Reel World

Film Arts Festival; Kenneth Anger; Going Places

Last Dance It wasn't your usual opening-night fare, but the Film Arts Festival of new work by Northern California film- and videomakers is hardly your typical shebang. Blind Spot: Murder by Women, a chilling and, at moments, horrifically funny collection of interviews with six women doing time for murder, held the packed house at the Castro spellbound last Wednesday. Co-director Allie Light told the crowd that the filmmakers contacted 150 women prisoners, with the stipulation that one had to be a perpetrator to be included in the film. "Several women wrote back that they drove the car," Light said. "It's not a film about driving the car." Ain't that the truth. Light and co-directors Irving Saraf and Julia Hilder are aiming not only for a berth at Sundance but also for a 2001 television broadcast.

Lucifer RisingAs an antidote to election-year complacency, here comes homoerotic shit-stirrer Kenneth Anger. The legendary avant-garde filmmaker screens his viscerally poetic work on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. when he receives the Phelan Art Award in film at the S.F. Art Institute. Then next year, when our collective D.C. hangover kicks in, Anger returns to pick up the S.F. International Film Festival's Persistence of Vision Award, given for lifetime achievement by a filmmaker working outside the mainstream. Meanwhile, Fantoma Films, the local company that has earned praise for its high-quality DVD transfers, is preparing a three-volume limited collector's edition of Anger's work; the first volume is due out in early 2001.

Going PlacesFor medical reasons, James Yee has been forced to relinquish his post as the visionary executive director of the S.F.-based Independent Television Service (ITVS), funder of some of public TV's most compelling programs. The service is currently interviewing candidates for his replacement. ... Corey Eubanks, publicist extraordinaire for the media arts groups at 346 Ninth St. and their redoubtable film festivals (Asian American, Lesbian & Gay, Jewish, Film Arts), departs Dec. 1 for L.A. to work for Strand Releasing, the respected boutique distributor of edgy gay and foreign films. ... George Armitage (Grosse Pointe Blank) has signed on to direct IPO, based on Po Bronson's original screenplay. The film goes before the cameras early next year in S.F. and Manhattan. ... In a late addition to the Roxie calendar, East Bay filmmaker and Yugoslav expat Svetlana Cvetko screens her unflinchingly personal short, No War, before each showing of John Huston-War Stories Nov. 14-16. Says Cvetko about her return to Bosnia to make the film, "The only way I could deal with the reality of war was by putting a camera between myself and the violence and the suffering I was seeing."

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