Growing up in San Francisco, armed with a Super 8 camera to document his youthful forays into pyrotechnic mayhem, director Matthew Leutwyler’s journey to Hollywood is more than vaguely reminiscent of the trail blazed by so many innovators – guys with names like Scorsese, Lucas and Spielberg.
“I was always making little movies with my friends and stuff, even when I was at the Town School,” says Leutwyler, 42, whose new drama, Answers to Nothing, opened Friday at the AMC Metreon. “I was 8 or 9, and my brother and a couple friends, Robert and Alexander, we did stupid thing like put a tripod with a camera on it in the middle of our backyard.
Hungry for something new? Head to the Roxie this weekend for San Francisco's annual International Festival of Short Films, featuring dozens of cutting-edge documentaries, music videos and animations representing 20 countries. Otherwise, check yourself into the Castro for a week of bona-fide American classics, including:
1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Sept. 9
Three-time Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who has frequently collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola on movies including The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979) and The Godfather: Part III (1990), will address San Francisco Film Festival attendees tonight about the origins of cinema and the innovators, such as Thomas Edison and Beethoven, who helped shape its prehistory.
When Nash and Joel Edgerton’s father brought his sons a video camera – Nash was 10 at the time, Joel 8 – little did he realize what a profound impact it would have on the course of their personal and professional lives.
Nearly three decades later, Nash, 37, is a well-respected stuntman, having played Ewan McGregor’s double in two Star Wars sequels, and the director of the acclaimed new noir drama The Square; Joel, 35, who most notably co-starred in Star Wars: Episode II and III as Anakin Skywalker’s stepbrother, wrote The Square’s hard-edged script and plays the movie’s most fearsome heavy.
No discussion of Avatar would be complete without mentioning its $230 million budget and the 15 years James Cameron devoted to making it. Fairly or not, such investments raise expectations: For Cameron, who directed The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986), and anointed himself “King of the World” upon winning 11 Oscars for 1997’s Titanic, anything less than a masterpiece might be branded a failure.
Tosca Cafe, the most jaunty of the city’s gin joints, is also well-known as a destination for the celebrity set.
But last night in North Beach when Jeannette Etheredge celebrated the 90th anniversary of her beloved bar, the place was jammed with that most local of breed: San Franciscans.
Generations, in fact, gathered to raise a glass to this historic watering hole -- from cops, politicians, artists, ribald raconteurs to ballet dancers, theater folks, ink-stained wretches and the jet set.
The San Francisco International Animation Festival continues through Sunday at the Embarcadero Center Cinema, featuring some of Walt Disney's earliest shorts and Tarik Saleh's futuristic thriller Metropia, in which a call-center drone (voiced by Vincent Gallo) breaks from his drab routine to become a wannabe spy. Elsewhere:
By now, the story of Avatar is well known: James Cameron, who, along with George Lucas, has done more to revolutionize the moviegoing experience than any other filmmaker during the past quarter-century, began writing the sci-fi epic in 1994 and has been developing the photo-realistic 3-D technology necessary to realize his ambitious vision since the 1997 release of Titanic. After postponing the $200 million project on several occasions, his much-anticipated tale of human imperialism on an alien moon is due Dec. 18.