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ResFest 2002

All Over the Map

September 18th sees the San Francisco kickoff of ResFest 2002. This year's travelling celebration of all things digital and cinematic includes programs focusing on music videos both rock and roll and electronica, a variety of shorts providing musings on the human obsession with cars, design and sex, a fine documentary series, and 2 fully-digital feature films.

The festival kicks off on the 18th with the "State of the Art" series of short films, which cover a huge range of themes but are united in their focus on the modernistic and the "clever" in filmmaking. Some of these shorts, such as Todd Lincoln's "Leave Luck to Heaven", may prove a little too "film-school" for the average movie viewer, but they do provide a good insight into where the genre is heading and should appeal to the hardcore film student audience. The opening night's festivities will also include a party to celebrate the beginning of ResFest 2002.

The second night of the festival on 9/19 shifts its focus to "True Stories", some of which deliver a serious punch. Keep an eye out particularly for "Terminal Bar"; New York filmmaker Stephan Nadelman's depiction of 2 generations in the history of what used to be known as New York's toughest bar. This is one of the more effective documentary shorts of the last few years, and as good an illustration of gritty urban life as you'll ever find. Also worth watching for is Jon Rubin's wryly funny "So Many Women, So Little Hair". Later on Friday is the "Videos that Rock" series, a selection of the most cutting-edge rock videos from the likes of The White Stripes, The Hives, and David Byrne. Look out for the work of pioneering music video artists Shynola and StyleWar, both of whom have multiple entries in the festival.

Friday 9/20 starts off with a seminar on digital filmmaking, which is free to attendees and a must-see for all current and aspiring filmmakers. "Full-time Killer" (the first feature-length entry of the festival), Hong-Kong directors Wai Ka-Fai and Johnny To's thriller about rival assassins, should be a treat for all Hong Kong action movie fans. Friday's program concludes with Cinema Electronica, the festival's second selection of music videos, focusing this time on electronic music. Watch out for uber-hip Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai's visualization of DJ Shadow's "Six Days" and Traktor's video for Basement Jaxx's ubiquitous "Where's Your Head At?". Even more notable is Shynola's bizarrely trippy and supremely creepy visual accompaniment to UNKLE's "Eye for an Eye", a particularly timely and effective ant-war piece.

Saturday 9/21 starts off with "Bad Day", a series of shorts about the kind of days everyone wishes they never had which range in tone from the creepy to the hilarious. Also showing is the feature-length "Breath Control", a documentary on the Beat Box phenomenon, musicians whose only instrument is their own voice. The evening concludes with a pair of shorts programs. "Drive Me Crazy" is a series of short road movies including the award winning British entry "Home Road Movies", Robert Bradbrook's nostalgic musing on the sadness of one man's life and on losing our childlike myths about our parents. "In the Bedroom" showcases shorts depicting all the anxiety, emotional messiness and unintentional hilarity of our sex lives, and will probably be one of the more popular parts of the festival.

Sunday 9/22 concludes ResFest with a retrospective on the frequently dark and disturbing but always interesting work of Chris Cunningham, perhaps best known for his pioneering work on Bjork's "All is Full of Love" video. Also included is "Director's Club", a showcase for new works by video masters Spike Jonze and Mike Mills. The final program of the festival is "By Design", a series of shorts exploring the more design-obsessed side of filmmaking. It's worth noting that this segment sold out last year, so get your tickets early.

Overall, ResFest works as a showcase for up and coming talent and the kind of cinematic oddities that most people typically never get a chance to see. Check it out - you'll be glad you did.


ResFest 2002
September 18th - September 22nd