An Urban Vampire & Experimental Shorts: Monday at the SFFilm Festival

As this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival reaches toward its closing night, I’m getting worn out. The rain makes it worse.

But the movies are still worth watching.

The Transfiguration

Michael O’Shea found a new twist to the vampire genre: avoiding the supernatural. The Transfiguration is a vampire story that could, in theory, happen. Milo (Eric Ruffin), a young teenager living in a New York project, is not a conventional vampire. He can’t turn into a bat or crawl up a wall. Neither daylight nor crucifixes bother him. He uses a small knife in place of fangs. But he’s obsessed with vampires and addicted to blood. His life changes when another troubled soul, Sophie (Chloe Levine), moves into his building. A moody, effective thriller with some disturbingly racist undertones.

I give it a B.

There was no filmmaker Q&A.

Shorts 4: New Visions

Rather than another feature, I decided to end the day with a collection of experimental shorts.

My favorite was Cyrus YoshiTabar’s It Is What It Is. Using existing photos and home movies, the filmmaker tries to find the secret to a rift in his family

I also liked Turtles Are Always Home, which looks at buildings and photographs of buildings. There is Land was an interesting meditation of colonialism.

Turtles Are Always Home

I initially liked Sophie Michael’s The Watershow Extravaganza, but it went on too long. It was a water show, with lights and music.

After the screening, YoshiTabar and Michael answered questions. To better understand their answers, you should know that Cyrus YoshiTabar’s parents are immigrants; his father from Iran and his mother from Japan. Sophie Michael is British. Some highlights, edited for clarity and brevity:

  • Michael: I dreamt about this water show, then I discovered I had seen it as a small child. Making the film was revisiting a memory that I thought was fake.
  • YoshiTabar: I just started collecting my dad’s memorabilia. There were hundreds of slides and home movies. I wondered who these people were. The film came from being curious about my family.
  • Michael: I didn’t set out to make a film about Brexit. But after the election I had to go back a second time and focus on that. I think there’s a very sinister side to this film. When I listen to the music, it’s like Clockwork Orange. It sent me out in a rage. [I saw nothing about Brexit, or anything else sinister, in this movie.]
  • YoshiTabar: Making the film definitely got me closer to my dad.