IndieFest: "Harrison Montgomery" at the Roxie, 7:15 tonight
One of the IndieFest films I got a chance to preview this week was Harrison Montgomery, which plays tonight at the Roxie and on the 20th at the Shattuck. It’s a strong ensemble film about a petty drug dealer and aspiring artist who, in the aftermath of a deal gone extremely bad, gets wrapped up in the lives of his neighbors. It stars Martin Landau as the title character, Octavio Gomez Berrios (Guerrilla) as the drug dealer, and Melora Walters (Magnolia, Boogie Nights) as the fetching older woman — luckily enough, also an aspiring artist — who lives across the hall with her daughter and jerk boyfriend. Look out! The film is very engaging, with several unexpected formal elements and a strong component of magical realism. It also builds up to an ending I guarantee you won’t predict, and you’ll be swept away by it.
It’s a San Francisco film all the way through. Not only were director Daniel Davila and producer Karim Ahmad both based here, but the film was shot entirely in the Tenderloin, on the block or two around Hotel Boyd, where the exteriors and some interiors were shot, and in a housing compound in the Presidio, where the rest of the interiors were done.
This is the very end of the film’s festival run; Davila and Ahmad told me, in an interview yesterday, that they view these screenings as a sort of homecoming for the film. Ahmad said that they were in negotiations for a commercial US release, so tonight (and the 20th in Berkeley) is your last chance to see it before everyone else does.