Local Heroes

Every fall for more than 20 years, the Film Arts Foundation showcased the best new work by Bay Area filmmakers in one ferociously crammed weekend. The venerable organization fell on hard times last year, alas, and bequeathed many of its services and programs to the San Francisco Film Society. The Film Arts Festival of blessed memory has been reconceived by the SFFS (parent of the S.F. International Film Festival) as Cinema by the Bay, a punchy mix of uncompromising and iconoclastic dramas, docs, and shorts. Rivkah Beth Medow and Greg O’Toole’s unflinching Sons of a Gun (screening Oct. 24 at 4:15 p.m.) insinuates us into the unruly lives of a 69-year-old alcoholic and the three mentally ill men he cares for in an Alameda motel room, while Kathleen McNamara’s empathetic Why Isn’t Chris von Sneidern Famous? (Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m.) poses the $64,000 question to the middle-aged local rocker. The fictional narratives are led by the comedic dating saga Sorry, Thanks (Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.), Dia Sokol and Lauren Veloski’s smart, sly gem about Mission District underachievers. (They have jobs, so you can’t really call them slackers.) It’s right and proper that today’s lineup also includes a pair of shorts programs — the signature of CBTB’s predecessor.
Oct. 22-25, 2009

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