Upcoming Festivals: Silents, Docs, and a Hold in the Head

Take a look at the Current Festivals section in the right-hand column of this web page. As I write this, on Friday, October 20, I’ve got links there to 14 film festivals currently running or coming up soon (three of them will close this weekend). I thought I’d tell you a bit about the ones coming up.

Another Hole in the Head Film Festival

New People Cinema, October 25 – November 8

The Bay Area needs another film festival like it needs a hole in the head. But that’s only one reason for this event’s name. It’s also the festival where you’re most likely to watch something gruesome leaking out of an actor’s cranium.

Fantastic Planet

Hole in the Head concentrates on horror, science fiction, and fantasy. But this year, they’re expanding their repertoire, adding action movies, animation, and even experimental films.

I can’t tell you anything about the festival’s new movies, but I can comment on some of the classis. They’ll be reviving the animated Fantastic Planet; it’s a French film, and I don’t know if it will be dubbed or subtitled. On the same night (October 30), they’re showing Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

On Halloween proper, they’re screening Halloween and Halloween II. Both gruesome flicks will be shown in black and white.

And speaking of John Carpenter, they’re showing his first feature, the sci-fi comedy Dark Star. The festival closes with the classic anime, Akira, with live musical accompaniment.

Doc Stories

Mostly at the Vogue, November 2 – 5

I believe this is the third documentary film festival this year, but I may be mistaken. I may have forgotten one or two. I haven’t seen any of films lined up, but they include:

Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge Part 1: Alex Gibney’s study of the rock-n-roll counterculture magazine. I like his work, but this is only one chapter in an HBO documentary.

Filmworker: A portrait of Stanley Kubrick’s assistant, Leon Vitali.


The Final Year: A study of diplomacy in the last year of the Obama administration. In other words, the last year of American diplomacy. (I’m planning to catch this one.)

Arthur Miller: Writer: An examination of the great playwright, made by his daughter, Rebecca Miller.

Cinematografo International Film Festival and Industry Forum

Kabuki, November 9 – 12

This new festival describes itself as “a new film exhibition series and networking event.” It appears to be as much about the business of cinema as the art. And even more so, it’s about raising the profiles of Filipinos both in Philippines and elsewhere – including the Bay Area. In addition to screening films, it will host such panels as The Minority as the New Majority and Presenting Cinematografo Originals …and New Projects.

Mga Gabing Kasinghaba ng Hair Ko

According to the press release, the “festival and forum will be used as a platform to launch a number of new films co-financed and developed under the Cinematografo Originals banner, and to provide an incubator setting for emerging talent discoveries…”

I have not seen any of the films to be screened, and therefore won’t comment on them.

A Day of Silents

Castro, December 2

Is there a better way to spend a winter Saturday than watching silent movies at the Castro, all accompanied by master musicians. This one-day festival starts with the family-friendly, animated fantasy Adventures of Prince Achmed. It closes with something called Sex in Chains, which apparently isn’t anywhere near as kinky as it sounds.

Adventures of Prince Achmed

In between, there will be one verified masterpiece (Tol’able David), an Ernst Lubitch adaptation of Oscar Wilde, a British crime drama, and a science fiction comedy about a world without men.

I’ll write more about this festival when it’s nearer.

Festivals for Different Types of People

Many of the Bay Area’s film festivals focus on a particular kind of person, based on ethnicity, religion, nationality, language, abilities, gender, or sexual preference. I call these identity film festivals.

Cinematografo International (above) clearly falls into this category, but it’s not alone. Other ethnic festivals coming up in November include: