Now in the second week of its 18th big year, it’s a little disappointing that venerable SF DocFest is clinging to its obvious-beyond-cliché tagline of “Because sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.” It’s on the bus-shelter ads and everything! Perhaps an alternative this year could have been “Because the truth is like fiction on a huge dose of psilocybin.” Case in point is Tyler Chandler’s Dosed, about a suicidal opioid addict who discovers that psychedelic mushrooms — which are still Schedule I substances in the United States, for no good reason — hold the key to her healing.
Putting the SF back in SF DocFest is Mat Hames’ Waiting for the Punchline, which is not about the impending closure of the Embarcadero-adjacent comedy club but rather a look at a podcaster-turned-comedian’s ups and downs as he enters the local standup scene. Set in Chicago but still relevant to our vinyl-worshipping town, Danielle Beverly’s Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition follows a record collector who buys the platters that once mattered to other people. Speaking of archaic mediums, Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop’s I Want My MTV charts the rise, fall, and many controversies surrounding the network that some Boomers will still tell you destroyed Generation X’s attention spans. They’re wrong about that, because — enh, whatever.
Now playing at the Roxie Theater and the Brava Theater.