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Thu September 3 - Sun September 20, 2020

SF DocFest

SEE EVENT DETAILS
The San Francisco Documentary Film Festival (SF DocFest) Virtual Edition will be held from September 3 - 20, 2020. Now in its 19th year, SF DocFest will screen 25 features, 20 shorts, and two virtual special events, with live or pre-recorded Q&As with most filmmakers. Most films will be available to view anytime during festival dates. Q&As will also be available to view during the festival dates.

"We believe very strongly in the value of shared experiences. We postponed our June festival when the lockdown began, and hoped that by fall we'd be able to present the films at the Roxie Theater as usual." said festival director Jeff Ross. "But when it became apparent last month that this was looking increasingly unlikely, we found a way to share these great films with Bay Area documentary fans online - and we're planning to make attending the festival as festive as possible. This will include daily live online Q&As with filmmakers, the ability to watch most films any time and from anywhere during the festival dates, the regular festival feature The Bad Art Gallery in a virtual gallery, a "Filmmaker Feud" game show, and filmmaker and passholder virtual cocktail get togethers via Zoom."


OPENING NIGHT FILM

Insert Coin
Joshua Tsui
As the developer of hit video games and arcade titles like Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, Midway Games was one of the most prolific video game companies of the 1990s, gaining notoriety for its heightened violence and anarchic spirit. The developer took the country by storm before its eventual implosion. Insert Coin chronicles the company's rise, fall and continuing legacy. An awesome look back at this exciting period in gaming history. (101 min)

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

Bleeding Audio (local director, SF - Inner Sunset & local subject, Oakland)
Chelsea Christer
Told through the eyes of quirky, charming bandmates Shawn, Jon, Matt, and Justin, Bleeding Audio is an intimate portrait detailing the promising career of the Oakland band, The Matches, and their defeating breakup, and inspiring reunion. Their story overlaps with the drastic changes the music industry has undergone since the takeover of the digital revolution. With interviews from some of music's biggest names, Bay Area filmmaker Chelsea Christer's loving tribute tracks The Matches' history and recent reunion to dig deeper into the root of the challenges the average musician faces in the digital age. (91 min)


CENTERPIECE FILM

Truth or Consequences
In 1950, the residents of a small desert town in southern New Mexico voted to rename themselves after the most popular radio show, Truth or Consequences. As with many small American towns, they hoped to turn an economically depressed place into a world-class destination. Sixty years later, the same endless optimism and disillusioned frustration is playing out as the world's first commercial Spaceport is built 20 miles outside of town. Similarly drawn to the remoteness of the New Mexican desert, both the residents and the Spaceport seek the freedoms of isolation and the age old promise of the frontier. (102 min)


NON-FICTION VANGUARD AWARD

SARA ARCHAMBAULT (Producer of TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES)
As both a producer and curator, Sara Archambault, has been a steadfast champion of the documentary renaissance that has taken place in the 21st century. While she isn't (yet) a household name, SF DocFest prides itself on recognizing those unconventional, creative risk-takers who are redefining the nonfiction cinematic form. Whether it was in her earlier life in grantmaking as Program Director for the LEF Foundation or as the Founder/Head Programmer of the award-winning documentary film series The DocYard, Sara has always been dedicated to the craft of artful nonfiction storytelling. After previously presenting Sara's producing debut in 2017 (the award winning Street Fighting Men), we are excited to welcome her back to SF DocFest with the newest film, Truth or Consequences, that she has created with director/producer Hannah Jayanti.
Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Melody Gilbert, Robert Greene, Sean Dunne, Jamie Meltzer, Penny Lane, Don Argott and Sheena Joyce.


LOCAL HIGHLIGHTS

Animation Outlaws (local filmmaker, Palo Alto)
Kat Alioshin
An interview style film that tells the story of the festival that changed animation as we know it. With interviews from your favorite animators behind Beavis and Butthead, Wallace and Gromit, Happy Tree Friends , and many more, we hear how Spike and Mike, two hippies, cultivated a one-of-a-kind festival that launched the careers of today's animation legends. Animation Outlaws is a beautifully crafted documentary that shows stunning animation, while reminding us that no matter how weird we might be, there is always a place we belong. (68 min)

Bleeding Audio (local director, SF - Inner Sunset & local subject, Oakland)
Chelsea Christer - see Closing Night film above

Dharma Rebel (local story, SF)
Babeth VanLoo
With a body full of tattoos, the American punk and Buddhist teacher Noah Levine is no typical Buddhist. His movement Against The Stream appeals to people who do not easily reach the more traditional Buddhist centers. Dharma Rebel was initially going to be a film about Levine's "Refuge Recovery." With this successful Buddhist 12-step program Levine developed a method to help people with addiction. But when an ex-girlfriend of his accuses him of sexual misconduct during the making of the film, the positive results that Refuge Recovery achieves are put in a different light. (77 min)

For the Love of Rutland (local director, SF/The Mission)
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Rutland, Vermont, representative of many small cities across the country, struggles with high rates of unemployment, an opioid crisis, and a reluctance to change. When the mayor accepts Syrian refugees into the city as part of an economic diversification project, he faces backlash from city residents concerned that the lack of existing opportunities and resources for residents will only be further diminished. This is a picture of a politically divided and economically devastated town, and the glimmer of hope that can help rebuild a community. (90 min)

The Palindromists (local subject, SF)
Vince Clemente
Everything you wanted to know about palindromes (a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward), but didn't know to ask. Get ready to dive deep into the history of palindromes while taking a look at an idiosyncratic group's world championships, starring San Francisco author and word nerd Jon Agee, with appearances by Weird Al and Will Shortz. (91 min)

A Place to Breathe (local filmmaker and subject, Oakland)
Michelle Steinberg
This powerful documentary explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee health care practitioners and patients. Combining cinema vérité portraits of different personal journeys and animation, the film highlights the creative strategies by which immigrant communities in the U.S. survive and thrive. (87 min)

Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago (local subject, Berkeley)
Rob Christopher
Hailed as 'William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly' poet, author and screenwriter Barry Gifford has given the world more than forty works including the Sailor and Lula novels that inspired David Lynch's Wild At Heart. The film brilliantly brings to life Gifford's autobiographical collection, The Roy Stories, capturing his childhood in a vanished 1950s Chicago through a jazzy, impressionistic combination of beguiling archive footage, animation and spoken word by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, and Lili Taylor. (75 min)
The San Francisco Documentary Film Festival (SF DocFest) Virtual Edition will be held from September 3 - 20, 2020. Now in its 19th year, SF DocFest will screen 25 features, 20 shorts, and two virtual special events, with live or pre-recorded Q&As with most filmmakers. Most films will be available to view anytime during festival dates. Q&As will also be available to view during the festival dates.

"We believe very strongly in the value of shared experiences. We postponed our June festival when the lockdown began, and hoped that by fall we'd be able to present the films at the Roxie Theater as usual." said festival director Jeff Ross. "But when it became apparent last month that this was looking increasingly unlikely, we found a way to share these great films with Bay Area documentary fans online - and we're planning to make attending the festival as festive as possible. This will include daily live online Q&As with filmmakers, the ability to watch most films any time and from anywhere during the festival dates, the regular festival feature The Bad Art Gallery in a virtual gallery, a "Filmmaker Feud" game show, and filmmaker and passholder virtual cocktail get togethers via Zoom."


OPENING NIGHT FILM

Insert Coin
Joshua Tsui
As the developer of hit video games and arcade titles like Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, Midway Games was one of the most prolific video game companies of the 1990s, gaining notoriety for its heightened violence and anarchic spirit. The developer took the country by storm before its eventual implosion. Insert Coin chronicles the company's rise, fall and continuing legacy. An awesome look back at this exciting period in gaming history. (101 min)

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

Bleeding Audio (local director, SF - Inner Sunset & local subject, Oakland)
Chelsea Christer
Told through the eyes of quirky, charming bandmates Shawn, Jon, Matt, and Justin, Bleeding Audio is an intimate portrait detailing the promising career of the Oakland band, The Matches, and their defeating breakup, and inspiring reunion. Their story overlaps with the drastic changes the music industry has undergone since the takeover of the digital revolution. With interviews from some of music's biggest names, Bay Area filmmaker Chelsea Christer's loving tribute tracks The Matches' history and recent reunion to dig deeper into the root of the challenges the average musician faces in the digital age. (91 min)


CENTERPIECE FILM

Truth or Consequences
In 1950, the residents of a small desert town in southern New Mexico voted to rename themselves after the most popular radio show, Truth or Consequences. As with many small American towns, they hoped to turn an economically depressed place into a world-class destination. Sixty years later, the same endless optimism and disillusioned frustration is playing out as the world's first commercial Spaceport is built 20 miles outside of town. Similarly drawn to the remoteness of the New Mexican desert, both the residents and the Spaceport seek the freedoms of isolation and the age old promise of the frontier. (102 min)


NON-FICTION VANGUARD AWARD

SARA ARCHAMBAULT (Producer of TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES)
As both a producer and curator, Sara Archambault, has been a steadfast champion of the documentary renaissance that has taken place in the 21st century. While she isn't (yet) a household name, SF DocFest prides itself on recognizing those unconventional, creative risk-takers who are redefining the nonfiction cinematic form. Whether it was in her earlier life in grantmaking as Program Director for the LEF Foundation or as the Founder/Head Programmer of the award-winning documentary film series The DocYard, Sara has always been dedicated to the craft of artful nonfiction storytelling. After previously presenting Sara's producing debut in 2017 (the award winning Street Fighting Men), we are excited to welcome her back to SF DocFest with the newest film, Truth or Consequences, that she has created with director/producer Hannah Jayanti.
Past recipients of the Vanguard Award include Melody Gilbert, Robert Greene, Sean Dunne, Jamie Meltzer, Penny Lane, Don Argott and Sheena Joyce.


LOCAL HIGHLIGHTS

Animation Outlaws (local filmmaker, Palo Alto)
Kat Alioshin
An interview style film that tells the story of the festival that changed animation as we know it. With interviews from your favorite animators behind Beavis and Butthead, Wallace and Gromit, Happy Tree Friends , and many more, we hear how Spike and Mike, two hippies, cultivated a one-of-a-kind festival that launched the careers of today's animation legends. Animation Outlaws is a beautifully crafted documentary that shows stunning animation, while reminding us that no matter how weird we might be, there is always a place we belong. (68 min)

Bleeding Audio (local director, SF - Inner Sunset & local subject, Oakland)
Chelsea Christer - see Closing Night film above

Dharma Rebel (local story, SF)
Babeth VanLoo
With a body full of tattoos, the American punk and Buddhist teacher Noah Levine is no typical Buddhist. His movement Against The Stream appeals to people who do not easily reach the more traditional Buddhist centers. Dharma Rebel was initially going to be a film about Levine's "Refuge Recovery." With this successful Buddhist 12-step program Levine developed a method to help people with addiction. But when an ex-girlfriend of his accuses him of sexual misconduct during the making of the film, the positive results that Refuge Recovery achieves are put in a different light. (77 min)

For the Love of Rutland (local director, SF/The Mission)
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Rutland, Vermont, representative of many small cities across the country, struggles with high rates of unemployment, an opioid crisis, and a reluctance to change. When the mayor accepts Syrian refugees into the city as part of an economic diversification project, he faces backlash from city residents concerned that the lack of existing opportunities and resources for residents will only be further diminished. This is a picture of a politically divided and economically devastated town, and the glimmer of hope that can help rebuild a community. (90 min)

The Palindromists (local subject, SF)
Vince Clemente
Everything you wanted to know about palindromes (a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward), but didn't know to ask. Get ready to dive deep into the history of palindromes while taking a look at an idiosyncratic group's world championships, starring San Francisco author and word nerd Jon Agee, with appearances by Weird Al and Will Shortz. (91 min)

A Place to Breathe (local filmmaker and subject, Oakland)
Michelle Steinberg
This powerful documentary explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee health care practitioners and patients. Combining cinema vérité portraits of different personal journeys and animation, the film highlights the creative strategies by which immigrant communities in the U.S. survive and thrive. (87 min)

Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago (local subject, Berkeley)
Rob Christopher
Hailed as 'William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly' poet, author and screenwriter Barry Gifford has given the world more than forty works including the Sailor and Lula novels that inspired David Lynch's Wild At Heart. The film brilliantly brings to life Gifford's autobiographical collection, The Roy Stories, capturing his childhood in a vanished 1950s Chicago through a jazzy, impressionistic combination of beguiling archive footage, animation and spoken word by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, and Lili Taylor. (75 min)
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