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Resfest Digital Film Festival

Healthy Dose of Bushwhacking Highlights Digital Celebration

The eighth annual Resfest Digital Film Festival, a celebration of short- and feature-length films culled from every corner of the globe, touches down at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 before embarking on a whirlwind international tour.

Founded in 1996 by the New York film-and-design magazine RES to promote alternative methods of filmmaking that were, at the time, largely shunned by more traditional festivals like Sundance, Toronto and Cannes, this year's edition features 190 films, musical performances by L.A. art-rock trio Midnight Movies and British audio-visual pioneers Hexstatic, two tours of local design labs and a retrospective tribute to director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast).

Shorts, however, remain the entrée on Resfest's overflowing menu. Among the highlights:

Slam Bush: San Francisco filmmaker Louis Fox's video for "Slam Bush," a biting blast of Dubya bashing courtesy of Brooklyn MC Wordsworth, features the president pitted against his hip-hop nemesis in a mock debate. Predictably, the battle's over before it begins. The footage, presumably nabbed from one of Bush's 2000 showdowns with Al Gore and seamlessly altered to include the official candidate "of the hip-hop generation," depicts a smug, smirking president stumbling over his words. "I'm asking for your vote," he stammers. "I -- I want you to be on my team." At that, Wordsworth unleashes a rapid-fire reproach, in a clip that's as clever and invigorating as it is funny. (Note: Slam Bush will be introduced during the festival's "Bushwacked!" segment, scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. The showcase for politically minded fare will boast contributions from Michael Moore, Brian Boyce and the Guerrilla News Network.)

Emperors (Or, Size Does Matter): Another Bay Area product, filmmaker Eric Henry, serves up a tongue-in-cheek ode to emperors, nation-building and good ol' Uncle Sam, whose one-time alliances with international tyrants like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seem, um, a tad ill-conceived. The animation is amusingly reminiscent of the old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons, and the accompanying soundtrack, while perhaps too cute for its own good, tells a tale rife with irony and politically charged humor. Fittingly, Emperors will join Slam Bush in the "Bushwhacked!" showcase.

"I Changed My Mind": Shynola, the groundbreaking animation crew behind award-winning music videos for Radiohead ("The Pyramid Song"), Blur ("Goodsong") and Queens of the Stone Age ("Go With the Flow") have plundered their archives for the "Shynola Rarities" portion of the festival, to be held Saturday at 4 p.m. The segment will feature rarely seen commercials, tests and early short films, including the video for Quantum's "I Changed My Mind." In this case, Lyrics Born's bubbly blend of blues-rock and hip-hop takes a back seat to Shynola's arresting visuals, which depict a vibrant world of strutting MCs, towering skyscrapers and diminutive robots.