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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See at Docfest

Heavy Metal Parking Lot director Jeff Krulik pays tribute to rowdy headbangers with Picnic, playing Saturday and Monday at the Roxie.

The docs are in, and the prognosis is promising. Starting today, SF IndieFest's 10th Documentary Festival, a two-week celebration of the world's most penetrating filmmakers and their latest offerings, takes over the Roxie Theater and the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley. Here's a look at what's on tap.

1.
Heavy Metal Picnic
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 15, 17
Why:
Jeff Krulik, the VHS auteur responsible for Heavy Metal Parking Lot, one of the best-known low-fi classics of the tape-trading underground during the '80s and '90s, returns with a sort-of prequel. While Lot depicted a generation lost in the haze of drugs, alcohol and, to quote Spinal Tap, "headbanging bullshit," Picnic is a celebration of metal madness that focuses on the 1985 Full Moon Jamboree in Maryland, a raucous farm party captured using a home video camera and a stolen CBS News microphone.

2. Oil City Confidential
Where:
Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-464-5980
When:
Oct. 14
Why:
Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury, Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten) concludes his punk-rock trilogy with the story of Dr. Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock 'n' roll, and left ruin in their path. Taking London by storm, they sped through Europe and conquered the UK before imploding just as punk was born and America beckoned. Featuring contributions from members of The Clash, Blondie and The Sex Pistols, Confidential recounts the fascinating legend of the greatest pub band in the world.

3. Dirty Pictures
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 14, 18
Why:
Known as the "Godfather of Psychedelics," Dr. Alexander Shulgin is the rogue chemist who discovered the effects of Ecstasy and more than 200 other mind-altering drugs. Shulgin, who fearlessly (or, some might say, recklessly) tested his concoctions on himself and his wife Ann, is widely regarded as one of the great chemists of the 20th century, though his discoveries often put him at odds with the law. Pictures recounts his heady journey, and the impact of his work.

4. Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 16, 20
Why: Forget the M.I.T. punks whose exploits inspired the distressingly shallow 21. Rollers follows the rise of the Churchteam, arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America. In their short existence, they have taken millions from casinos. But because the team is comprised entirely of Christians, some of whom are pastors, theirs is a calling constantly fraught with conflict: How can you serve God while hustling blackjack dealers for a living?

5. Taliya.Date.Com
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 14, 18
Why: It’s difficult to find a good date in Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, Taliya Finkel is online, looking. She goes on dreadful dates, draws unflattering self-portraits, and argues with her gay roommate about whether she’s dieting. Then it’s back online. Finkel, who directed this follow-up to her 2008 Docfest selection Over My Dad’s Body, crafts a perfect blend of tragedy and comedy in her search not just for real love, but an acceptance of her own image and identity in a digital world.

6. The Furious Force of Rhymes
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 14, 20
Why: The award-winning Rhymes demystifies the hip-hop stereotypes of swagger and bravado to reveal a unifying force of underestimated significance. Lushly photographed, bursting with music and dance, Joshua Atesh Litle's documentary takes audiences on a journey around the globe, tracing the hip-hop's origins from the streets of New York in the '70s to the modern-day ghettos of Europe and into the third-world cities of Africa and Cuba. The result: a compelling contemplation of the combustible intersection between politics and art.

7. Adventures in Plymptoons!
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 16
Why: Alexia Anastasio's documentary about perennial IndieFest favorite Bill Plympton follows his path from Portland, where he spent his childhood drawing indoors, to a self-made career as an independent animator and cartoonist. Featuring interviews with Terry Gilliam, Ralph Bakshi, Will Vinton and other luminaries of the animation field, Plymptoons! is a comprehensive portrait of a remarkable artist.