A Hard Day's Night

Musicians, Teddy bears, and drive-ins: our eclectic local movie scene

Former S.F. International Film Festival programmer Doug Jones, the music-film maven who arranged Yo La Tengo's live accompaniment of Jean Painlevé's undersea movies at the 2001 fest, has scored another coup for our town -- the world premiere of Come Feel Me Tremble, a portrait of ex-Replacement Paul Westerberg shot mostly by his fans. In discussions with Westerberg's manager, Jones had a hole card: Both he and the cult rocker hail from Minneapolis. "I think it helped when I said, 'I've seen Paul fall off the stage drunk in the middle of a show, at the Orpheum in 1987,'" Jones remarks dryly.

It didn't hurt that Jones was calling on behalf of the Noise Pop Film Festival, which showed Tremble co-director Rick Fuller's Soul Asylum doc, Something Out of Nothing, a few years back. (Another Minneapolis band, not coincidentally.) "It came down to a lot of good timing," says Jones, who just returned from orchestrating Sparklehorse's performance with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the L.A. Film Festival. "They wanted to get an audience response before they put out the DVD." The Noise Pop Film Festival will again run concurrent with the Noise Pop music fest next February, by the way. "We've been talking about moving it [to another date]," Jones confides, "but of course in San Francisco there's hardly a weekend free of a film festival." Come Feel Me Tremble plays Friday, July 25, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the 150-seat Delancey Street Screening Room, 600 Embarcadero. The $8 tickets will be available only at the door.

In other music-film news, KUSF DJ Dennis "The Menace" Scheyer also deserves props for working the phone to score an advance screening of The Ramones: End of the Century at the Roxie tomorrow night, July 17. The doc has played just a few festivals so far, which helps explain why directors Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields are hopping a jet from New York.

Au Revoir, Les EnfantsFunding cuts at the state and university levels have forced the Pacific Film Archive to ax most of its children's programming for the 2003-04 fiscal year, which began July 1. The annual International Children's Film Festival and the Teddy Bear Film Festival are on "temporary hiatus," to use longtime director Edith Kramer's optimistic phrase. Also trimmed: the monthly "Family Classics" series of weekend matinees. Adult moviegoers will notice an overall decline in the number of series screened at the PFA (which is part of the UC Berkeley Art Museum). "Like most of the arts organizations across the country, we're facing budget reductions," Kramer says. "It's not unique to us."

Meanwhile, S.F.-based Screen 360 was lucky enough to land an individual donor to underwrite its short summer tour of children's films from around the world. What do foreign films offer kids? "We get a sense of another pace of childhood," artistic director and veteran programmer Katy Kavanaugh explains. "American work for children has a high pace of editing. Rarely do you amble through a children's film." Bosnian filmmaker Denijal Hasanovic (The Letter) will be on hand for this weekend's matinees at the Balboa and the July 26 shows at the Sebastiani Theatre in Sonoma. Kavanaugh also has dates booked in Portland and Vale, Ore.

Far and AwayAfter 3 1/2 years on the job, SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Benjamin Weil has shifted from full- to part-time status. He's also on the curatorial committee of the Brooklyn new-media center Eyebeam. ... If you're in Crescent City (near the Oregon border) on Sunday, July 20, drop by Red's Crescent Drive-In, where Bay Area curator and filmmaker Melinda Stone will spring kicky shorts, a sing-along, and other entertainment on the locals. It's the first stop on the California Tour, which visits a bunch of our endangered drive-ins. ... Local director Valerie Lapin Ganley's documentary, Shalom Ireland, has its U.S. premiere on Wednesday afternoon, July 23, at the Castro as part of the S.F. Jewish Film Festival.

 
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