It’s the 25th anniversary of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival (SF IndieFest) and it takes place February 2-12, 2023. This year’s festival includes 62 shorts and 35 features from 14 countries. There are 34 films that are local to the Bay Area.
“While the city might have changed over the last 25 years, SF IndieFest’s mission and curation hasn’t,” says Festival Director Jeff Ross. “We still seek the new and unusual to present to San Francisco film fans.”
For 25 years, the mission of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival has been to seek out new film discoveries for Bay Area film fans to enjoy. Now, with the age of computerized algorithms, a human touch is needed more than ever to curate a unique cinematic experience. SF IndieFest continues to provide new and unusual alternatives to the Hollywood Industrial Complex. As in the past 24 years, SF IndieFest brings the freshest new independent films and digital programs from around the world to San Francisco audiences. These are films you won’t find at the multiplex or popular streaming services.
The SF IndieFest is pleased to screen the related LGBTQIA+ films as part of the 25th anniversary of the festival which returns February 2-12, 2023. More information at www.sfindie.com.
Director: Ken Kwek
When brothers Sean and Ricky are invited to attend church with Sean’s girlfriend, they are treated to a bizarre Evangelical affair capped by a searing anti-LGBT sermon. Sean, a Youtuber, soon gets into trouble for dropping a video lampooning the megachurch’s homophobic pastor. As Sean struggles to survive prison, Ricky gains prominence as an LGBT activist. Both find themselves at the heart of a culture war teetering on the edge of violence.
Director: Bruce LaBruce
Lidia, a fashion model, discovers her husband Michelangelo, a boxer, is having an affair with Sandro, a fashion photographer. She deviously plots her revenge in this erotic comedy set against the backdrop of the fashion world.
Written and directed by Bruce LaBruce, the Canadian independent filmmaker and provocateur who has been assailing the sexual status quo for over thirty years.
Director: Dana Dveris, Max Schmitz
A long distance couple meet in a small town between them once a month in an attempt to preserve their relationship. Over the course of six months they begin to lose grip on what they once ha
Director: Ivete Raquel Lucas, Patrick Xavier Bresnan
Naked Gardens follows the stories of individuals drawn to an unusual community, which promises both non-conformist values and a cheap place to live. As its aging owner Morley and his residents prepare for the largest gathering of nudists in the U.S., they are faced with challenges both as a community and as individuals.
Below are highlights of the festival’s programming.
CIRCUS OF THE SCARS: THE INSIDER ODYSSEY OF THE JIM ROSE CIRCUS SIDESHOW
Director: Chicory Wees
Thursday, February 2nd, 6:30pm
A scrappy sensational sideshow revival act playing Seattle dive bars is suddenly propelled into the big time, riding the same wave that brought grunge rock crashing into mainstream culture. Sold out audiences gape in horror and howl with laughter, but behind-the-scenes, inner struggles and battles with their maniacal ring leader push the troupe ever closer to an early implosion.
Director Chicory Wees will be in attendance, along with special guest appearance/performances by Jim Rose Circus Sideshow Marvels Zamora the Torture King, The Enigma and Matt the Tube Crowley!
Director: Charles Lyons
Thursday, February 2nd, 8:45pm
A San Francisco technical writer and a San Jose artist hook up at a BDSM club, their one-night stand evolving into a tentative relationship in which they explore each other’s kinks and try to keep things casual.
Stay for the Q&A after the screening, then come to the after-party at Cat Club, 1190 Folsom Street.
Director: Rick Charnoski
Saturday, February 4th, 9:00pm
Red, a runaway in the 1980s, returns to the outskirts of her NorCal hometown to track down her wayward father and falls in with a young drifter in this grungy, politically subversive mix of narrative, documentary, and trash B-movies about the underbelly of America.
Director Rick Charnoski and other members of the cast and crew are scheduled to be in attendance.
PUNK ROCK VEGAN MOVIE
Saturday, February 4th, 2:15pm
In his directorial debut, Moby tells the story of how punk rock became such a fertile and surprising breeding ground for vegan activism. It’s also a call to action, unapologetically reminding people that in a deeply broken world it is incumbent upon each of us to stand up and fight intelligently, passionately, and loudly against injustice.
Director Moby is scheduled to appear for an on-stage Q&A following the film.
THIS IS NATIONAL WAKE
Director: Mirissa Neff
Thursday, February 9th, 6:30pm
National Wake was formed by two black brothers from Soweto and a white guitarist from Johannesburg whose collaboration broke all of apartheid’s laws.
Director Mirissa Neff scheduled to be in attendance.
Director: Ethan Eng
Thursday, February 9th, 8:45pm
Don’t bring your parents. Don’t bring your kids. THERAPY DOGS is a high school film that’s wrong in all the right ways. More than a coming-of-age story, it’s a high-intensity time capsule fueled by adolescent angst and rebellion.
ADDITIONAL NOTABLE FILMS
Director: Sophie Gailbert
When 25-year-old Cherry discovers she is ten weeks pregnant, she has a few urgent decisions to make. Drifting between her job at the costume shop, rollerblading dance team, semi-serious boyfriend, and still living with her parents, the young protagonist is caught between a curiosity for motherhood and a desire to follow her unfulfilled dreams.
Director Sophie Gailbert is scheduled for a Q&A following the film.
CHOP & STEELE
Directors: Berndt Mader, Ben Steinbauer
Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher didn’t have all that much to do growing up in suburban Wisconsin. To bide their time, they collected castaway VHS tapes from thrift stores and played increasingly elaborate pranks. Their passion for cringeworthy absurdity eventually parlayed into The Found Footage Festival, a curated roadshow of bonkers obscurities from the annals of discarded VHS collections across the United States.
Masks are encouraged at events, but not required.
Thursday, February 2nd, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
OPENING NIGHT PARTY, 518 Valencia, 518 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Celebrate 25 years of independent film presentation with SF IndieFest. The party will feature an art show by 2023 festival poster artist Alberto Ybarra with special guest appearances from the Opening Night Film, CIRCUS OF THE SCARS. Complimentary beverages courtesy of Lagunitas and Athletic Brewing. Tunes and ambience crafted by DJ The Barbary Ghost.
21up. Free admission with ticket.
Sunday, February 5th, 1:00 PM
SCREENWRITING RECEPTION & PANEL, 518 Valencia, 518 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Join SF IndieFest’s Screenwriting Competition Director Jessica Waters and this year’s award-winning writers Roberto Fatal (Electric Homies) and Kyle Casey Chu & Roisin Isner (After What Happened in the Library) for a panel discussion about script writing.
All ages. This is a free non-ticketed event.
Tuesday, February 14th, 9:00 PM
ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY, Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St, San Francisco CA 94103
It’s back! Join the SF IndieFest After Party as the Anti-Valentine’s Day Power Ballad Sing-A-Long returns to the Roxie Theater. The festival may be over, but the fun is not. For those of us who can’t stand Valentine’s Day, there is an entire genre of music made just for our pain, and it just happens to also be the most badass music ever: 80’s power ballads. This event is co-presented by Roxie Theater and Sketchfest.
All ages. General admission tickets are $15. Discounts available.
GENERAL PASS AND TICKET INFORMATION
Roxie Theater show tickets are $15.
All virtual show tickets are $10.
Live + Virtual Pass: $150
Virtual Screening Pass: $90
For more information and tickets, visit sfindie.com or call 415-662-3378.
INDIEFEST 2023 STAFF
Founder/Director Jeff Ross; Programming Chris Metzler, Sarah Flores, Jeff Ross; Screenplay Competition Manager Jess Waters; Publicity Larsen and Associates; Graphic Design Subliminal SF
SCREENERS AVAILABLE (as of 1/11/23)
To request a screener, please email [email protected].