Arts & Events

Movies in the Margin:
The 25th Annual Berkeley Video and Film Festival 2016

Gar Smith
Friday October 28, 2016 - 03:42:00 PM

It's time, once again, to roll out the red carpet on Addison Street and get ready for six days of Small Screen glory with The Berkeley Video and Film Festival (BVFF), the East Bay's one-and-only, week-long celebration of film and video from around the block and around the world.

As Mel Vapour, one of the visionary EBMC honchos behind this cinematic superfest, recently put it: "What film festival in the East Bay screens the most current and cutting-edge indie cinema? Year after year, it's the Berkeley Video & Film Festival."

The 25th edition of the BVFF opens for business this Friday, offering six full days of films and videos in two distinct sessions—the first runs from October 28-30 followed by another that extends from November 4-6. It all takes place at the East Bay Media Center's intimate performance space in Berkeley's Downtown Arts District (1939 Addison Street).

This year's BVFF features more than 50 indie documentaries, features, film school shorts, experimental cinema and works from Russia, Spain, Hong Kong and Sweden. Filmmakers will be on hand for Q&A's following screenings of The Return (Tribeca Winner), Hearing Is Believing, and Ghost Town to Havana.  




Here is the schedule of films. For more info, go to 

Details on purchasing tickets appears at the bottom of the schedule. 

FILM SCHOOL FRIDAYS (Friday October 28

An assortment of outstanding short films from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and other powerhouse indie films. 


GENGHIS KHAN CONQUERS THE MOON Official Trailer from Kerry Yang on Vimeo


7:00—LOST CITY OF TOMORROW (Auden Bui. Drama: 16 min.)  

A cynical human has an unexpected encounter with an android in space. 

7:20—GENGHIS KHAN CONQUERS THE MOON (Kerry Yang. Drama: 17 min.)  

In Genghis Khan's last days, a Wizard sends him to the Moon. His greatest conquest becomes a spiritual clash, between one man's need and the silence of the Universe. 

7:40- LEND A HAND FOR LOVE (John Alan Thompson. Romantic Comedy/Animation: 14 min.)  

Best Film School Animation Award 

Robert Wagner narrates the romance of two lovers who spend more time screaming than they do embracing. 

7:55—HOMEGIRLS (Elizabeth Cirillo. Doc: 21 min.) 

Former gang members Maria and Joselyn attempt to start new lives overcoming the temptations of addiction and street life. 


8:30—TAKANAKUY (Austin Kolodney. Comedy: 11 min.) 

Grand Festival Award—Film School Comedy 

Channeling an ancient Peruvian tradition, a suburban family airs out grievances on Christmas Day with a series of bare-knuckle brawls. 

8:45—WARM SMOOTH MEAN (Jess Maldaner. Drama: 14 min.) 

A young man, troubled by his legendary father's suicide, travels to a small town in search of answers from his father's former bandmate. 

9:00—POKEY POKEY (Jake Zhang. Animation/Comedy: 7 min.) 

A father starts a journey to figure out the best way to protect his son from seeing filthiness of this crime-ridden city. 

9:10—PRISONER (Matthew Edwards. Drama: 21 min.) 

Grand Festival Award Film School Short Feature  

Stranded behind enemy lines, a war-weary American takes a young German soldier prisoner and forces him to lead the way back to safety. 




Mousse trailer from John Hellberg on Vimeo


9:45—MOUSSE (John Hellberg. Comedy: 42 min. Sweden) 

Grand Festival Award in Comedy  

What could be easier than robbing a small tobacco shop on the outskirts of town? The ultimate hit for some fast cash. Mousse is a man of pride and principles and fed up. But what happens when he faces principles different to his own? 

Saturday October 29 


The Ride Trailer from Waylon Bacon on Vimeo


3:45—PRIVY (David Finkelstein. Experimental: 20 min."  

A young women is forced to live with an unsympathetic stepmother, and spends much of her time in an outhouse, escaping into books and her own vivid fantasy life. "PRIVY" uses oblique, poetic language, fanciful images and musical interludes. Based on an improvisation by actors David Finkelstein and Ian W. Hill. 

4:10—LIFTER (Selkin Fedor. Comedy: 12 min. Russia) 

Alexey is a novice sportsman. He is arranging a course of power lifting trainings for his grandfather, who is going to marry shortly. Despite the advanced age of his grandfather, the bride is dreaming of all the wedding traditions. One of them is that the groom must carry her across a bridge. 

4:25—HIVE (Duygu Nazli Akova. Experimental: 4 min. Turkey  

"Hive" takes a look at the unplanned urbanization, which has been paraded under the guise of "urban renewal", Istanbul has been undergoing for many years. This situation is conveyed through the visualization of Marx's Bee and machine metaphor. This video focuses on the worker's conditions, contract labor and urban renewal. 

4:30—THE RIDE (Waylon Bacon. Short Feature: 15 min.)  

A young man accepts a ride from a traveling salesman that goes horribly, horribly wrong. Starring Clinton Roper Elledge, Armen Babasoloukian, and Norma Burgess. Written and directed by Waylon Bacon. Produced by Joel O'Neal and all of our fantastic Indiegogo Backers! 



5:00—GHOST TOWN TO HAVANA (Eugene Corr. Doc: 87 min.) Q&A Follows  

Teen baseball between Oakland, California and Havana, Cuba. 


7:15—HEARING IS BELIEVING (Lorenzo DeStefano. Music Doc: 99 min.) 

Grand Festival Award—Best Music Documentary 2016 

In a world filled with Noise, there is another Sound worth Hearing, and her name is Rachel Flowers. Q&A Follows with Lorenzo DeStefano 


9:45—SARAH SMITH: INTO THE LIGHT (Stacy Poulos. Music Video: 4 min.) 

Take an inspiring journey with Sarah Smith, best adult contemporary artist, as she belts out a heart-felt riveting performance from reflection to healing. 'Into The Light' a song by Sarah Smith and Dermot Grehan. 

9:55—RACIAL FACIAL (Jeff Adachi. Educational: 8 min.) 

Grand Festival Award—Educational Film 

Racial Facial, an award-winning eight-minute film by SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi, shines a bright light on the history of racism in America. 

10:00—SWEET TALK: YOUR TOUCH (Zack Scott. Music Video: 5 min.) 

Sweet Talk, Austin's local rocker band kicks ass with their new Music Video full of broken down cars, creepy Hosts and some good old fashion glam zombies! 

10:05—THE EASTERN SEE: THE FOOL (Zack Scott. Music Video: 5 min.) 

The Eastern Sea, Austin Texas local band, kicks ass with their new music video full of space ice cream, lights in the sky and an alien autopsy date night! Totally sick. 

10:10—A. SINCLAIR: THEY BREED AND SAY HELLO (Zack Scott. Music Video: 3 min.) 

A. Sinclair's, music video where a dude learns the radical horror's of blacking out! Directed by Zachary T. Scott, Cinematography by Taylor Camarot, Staring Sam Stinson. 

10:15—A. SINCLAIR: YOU GOT A HEART (Zack Scott. Music Video: 3 min.) 

A man wakes up to his heart being ripped from his chest. Now he has to get it back! 

Sunday October 30  


2:00—HERE COME THE VIDEO FREEX (Jon Nealon & Jenny Raskin. Doc: 79 min.) 

Here Come the Videofreex starts in 1969. America is undergoing cultural and political revolutions, but you'd never know it by watching TV. Young CBS executive Don West creates a secret project to tell the stories of the counterculture ignored by TV news. He hires a group of young people who have embraced a brand new medium—video. They named themselves the Videofreex and on CBS's dime, they traveled the country in an RV taping footage the networks could never get. Mary Curtis Ratcliff, one of the Videofreex pioneer activists will provide a Q & A following the screening of the film. 

4:30—THE RETURN (Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega. Doc: 84 min.) 

The Return depicts the struggles of two newly released former lifers as they deal with restoring relationships, avoiding personal triggers, finding meaningful employment, and managing the mental health problems which had previously contributed to their imprisonment. Q&A Follows  



6:45—LEFT ON PURPOSE (Justin Schein, Eden Wurmfeld, David Mehlman. Doc: 95 min.) 

A feature-length documentary that confronts the growing issues of depression, isolation and aging through an intense character driven story of the relationship between filmmaker and subject. It provides a rare cinematic look at what it means to be a friend to someone in pain. 

Friday November 4 


4:45—ROSIE (Kimberly Vela. Young Producer: 12 min.)  

Grand Festival Award—Young Producer 

This story follows a teen girl through the emotional repercussions of getting an abortion and the healing process that derived from a new friendship. 


Short Films from Columbia College, Hollywood, California 

5:00—1000 WAYS TO BREAK UP (Jon Walkup, Kenneth Beckerdite, Richard Eggly. Comedy: 8 min.) 

A relationship break-up artist travels the country to help couples with problems break up forever. 

5:10—LOST (Jeremy Nielsen, Director and Rebecca Clark, Producer. Drama: 14min.) 

Peter, a mentally disturbed cocaine dealer and lost boy, ends up sleeping with and killing his rival—another of his kind. 

5:25—WHACK THE FOLLY (Peter Zaragoza, Director & Jeremie Jej-Porcin, Producer. Comedy: 29 min.

An offbeat lawyer must overcome his over-indulgent behavior in order to repay a shady businessman known as The 'Shark.' 


Friday November 4 


Short Films From University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts  

6:15—OUT OF THE BAG (Aidan Bradbury-Aranda. Doc: 16 min.)  

A short documentary exploring the ways in which artists are re-appropriating the surplus of single-use plastic bags as their medium to create artworks, with varying intentions: from raising environmental awareness, to expressing the conflict of personal emotions. 

6:30—THE FOG (Ted Martland. Drama: 14 min.) 

An acting class becomes an unexpected battle for a young combat veteran. 

6:45—LIMITLESS POTENTIAL (Philip Bastian & Fangso Liu. Sci-fi: 12 min.) 

In the palm of his hand, a middle-schooler named Bob can generate limitless amounts of energy. One day while getting bullied at school, Bob accidentally blows up a kid. He must escape the cops while learning to understand and accept his power. 

7:00—REAL BOY (Kelly Luu. Drama: 14 min.) 

A disconnected, young boy grieves the tragic loss of his father through a friendship with a child-like robot 

7:15—IN THE BASEMENT (Matt McGregor. Horror: 13 min.) 

A young girl is kidnapped and imprisoned by a man hell-bent on building a family by kidnapping women and forcing them to play into his demented fantasy. But this time he just may have kidnapped the wrong girl. 


7:45—MY CLAIRE (Rajendra Thakurathi. Drama: 14 min.) 

My Claire is about a broken man, who deteriorates after the passing of his wife, who must return to help him move on with his life. 

8:00—SANCTITY (Eric Adrian Marshall. Drama: 17 min.) 

A by-the-book federal agent and his desperate ex-girlfriend struggle with an unplanned pregnancy in a near-future America where Roe v. Wade has been overturned. 

8:20—THE LOTUS GUN (Amanda Milius. Drama/Sci-fi: 25 min.) 

Nora and her best friend and lover, Daph, live an idyllic life in a rugged post-apocalyptic world. When a stranger arrives and Daph disappears, Nora has to go to extreme measures to get back what's hers. 



9:00—BROKE (Heath Davis. Feature: 98 min.—Australia.) 

A disgraced sports star and gambling addict attempts to turn his life around with the support of his number one fan. Starring: Steve Bastoni, Brendan Cowell, and Max Cullen. 

Saturday November 5 


4:50—MONSTER MOVIE (Neil Ira Needleman. Experimental: 21 min.)  

A mash-up salute to 1950s Monster Movies 

5:15—SKETCH (Elgin Jackson & Chase McGaffie. Comedy: 6 min.) 

Just two guys who have nothing going for them but one thing—loving to hate on people trying to make it. 

5:25—THE TIME MACHINE (Lorne Miller. Comedy: 20 min.) 

Woman breaks up with man. Man goes back in time and meets himself. Gets over breakup. 

5:45—SLICES (Larry Barnes. Experimental: 35 min.) 

A series of abstract vignettes. Motion pictures. Each frame is a complete artistic image fused with a self composed and performed electronic music soundtrack 

6:20—My Phenix City Story (Neil Ira Needleman. Experimental: 4 min.) 

Some thoughts about the changing nature of violence over the years—in real life and on the screen. 

6:25—ALL WE DID WAS LIVE (Andrew Schrader. Doc: 20 min.) 

A look in how gentrification in Berkeley and Albany, CA has displaced residents of the former Albany Bulb park, and how they live in the aftermath of their eviction. 


7:00—DOGTOWN REDEMPTION (Amir Soltani & Chihiro Wimbush. Doc: 94 min.) 

Shot over eight years, Dogtown Redemption is not only the intimate story of recyclers in West Oakland but also a journey through a landscape of love and loss, devotion and addiction, prejudice and poverty. Q&A Follows  


9:15—JASMINE (Dax Phelan. Feature: 80 min.) 

On the one-year anniversary of his wife's unsolved murder, a grieving husband (Jason Tobin, "Better Luck Tomorrow") becomes obsessed with a mysterious interloper (Byron Mann, "The Big Short," "The Man with the Iron Fists") who he believes is responsible for her death. Co-starring Eugenia Yuan ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny," "Revenge of the Green Dragons") and Sarah Lian ("Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong"). 

Sunday November 6 


Adi | At The Confluence [Official Trailer] from Joor Baruah on Vimeo


2:00—ADI AT THE CONFLUENCE (Joor Baruah. Documentary: 20 min.)  

Through a series of encounters with the indigenous Adi people around the old town of Pasighat in the remote Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on the border of India and China, Adi At the Confluence, portrays the resilience of this unique tribe amidst a confluence of issues related to their land, water and identity. 

2:30—THE GREAT TRANSMISSION (Guna Foundation. Doc: 55 min.) 

The film traces Tibetan Buddhist literature's epic journey through history, and one refuge lama's modern efforts to preserve these texts. It closes with a pressing inquiry into whether Tibet's culture can survive. 

3:30—OCCAM'S RAZOR (Makan Talayeh and Tautis Skorka. Short: 18 min.) 

A series of unexplainable events plague a group of young travelers at an isolated motel in Death Valley in the winter of 1986. 

4:00—MASTERS OF RHYTHM (Eve Ma. Music Doc: 28 min.)  

Q&A to follow 

The music video, shot in Peru, stars three of the world's finest percussionists. They play the Cajon, sing, dance and talk about their rich Afro-Peruvian culture. 


5:00—HEARING IS BELIEVING (Lorenzo DeStefano. Music Doc: 99 min.) 

Grand Festival Award—Best Music Documentary 

In a world filled with Noise, there is another Sound worth Hearing, and her name is Rachel Flowers. 


7:00—The Human Mirror (Marc Nadal. Short Feature: 16 minutes. Spain) 

Based on the real story of a 17-year-old girl with social anxiety having no contact with the outside world. Never leaving her home, she watches the cruelties being reported by the media daily, resulting in a tragically horrific breakdown. 

Purchasing Tickets 

Tickets are available by calling (510) 843-3699 

$15. Saturdays. All Day Pass and 7:00pm and later 

$10. Fridays and Sundays. General Admission 

*$5. *Students, *Elders, *Disabled, All Days, All Day Pass or use the PayPal link on the EBMC webpage. 

Please indicate which ticket day and the amount—with your name and phone number. Your tickets will be held at the ticket window.