Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Our Five Can't-Miss Picks from SF Indiefest

Still from Berberian Sound Studio.

Peter Strickland's moody, perplexing Berberian Sound Studio is one of many cagey mind-melters making an appearance at SF Indiefest this year.

SF Indiefest, the biggest little film festival San Francisco has to offer, celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year. Calling it their "Quinceañera" in festival literature, the crown jewel of local impresario Jeff Ross' ever-expanding roster marks the occasion with the usual slate of heavy partying and one of its strongest festival lineups in years. Like the slogan for that other little gold rush town in Nevada, what happens at Indiefest often stays at Indiefest, so best judgement suggests you act quick and catch these gems while they're in town, as they may not all be getting regular play here. Here's our top five surefire picks:

Simon Killer

I've mentioned After School director Antonio Campos' bombastic, brutal Simon Killer in this space before (as one of my most anticipated releases of this year), and repeat viewings have only confirmed the appeal of its unique, uncompromising portrayal of a young man's indelicate coming of age. Tickets & Times

Sightseers

Expanding the claustrophobic worlds of Down Terrace and Kill List without shedding the small minds that inhabited them, Ben Wheatley's latest takes the venerable plebe tradition of the caravan holiday to the worst possible conclusion–a deadpan his 'n' hers killing spree. Like Winterbottom's charmer The Trip reenacted by a low mentality couple with a bad case of BPD, Sightseers has an uncanny way of capturing the essence of what it is to be awfully, terribly British, in the worst possible way. Tickets & Times 

Wrong

Office drone Dolph loses his beloved dog, Paul, and his search becomes a search for meaning in his own deeply surreal world of dog telepathy, indoor rain, and consistently mistaken intentions. Quentin Dupieux, director of recent cult fave Rubber, exchanges that film's star, a tire, for the equally plastic mug of Jack Plotnick (Meet the Fockers) with equally perplexing results in this resolutely dadaist exercise that hits the mark far more often than it it misses. Tickets & Times

Antiviral

Brandon Cronenberg's debut is perhaps the kind of film that more inflexible fans of his father's (David Cronenberg) early work wish he was still creating–it's a cutting satire of our pathological future as consumers (quite literally) of celebrity culture firmly pocketed in the horror tradition. Set in a bleak future where celebrities' diseases are harvested and sold to the populace as ways to "connect" with their experience, Antiviral's motions echo Videodrome and Dead Ringers, but its surface shares the unsettling sterility of the other Cronenberg's latest, Cosmopolitan. Tickets & Times

Sun Don't Shine

Director Amy Seimetz's first feature smartly fuses the rambling realism of character-driven indies like Old Joy and The Color Wheel with a lovers-on-the-run, body-in-the-trunk noir narrative left to bake in the midsummer sun. Framed mostly in close-up, expressive new faces Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley throw sparks as the couple in question, while floating and flaring between tense, doomed moments of romance and wrenching blow outs. Tickets & Times

Bonus picks: Berberian Sound Studio, The Other Side of Sleep, Video Diary of a Lost Girl.