IndieFest 11 Brings a Cornucopia of Indie Film to 16th Street & Beyond


[R to L: festival poster, Super Happy Fun Monkeybash!, and Abraham Obama.]

It’s hard to know where to start with an event as huge and as rich as the 11th Annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival, better known as IndieFest, which brings 15 days of first-rate independent film to the Roxie & the Victoria on 16th Street here, and the Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley. Over one hundred features and shorts are on offer, and every single one of them was independently produced. And if that’s not enough for you, there are at least four official parties you can attend as well (see below).

The festival opens at the Victoria tonight with Somers Town (at 7:15), a gritty but humorous black-and-white drama from acclaimed British director Shane Meadows. It’s a story about Tomo (played by Thomas Turgoose), a 16-year old runaway from the Midlands who ends up in the London suburb the film is named for. There he encounters another equally lonely boy, Marek (Piotr Jagiello): a Polish transplant who has just arrived in town with his hard-drinking father. The film is about the bond these two boys form, and the acting is such that both kids won Best Actor prizes at last year’s Tribeca film festival.

No opening night would be complete without a good party after the screening, and this one is being held at CellSpace (Bryant at 18th) with live performances from the Extra Action Marching Band and Live Evil. Admission is free with your ticket stub. Otherwise it’s $10 — $5 in costume. While you’re on that page, check out the other IndieFest parties CellSpace will be hosting, including the Grease-themed wrap party — it’s a sock hop! — a Big Lebowski party, and a Roller Disco party.

But if all that partying sounds too exhausting for you, tonight you can stay put at the Victoria for another film: Fanboys, a madcap story about a group of friends who hatch a plot to break into Skywalker Ranch in order to steal a print of the (then-unreleased) Star Wars: Episode 1. It features cameos by Carrie Fisher, The Shatner, and many, many others. Check out the trailer behind that link for a good idea of what the film’s like.

Closing night, which is on February 22nd at the Shattuck Cinema, features the Cronenberg-eqsue Deadgirl, which proves that no coming-of-age story should be considered complete without a gorgeous undead babe to shake things up. Actually, it looks pretty creepy; watch the trailer behind that link!

In between there are many other highlights, some of which I’ll be writing more about in the days to come: Abraham Obama, the story of Ron English’s famous wheatpaste; Let Them Know, the story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records; Harrison Montgomery, a drama set in the Tenderloin; Super Happy Fun Monkeybash!, a 90–minute compilation of Japanese TV zaniness; and The Achievers, which does for fans of The Big Lebowski what Trekkies did for — well — Trekkies.

And I expect to write about some films that I haven’t even mentioned yet. The festival is just that packed.


Festival website here. Ticket prices: opening night $20 (including party); most events $10 in advance, $11 at the box office. Five-film passes $45, ten-film passes $85. Festival pass good for all films and parties, $200. Most shows are at either the Roxie or Victoria Theatres, each within two blocks of the 16 Street Mission BART station; the Shattuck Cinema is one block south of the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

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