Arts & Events

85 Films, 7 Nights of Live Music, and Parties Galore
SF Indiefest Opens with a Kaboom!

By Gar Smith
Monday January 31, 2011 - 08:56:00 PM

Grab your popcorn and fasten your seatbelts — San Francisco’s 13th annual explosion of independent cinema is set to light up the Bay Area beginning February 3. This year, Indiefest’s intrepid organizers plan to screen more than 80 films from the US, Britain, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan at the Roxie Theater (3117 16th at Valencia) over two event-packed weeks. 

If you’re the kind of movie freak who can handle watching a slew of six cinema slam-dunks in sequence at one sitting, Indiefest is your cup of tea. (Better make that your “strong pot-of-coffee,” ‘cause catching a six-pack of Indies will have you locked inside a theater from 2 in the afternoon to well past midnight — a small price to pay, perhaps, for the chance to catch a line-up that includes “The Beast Pageant,” “Seed of Chucky,” and “Nude Nuns with Big Guns”). 

And it’s not just films! 

In addition to the event’s eleven MusicFest screenings — music-themed films like “Bloodied but Unbowed,” “Corpusse,” and “Superstonic Sound” (not a typo) — Indiefest has booked seven rocking nights of live music with more that 40 bands descending on CELLspace (2050 Bryant at 18th). Get your hot, mammal-juices bouncing to the blasts of Spawn Atomic, Bad Boy Sinister, Los Shimmy Shakers, Sistas in the Pit, The Impalers and MC Meathook & the Vital Organs. And, for the younger crowd, there’s a day of “Next Gen” teen and pre-teen bands — School of Rock, Malicious, La Tosca and The Agent Deadlies. 

The festival kicks off with an opening night showing of Gregg Araki’s scary-hilarious “Kaboom,” a comedy-horror coming-of-angst film that combines Donnie Darko’s sense of haunted doom with a pyrotechnically snappy script that echoes the snarky bite of Juno’s Diablo Cody. As a bonus, there is director Gregg Araki’s trademark sexiness with every body-gorgeous cast-member from the “ambisexual” hero to his growing circle of star-crossed cohorts — male and female — enthusiastically climbing into bed with each other (with what could fairly be called “mixed results”). Although the film ends with an ultimate “kaboom,” I predict a sequel. These characters are just too ingratiating to leave behind. You’ll want to follow their “future adventures.” 

Indiefest filmes aren’t for everyone and many will certainly prove a challenge to average moviegoers but here are a few selections that could rank as “family entertainment.” “Worst in Show” is a documentary about the “World’s Ugliest Dog Contest” (the latest edition returns to Petaluma this summer), Geoff Marslett has crafted a thoughtful and amusing graphic-novel-styled trip to “Mars,” “The Singularity Is Near” explores how increasingly “intelligent” technology is redefining what it means to be “human,” and “The Happy Poet” celebrates the career-choice of a push-cart vendor who opts to replace his menu of hot-dogs with a line of all-organic veggie entrees. 

But wait! There’s more! 

In addition to the seven nights of musical mayhem, Indiefest’s off-screen antics will include a sub-culture-collision of patented Indiefest parties that includes the traditional Big Lebowski Party, the Superbowl-themed Men in Tights Party and the end-of-festival Roller Disco Wrap Party. 

And, for those who would rather not have to face another Valentine’s Day, Indiefest will devote February 14 to “Love Bites: A Power Ballads Sing-Along.” The Indiefesters promise that this 100-minute compilation of “badass music” from Guns & Roses, REO Speedwagon and Warrant, will be celebrated in the appropriate manner: “We’ll hold lighters in the air and sway, we’ll pound fists in the sky in defiance of those who would not dare love us, and we’ll do it all with teased hair and animal-print tights on.” 

Tickets and Times 

Movie tickets are $11 at the door (five films for $50/ 10 films for $90/ $150 for all films and parties). Tickets for MustcFest events go for $10. An additional $40 will get you a pass to all eight CELLspace shows. A $65 Music/Film Pass will open the doors to all the live performances plus all seven MusicFest flicks. And for the big-spenders, a $180 Everything Pass will put you first-in-line for every film and party you can find the time and stamina to tackle. 

For full listings and descriptions of all 85 films in this year’s Indiefest (and for information on online advance purchases), go to: