SFFilm Day 2: Tech, Dominoes, and Returning Home

The SFFilm Festival opened Friday, and I watched my first two films. I tell you about them below. But first, if you’re having technical problems getting your movies into your home, here is some technical advice.

Get the movie onto your computer or device

Soon after you bought an e-ticket for a festival film, you received an email from the address community@sffilm.org. If you bought several tickets, you’ll probably have to open several of these emails; the films’ titles aren’t immediately visible.

Which ticket is which?

Once you’ve opened and found the email for the right movie, scroll down and click the bright green box. That will bring up another webpage. Scroll down again and click on the bright green PLAY box to start the movie.

Get the film to your TV

You don’t really want to watch a movie on a laptop, do you? Or even worse, a smartphone? So how do you get the movie into the biggest screen in the house?

Here’s one way to get the stream from your laptop to your TV:

If your laptop has an HDMI port, you can connect it to your TV. If your computer or device doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can buy some kind of adapter. You can get an HDMI adapter for DisplayPort, USB-C, or Thunderbold. I’m assuming your TV is new enough to have HDMI, and that you have an HDMI cable. You can use a wireless mouse as your remote.

Two films streaming at the festival

B+ Lily Topples the World

If you ever watched a TV commercial where dominoes fall down in perfect arrangement, Lily Hevesh was probably involved. At the age of 20, she was already considered the greatest domino artist in the world. I often found myself drop-jawed as I watched her and her co-workers build a masterful physical creation, then with one simple click bring it slowly go down. The documentary is conventional, but Hevesh is far more than that.

You can watch the film at the Fort Mason Flix, Sunday, April 11, at 6:30. Or you can stream the film at home any time during the festival.

A Home

Can a man come home after 17 years in prison for a heinous crime (never fully explained)? Many people in the small town still hate him. Even his dying mother (Kathy Bates) at first gives him the cold shoulder. He must work to become acceptable – and for some, that will never happen. Jake McLaughlin gives an excellent performance as the former convict, tightly wound at first and slowly finding himself. Early on, the town and its surrounding areas look ugly and empty. As he changes, we see more greenery. A hard and yet sweet film about redemption.

The film is followed by a discussion with McLaughlin and writer/director Franka Potente, moderated by SFFilm’s Jessie Fairbanks. Some highlights, edited for clarity and brevity:

  • On directing for the first time: I was thinking “I have to be a director now. Should I talk about the scenes? I never liked table reads.” I needed to have room to play. I had to get over what a director is supposed to do.
  • McLaughlin on finding the character: Sometimes you have to fill in your character by yourself. I’m not Daniel Day Lewis. I don’t have that much time to become the character.
  • The film’s theme: We need to live the reality of forgiveness.
  • McLaughlin
    on holding back: It’s about not shooting your wad too soon. Not foreshadowing.
  • McLaughlin on working with Cathy Bates: It was intimidating. You just have to hope you can hold your own. I did it as well as I could.