San Francisco Documentary Film Festival
Documentary films occupy a unique place in the social/political/artistic landscape of this country. They hold many disparate threads together and become, more often than not, fascinating mixtures of art and activism. An essential component to film history, documentaries also refuse simple categorization. While we are all familiar with the History Channel technique of disseminating information (echoing the educational videos of our schoolroom days), one would be remiss to perceive documentaries as a homogeneous unit of work. For as many unique individuals there are who working on documentaries, there is an equal number of unique films about as many topics as there are objects on earth. If you want a chance to experience this multitude of voices, styles, and visions, than there is no better place for you than the 17th Annual San Francisco Documentary Film Festival.
Taking place from May 31st until June 14th, the San Francisco Documentary Festival (more commonly known as SF DocFest) will span three separate historic locations: Roxie Theater, Brava Theater, and the New People Cinema—all located in San Francisco itself. Playing at SF DocFest this year will be the usual mix of larger-budget features, indie pics, and short films from all over the world. Opening day ceremonies feature a screening (for the first time on the West Coast!) of the new Douglas Tirola film, Brewmaster, which, as you can probably guess, revolves around the history of craft beer as it intersects with the lives of two individuals.
Other notable films playing at SF DocFest include: the world premier showing of Ice Pick to the Moon, about a stripminer turned singer; Rodents of an Unusual Size, which focuses on the somewhat terrifying situation that has arisen in Louisiana swampland after the infestation of an invasive species of water rat that regularly reaches 20-pounds in size; The Pain of Others, the newest film by Penny Lane (and winner of this year’s SF DocFest Vanguard Award for non-fiction), takes a look at an unusual disease known as Morgellons, primarily using found footage; The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man, which needs no other description other than to say it might be worthwhile to buy tickets well in advance if you want to attend this particular screening.
There will be dozens of other films to choose from at this year’s SF DocFest, so check out the event calendar and get to a theater!