Welcome to "On Location," a micro-feature taking you to little-known cinematic locations of SF and taking a look at the films shot in the city by the bay over the years. This week we head to the Mill Valley Film Festival for an interview with Spencer McCall, director of the local doc The Institute.
Now that the heatwave has subsided and you've begun to feel that good ol' San Francisco malaise start to return, why not throw on your puffy jacket, grab your boyfriend/girlfriend (if you didn't break up with them in a fit of Indian Summer-induced mania), take a seat in a nice comfy theatre and enjoy some rays of a different sort. This week's recommendations:
Ah Germany, the land of Beer and Techno. I've always been a fan of Germany's cultural output but I never saw what happened this year coming–Berlin has drawn nearly as many of my friends away from me as has New York, and I've increasingly found myself attempting to slot a trip to the city into my schedule. Not an easy task for someone who works mostly in non-profit film. The closest I'll probably get this year is a slew of trips to Public Works and the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, which runs this weekend into next week at the Castro.
"Does everyone here love Dick?"
"Are you here because you're a Dick Head?"
"Who's a Dick Head?"
"I can't hear you!"
"WE'RE THE DICK HEADS!"
"ARE YOU READY FOR SOME DICK??!!"
No, I'm not preparing my carnival barker routine for the Folsom Street Fair this Saturday–in my head, that's how the opening remarks will go down at this weekend's first-ever Philip K. Dick Festival, where PKD scholars from all over the country will gather to discuss the "Ubik" author's life and lasting contributions to science fiction (and science fact).
Whether you're too busy to notice it or swimming in too many invitations to see the forest for the trees, an invisible war for your attention (and cash) is being waged in theaters, art spaces and non-profits around the Bay; the fall film festival season has officially begun. Save a real war, few things could be less rewarding or more dangerous to head into blind than a film festival. Here's a primer on some of September's strong contenders so you don't get caught in an ambush.
This year marks the 7th anniversary of the SF Shorts Film Fest–but you won't see that anywhere on their calendar, program, or in their literature. Like the films within, the festival is almost mercilessly direct in its presentation, from the jaunty pink poster of a cute charicature atop film cannisters apparently planning his suicide (pictographically reminding us that "life is short"), to the unvarnished program listings that cut directly to the films, dispensing with the now-ubiquitous art world priming of "programmer's notes" or "curator's statement."
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