Reel World

San Francisco Film and Video Arts Commission; Blockbuster Video; UC Theater; Julia Query

The Last Action HeroLynn Hershman Leeson, the newest appointee to the San Francisco Film and Video Arts Commission and the first filmmaker appointed to that worthless body in years, pierced the fog at her very first meeting with an interesting proposal. The director of the digitally enhanced feature Conceiving Ada suggested that the commission recognize the massive changes afoot in the film industry by changing its name to the San Francisco Film and Digital Arts Commission. The matter was delegated for research mais oui, and city counsel must be consulted -- with no doubt riveting debate scheduled for a future meeting. Leeson's brainstorm, although hardly a cure for the myriad headaches afflicting local and visiting filmmakers, does mark the first original thought emitted by the commission in living memory.

Living in OblivionBack in June, the S.F. Planning Commission recognized the warnings of neighborhood residents and merchants and rejected a Planning Department recommendation to OK a new Blockbuster Video at Polk and Sacramento streets. We predicted a sequel, and now, here it is: Blockbuster's hearing before the Board of Permit Appeals is set for Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 416, City Hall. ... I can't imagine any serious digital filmmaker missing the Mill Valley Film Festival's New Movies Lab this weekend, but here's extra incentive to go: The student tab for the two-day soiree of seminars, flicks, and parties is a mere $75, while the group rate (you plus four compadres) is just $125. Dial 383-5256 ext. 148 for tickets. ... The top job at the S.F. Film Society (which puts on the S.F. International Film Festival) is still open, if you've got the chops: "Four years or more of experience in the film festival/film industry or similar position as the manager/creative director of an entertainment-related business with a budget of at least $2 million. Extensive experience working in high-pressure situations with a wide variety of people, public speaking experience and fundraising." Fax your resume to consigliere Melanie Blum at 561-2246.

Apocalypse NowMaybe it's not the end of the world, but the UC Theater's adoption of a Lumiere-style calendar, with weeklong bookings of first-run films, marks the end of traditional repertory programming (that is, a different double bill most every day) at one of its hardiest outposts. On second thought, it is the end of the world. ... Meanwhile, the curtain at the Castro is torn beyond repair and no longer opens and closes for every performance. You call it entropy; I call it the demise of another grace note of civilized urban life.

Funny Girl Jewish filmmakers have a special bond with their parents. Julia Query (Live Nude Girls Unite!) told me, "A fabulous thing about my mother is that she knows I poured my entire inheritance from my grandmother into the film, and she never once said that was a mistake." South Bay émigré Jon Reiss (Cleopatra's Second Husband) confided, "A lot of where this film comes from is my angst-ridden childhood and my recognition that I married into a relationship like my parents' divisive relationship." Ach, we're so proud.

 
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