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Introducing the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2014

ParsonsWidow.1Well, folks, it’s that time of year.  In San Francisco, the film festival season is pushing on with gusto following the close of the San Francisco International Film Festival and just before the Documentary Film Festival, Green Film Festival, and Frameline. But the festival that has always shone for me as the most unique is approaching in one week – the Silent Film Festival.

If you have not been to one of the Silent Film Festivals in the past, you are in for a treat. The model of the festival, like that of a few others around the world, is to include live accompaniment with the best prints or digital restorations. Here in San Francisco, we have the privilege and pleasure of having all this in the historic Castro Theatre.

If you are wondering why this experience is unique and what you should see and don’t have the time or fortitude to stay through the whole event, I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with the Silent Film Festival’s artistic director, Anita Monga, to talk to her about the festival and what she is most looking forward to.

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Talking with Elliot Lavine, Programmer of Noir Film Festival “I Wake Up Dreaming”

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Opening Night Film: “Stranger on the 3rd Floor”

Look out, San Francisco! Nine days of double and triple features of gritty noir are heading your way. From May 16th to May 25th the Roxie Theatre (3117 16th Street) will be the destination for all of your cinematic underworld fixes. It’s the “I Wake Up Dreaming” film festival!

Be sure to check out the complete schedule here, but before you do, I have a special treat; Our gust Alien staff writer, whose goes by the name Ghfffhgungggbfggbf, (pretty much unpronounceable to humans, I know) recently sat down with the festival’s founder and acting programmer, Mr. Elliot Lavine for a quick Q&A. Here’s how the interview went down:

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Interview with Tommy Wiseau, the Driving Force Behind “The Room”

The Room 4Well, I didn’t quite get the interview I was hoping for, which would have taken place during a game of catch football. However, I still got the chance to ask a fair amount of questions via e-mail, and I have to admit, though the answers were brief, and even a tad confusing (or maybe they’re just over my head), I was not at all disappointed.

For those of you who don’t know who Tommy Wiseau is, stop everything this instant! Quickly gather some friends, go rent The Room, and watch it. Okay, now watch it again (this time fast-forwarding through the icky two sex scenes).

I’ll assume you just did as I instructed you to do, and are now ready to read my exclusive interview with wonder-talent, Tommy Wiseau. Enjoy.

I want to say thank you in advance to Mr. Wiseau for blessing Filmbalaya with his time. Read More…

Interview with Bay Area Filmmaker Joshua Moore

ContentImage-2045-31784-_MG_9936copyJoshua Moore is a San Francisco-based writer/director.

His “delightfully freewheeling debut” feature, I THINK IT’S RAINING had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic, in 2011 where it was nominated for the Independent Camera Award and received glowing reviews from Screen Daily and Variety. I THINK IT’S RAINING was also the opening night film for the Cinema by the Bay Festival, San Francisco, in 2011 and has played in many film festivals across the country including Rooftop Films, New York City. The film has been released on digital platforms across North America.

Joshua’s most recent film, KEEP A TIDY SOUL debuted at the Entrevues Belfort Film Festival in France and continues to play across the world, including most recently the Mill Valley Film Festival.

When he’s not making films, you can find Joshua riding along the Northern California coastline on his vintage motorcycle, or in this case answering some film related questions.

Follow the jump to see what Josh has to say on an array of topics including the hardships of making an indie film, and some of his guilty movie pleasures, plus trailers and links to his films. Read More…

We Have A T-Rex, And an Interview With One To Prove It!

409252Jurassic Park was released twenty years ago and many movie goers remember this film as a breakthrough in effects for movies. Jurassic Park raised the bar for the production of action/adventure film winning three Academy Awards in sound effects, sound mixing, and visual effects. The characters in the film spanned stereotypes of humanity and the plot has elements of betrayal, sacrifice, healing, and survival. The theme of the film is human intellect versus nature; the quest for science and reason to overcome nature and chaos.

For me to write a review or opinion piece that has already been written on the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park could only demonstrate my lack of writing credibility. Instead, I used some connections I have from college and found myself deep in the Nevada desert to speak with a critic like none other. Self-named Georgia is a three year-old, fully conscious Tyrannosaurus rex. Georgia lives in a bunker beneath the Nevada desert. She is part of an overly elaborate experiment proving theories on consciousness, genetics, and physical pain. She spends most of her time reading and watching film when not being subjected to horrifying examinations. I was granted exclusive rights to her critique of Jurassic Park.

Follow the jump for this exclusive interview Read More…

Interview With Filmakers of “The Imposter”: Director Bart Layton and Producer Dimitri Doganis

“Memory was a big part of what this film was about; memory and subjectivity and the way in which you rely on your instincts.”

The Imposter, as described by its IMDB page is a documentary centered on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas famil”y that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years and opens in San Francisco Friday August 3rd at The Embarcadero Center Cinemas.

As a preface to this interview i would like to start by saying that; this was my second interview and although nervous beyond words, I found myself not only excited about its outcome, but also pleasantly surprised in its content.  Bart Layton I can only describe as modest and charming.  Him and producer Dimitri Doganis talk about their craft with passion and ease.  I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.  Click the jump to read my interview with both Dimitri and Bart

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Interview with Marshall Curry, Oscar-nominated director of “If A Tree Falls, A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”

“If A Tree Falls” is a documentary that I found myself deeply respecting, so when I got the opportunity to interview the director, Marshall Curry, I couldn’t refuse. The film itself is one which, as has been said many times of it, asks more questions than it answers. As such, I found that I had many questions to ask one of the main creators of the film.

Tom Ellis: So, this is your second Oscar nomination?

Marshall Curry: Right.

TE: How do you feel being nominated for an Oscar?

MC: It’s great. The main thing is how it attracts attention to the movies. You work so hard on these things, and it’s really hard to get anybody to watch documentaries, so adding something like an Oscar nomination attracts a much bigger audience than you would get otherwise. And it’s fun to get dressed up and rub elbows with George Clooney. Read More…

Interview with Azazel Jacobs (Director) and Creed Bratton (Actor) of “Terri”

Earlier this month the film Terri was released on DVD.  The film was this year’s Centerpiece at the San Francisco International Film Festival.  Filmbalaya’s Tom Ellis had the chance to catch up with both the Director, Azazel Jacobs and one of the film’s star, Creed Bratton during the festival.  Here’s how it all went down.

After much mumbling about magnetism and the novelty of me having an older tape recorder, we began:

Tom Ellis: Alright! Well, I’m glad to have you guys here…

Creed Bratton: Did you see the movie last night?

Tom Ellis: I did!

CB: I think I saw you there, right?

TE: Possibly, I was in the back, but greatly enjoyed it. I’ll give you compliments when this [pointing to the tape recorder] is off.

CB: We want them now.

TE: Um.. oh.. I.. it was good…

CB: Alright. Alright.

TE: So, Aza. You’re a relatively new up-and-coming director…

Azazel Jacobs: It’s been a long time that I’ve been an up-and-comer; well, I’ve been hearing it for a long time. Read More…

Director of “Farmageddon” – Kristin Canty – Interview

Tom Ellis: So, this was your first film?

Kristin Canty: I keep saying it… yes, this is my first film ever, and it’s my only film ever. I did have experience – I made little films for nonprofits, to show what they did. And that’s kind of how I expected this to be, a film for a nonprofit, or to help the farming organizations, to show what they do and show what problems the small farmers are having getting their product to market. The different issues with all kinds of small farmers – that’s how it started.

TE: With one particular focus, one particular farm?

KC: No, it started out very broad, with the difficulty all farmers are having – commercial farmers, raw dairy farmers, pasteurized, small dairy farmers who sent their milk out to the larger companies. Pesticide farmers, organic farmers – it just started out with all the issues that small farmers were having. That was too broad.

So it ended up focusing on the raids, because that is what originally stemmed my anger, my shock, about what was happening to small farmers. So it was pretty much focusing on seven extreme examples of the federal government going in and shutting down small farms with armed agents. And then also it discusses regulations that don’t really make sense, that really impede the small farmer from getting to market. Read More…

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