In 1997, a killer whale breached the surface of the water off San Francisco, shocking a boatload of whale watchers (one with a video camera). It had a huge great white shark clamped in its mouth, upending conventional wisdom about who really ran things under the surface. If it sounds like a parable in need of a real-world application, heres one: The San Francisco Ocean Film Festival is ready to eat anything. Long a friendly, affable event, fighting for attention in our festival-crazed city from its Pier 39 outpost, the festival has now gone full predator, with more than 50 films screening over five days. Naturally, in any given year there arent 50 feature-length films about oceanic goings-on far from it. But there are countless shorts (including The One About the Killer Whale and the Great White, aka The Whale that Ate Jaws) that go unnoticed, and the SFOFF packs them into 12 separate programs. As ever, we get many locally based films, as well as a return of the fest-favorite shark program (and because everybody loves the word shark, heres the full slate: In Awe of the Shark, The Great White Shark Song, Save Our Sharks, Whale Shark Island, White Shark Café, and Requiem for a Shark). There are also myriad surfing shorts slotted into the mix, as well as Sea of Darkness, a delightfully weird, out-of-nowhere doc about surfing in 1970s Indonesia, drug smuggling, kidnapping, and the Quiksilver company.
Feb. 3-7, 2010