penta Tequila.

June 10 (+ pre-screening reception)
New People Cinema, SF

June 14
Roxie Theatre, SF

The Leticia Jarvis Art Films Series
The Jarvis Conservatory, Napa

The Napa Valley claims this music and film venue as their best-kept secret, and “a jewel of a theater, and an acoustic marvel.” Once you take in all of the ambiance, head for a seat at their film series. Nikita Mikhalkov won an Academy Award for one of these films, Sunstroke. A beautifully filmed love story and portrait of Russia before its fall. Worlds Apart continues the love story theme, but this one is set amidst the socio-economic turmoil in Southern Europe.

June 9

Worlds Apart
June 23
4:00pm and 7:00pm


Twelve Pianos
June 28
Rafael Film Center, San Rafael
In Person: Filmmaker Dean Mermell

It all began when multi-disciplinary artist Mauro ffortissimo placed his piano on the bluffs along the California coast in Half Moon Bay. Nightly, he would serenade the migrating whales passing through the ocean waves below. Eventually, word got out and the city ordered him to stop. This only ignited his already rebellious spirit and caused him to ask, “But why must art have to work and sometimes fight to even have a place in our world?” Mauro had a new quest to save and share pianos, and so much more.

Filmmaker and musician Dean Mermell made this film with Mauro ffortissimo, and he will be present at the screening.


Windrider Film Forum
June 28 to 30
Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, Atherton

Windrider Film Forum knows that SF Bay Area moviegoers are some of the savviest anywhere. Even though big budget entertainment films can invoke discussions, the Windrider Film Forum aims to magnify on that. It connects filmmakers with astute audience members that want more input into the films they watch. And Windrider seeks to present them with films that explore “the human condition with creativity and respect.”

Fanny Pack
June 29
Screening followed by a Q&A conversation with Uttera Singh, Director & Writer.

Among the short films is Fanny Pack, about a young Indian-American girl who is determined to pursue her dreams but who gets held up by her fanny-pack-toting father.

Inventing Tomorrow
June 30

This film documents the path of six young scientists from India, Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii as they prepare their own scientific research for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). A film that’s bound to leave you with renewed hope in the youth of today and their plans to save our futures.