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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See at Docfest

People analyzes the complicated ties that bind George Lucas to his rabid, sometimes antagonistic fans.

If you're looking for an alternative to sports bars and postgame traffic jams – not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you – San Francisco's ninth annual Documentary Festival is in full swing at the Roxie through Thursday. Catch it while you can. For tickets, click here.

1. The People vs. George Lucas
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: Oct. 24, 28
Why:
The passion inspired by Indiana Jones and the original Star Wars trilogy is almost unparalleled, but the relationship between the Bearded Jedi and his legion of disciples has not been without rancor. Featuring all manner of fan artwork and interviews culled from more than 600 hours of footage, Alexandre Philippe’s documentary wonders whether the galaxy far, far away belongs more to Lucas or his most fervid admirers.

2.
Roll Out, Cowboy
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: Oct. 23, 27
Why:
His music might be an acquired taste, but it’s easy to understand how rappin’ cowboy Chris Sandman’s irrepressible energy, goofy lyrics and wild showmanship win him followers wherever he goes. With little money, a busted van and on-again, off-again bandmates who seem simultaneously frustrated by and in awe of him, Sandman heads out on a national tour, soon to regale America and win small-town groupies with his passion for Martin Luther King, strange dance moves and the falsetto he uses to seduce.

3.
Trampoline
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When: Oct. 23, 26
Why:
An intimate portrait of a wounded Minnesota family being torn apart by the stress of their daily lives, Mark Wojahn’s searing sophomore feature makes its world premiere at Docfest. The world Wojahn (What America Needs) depicts is an out-of-control roller coaster of teen parties, third-degree burns, unemployment, drugs and marital strife, but Osla, the resilient matriarch, heroically attempts to slam on the brakes.

4.
Requiem for Bobby Fischer
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 24, 25
Why:
Residents of what was once Yugoslavia remember the late, controversial American chess champion, who once famously spat on a Treasury Department warning that playing a competitive match in their country would violate United Nations sanctions. Comprised of interviews with the Serbians who knew him and rare footage of the chessmaster’s early matches, Fischer’s bizarre legacy is recalled, fondly and otherwise, in Igor Stevanovic’s hour-long portrait.

5.
My Beautiful Dacia
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 24, 28
Why:
Following several generations of Romanians whose lives have been shaped in some measure by the Dacia automobile, one of their nation’s most enduring symbols, documentarians Julio Soto and Stefan Constantinescu’s lighthearted first feature – which gets two sneak-preview screenings at the festival in advance of the film's official premiere – explores not only the connection of man to car, but also the transformation of Romanian society from Communism to capitalism, and past to present.

6.
American: The Bill Hicks Story
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 15, 19
Why:
Whether you think Bill Hicks was the greatest comedian America has ever produced or you simply know of him as the performer whose act was co-opted by Denis Leary, American is a fascinating, exhaustive portrait of a man whose death from cancer, at 32, ended a career of laughably candid confessions, controversy and uncompromising social satire. His strange, inspiring and ultimately heartbreaking journey lends itself to cinema, and Paul Thomas and Matt Harlock’s documentary is one of the year’s best.

7.
Giants
Where:
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., 415-863-1087
When:
Oct. 21, 24, 27
Why:
No, it's not about your new National League champions. Tom Skerritt narrates Jim Dever and Mimi Gan's story of Joel Holland – possibly the greatest giant pumpkin farmer in the world – and his escalating rivalry with fellow gourd-grower Jack LaRue. With pride and prize money on the line, they face a showdown of epic proportions at the championship in Half Moon Bay.