Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 10

film-oldClosing Night: Signing off from the 11th annual

Kurt Kuenne’s Shuffle and Mary Liz Thomson’s Who Bombed Judi Bari? were the notable winners on closing night of this year’s Santa Cruz Film Festival, taking the prize for Best Narrative Feature and the Morton Marcus Best Documentary Feature respectively, as voted by audiences. The former is a film I quite enjoyed and makes for a worthy winner, even if I might have cast my vote in another direction. Meanwhile, the latter is one I unfortunately missed; as much as I would have liked to see (and write about) every single film in the festival, I am but one man.

However, I did make it a point to catch a pair of films on Saturday afternoon and evening at the Del Mar Theatre, the first of which was Nina Koocher’s Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story. The locally-produced documentary focuses on the local ukulele community, in particular the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. The film captures its subjects having a great deal of fun, but that joy doesn’t entirely translate beyond the screen to the audience, largely because of the film’s unrefined craft. (On a related side note, there was an epidemic of truly dreadful title and credit design in this year’s locally-produced films—less is more, filmmakers.) That said, the film did take the prize for Best Locally Produced Work—but if I’m being brutally honest, what was the competition?

Following that, the closing night film was Walter Matteson’s Pretty Old, which I wrote about in the current issue of Good Times. Saturday evening was actually my second time watching the film, but as you can imagine, it played even better on the big screen than it did when I viewed it on my laptop prior to the festival. Upon that initial viewing, I suspected that the documentary—about a senior beauty pageant—would be a consummate crowd-pleaser, and the Del Mar audience reacted accordingly; keep an eye out for it. It was also a pleasure to meet Matteson in person after having interviewed him by phone when he was halfway around the world; he’s just a tremendously nice and exceptionally genuine person. I cannot think of a higher compliment for his film than to say it is entirely representative of the filmmaker himself.

Finally, a comment on the festival as a whole. While this year’s crop of films yielded mixed results, there were more than a few distinct highlights, which film festival junkies will know is far from faint praise. But because its program is a legitimately attractive one, the festival itself needs to get better. The 11th year of this event was marred by technical issue after technical issue, and while technical issues are a natural consequence during any given film festival, such issues can and should be remedied well ahead of time, rather than shortly before screenings, which resulted in one late start after another. It’s difficult to say whether or not these technical problems impacted the solid, but frankly underwhelming, festival attendance, but one has to believe that if they build it (to its full potential), they will come. And honestly, it’s a shame that more didn’t, because these films deserve better.


For the complete Santa Cruz Film Festival schedule, visit santacruzfilmfestival.orgPHOTO CREDIT: Magnus Wennman

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Disgruntled Filmmaker, May 23, 2012
The film "community" is teetering on the brink of destruction here in Santa Cruz, despite showing flashes of brilliance and potential in the past. Maybe it's for the best ultimately, since there's only so much pretentiousness & misplaced priorities that can exist before the whole thing comes crashing down. As a local filmmaker that has helped since day one of the formation of this festival and has wrestled with this for years, I find myself taking an indefinite hiatus more out of frustration from lack of a viable local outlet than anything. Perhaps it's time for the SCFF to do the same.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise