4th Annual Oakland Underground Film Festival Unveils Cutting Edge International, Local Cinema

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by Tambay A. Obenson
August 29, 2012 4:11 PM
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I'll return with individual highlights of films that might be of interest to S&A readers - especially those in Oakland, where the festival takes place. For now, here's the press release unveiling this year's lineup. Some of the titles you'll recognize, since we've covered them in past posts.

(August 29, 2012—Oakland, CA) The fourth annual Oakland Underground Film Festival (OakUFF) kicks off again for 2012 at the historic Grand Lake Theater for four days of international, local, and all-around underground cinema. OakUFF places special emphasis on local filmmakers, social justice, urban life, the environment and works of fiction and non-fiction that thrive outside of classic narrative filmmaking. The festival provides first look opportunities at films that entertain, educate, and inspire, by celebrated filmmakers, and emerging artists alike. Venues this year include the Grand Lake Theater (3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA), Vitus-410 Ballroom (14th and Broadway, Oakland, CA) and the Humanist Hall (390 27th St., Oakland, CA). Tickets for all events are $10 and are available at OakUFF.org.

Stacy Peralta’s skate doc BONES BRIGADE and Ya’ke Smith’s WOLF to open fest The festival opens on Thursday, September 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Lake Theater with the East Bay premiere of Stacy Peralta's long-awaited follow-up to DOGTOWN AND Z BOYS, BONES BRIGADE, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. More than a movie about skateboarding, BONES BRIGADE documents a vital moment in American culture where four-wheeled outlaws (among them Tony Hawk and Tommy Guererro) practiced a theology of concrete and gravity that allowed them to become folk heroes. Peralta himself became one of the highest-ranked professional skateboarders in the country at the age of 19, and went on to form the seminal Bones Brigade, a team composed of some the best skaters at the time, many of whom revolutionized modern skateboarding. Special guests will be in attendance.

Opening night rounds out with the California premiere of Ya’Ke Smith’s WOLF at 9:00 p.m., which had its world premiere at SXSW. IndieWire called it “raw, gritty, tragic…what Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER should have been.” A family begins to disintegrate after their son is victim to molestation. While the adults are attempting to make sense of the tragedy, their son inches closer to an abyss, as his betrayal and assault are complicated by his love for the one who hurt him. WOLF stars Irma P. Hall (COLLATERAL) and Eugene Lee (LACKAWANNA BLUES). Director Ya’ke Smith will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.

OakUFF represents “last refuge of radical America” with solar-powered venues and echoes of Occupy The New York Times recently called Oakland the “last refuge of radical America.” OakUFF lives up to that reputation with WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS, a documentary that screens on Friday, September 28 at 9:30 p.m. at Vitus-410 Ballroom. The film takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the Guy Fawkes mask-wearing “hacktivist” collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age and been credited with attacks on the FBI and the Motion Picture Association of America. WE ARE LEGION explores the historical roots of early hacktivist groups and follows Anonymous from an internet chat board to a full-blown global movement that Time magazine named as one of the most influential groups of people in the world. Director Brian Knappenberger will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.

WHO BOMBED JUDI BARI? follows the unsolved case of Earth First! activist and anti-logging environmentalist Judi Bari and her colleague Darryl Cherney, who were accused of terrorism after their car exploded in Oakland in 1990. The documentary, by political blogger and filmmaker Mary Liz Thompson and produced by Cherney, screens on Saturday, September 29 at 2:00 p.m. at the solar-powered Humanist Hall. Darryl Cherney will be in attendance for a Q&A and the film will be followed by a WOMEN’S SHORTS program at 4:00 p.m.

International activism is represented by the East Bay premiere of MACHETE LANGUAGE, Mexican director Kyzza Terrazas’s edgy first feature set during the violent police repression of indigenous protesters in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, which screens Friday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Humanist Hall, and by SISTERHOOD, a documentary film from South Africa that follows three transgender women from their day jobs as wine estate farmhands (as men) to their night lives as women, as they confront prejudice at every turn and find triumph in togetherness. SISTERHOOD screens on Saturday, September 29 at 12:00 p.m. at the Humanist Hall and is preceded by the short documentary film NOT ONE MORE (17 mins), which focuses on the more than 430 unidentified young women who have disappeared and been found dead in maquiladoras (border town factories) in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. This year OakUFF teams up with Jamie DeWoolf, founder of Oakland-based variety show Tourrettes Without Regrets, called “one of the best underground performance art shows in America” by the Huffington Post. Wolfe’s film SMOKED, a dark comedy about the misadventures of three gutter punk stoners whose housewarming party ends in flames, screens Saturday September 29 at 8:00 p.m. at Vitus-410 Ballroom, and is followed by a burlesque performance and party at 10:00 p.m., closing out the fest’s run at the Ballroom. Saturday night party is $5 with the purchase of an OakUFF movie ticket.

NoLA narrative TCHOUPITOULAS and David Walker Blaxploitation program to close fest On Sunday, September 30th at 12:00 p.m. at the Humanist Hall, fest-goers will be treated to an afternoon of shorts by local filmmakers, many of whom will be in attendance for a Q&A. Then at 2:00 p.m. award-winning journalist, filmmaker, comic book writer, YA author, and creator of the pop culture magazine BadAzz MoFo David Walker presents and in-depth examination of blaxploitation films of the 70s in MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED, AND SHAFTED: A Conversation with David Walker. Walker will screen MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED, AND SHAFTED; BLACK SANTA'S REVENGE; and THE DAY THEY RAN OUT OF BULLETS and discuss the films.

As the late summer sun goes down at 7:00 p.m., the fest closes with sibling documentarians Bill and Turner Ross’ TCHOUPITOULAS, a captivating sensorial immersion into the kaleidoscopic colors, shadows, and sounds of a New Orleans nocturnal fantasy world, experienced with the awe of a child. As the sky darkens and the city lights up, we wander with three young teens past the shops on Canal Street, the burlesque shows and debauchery of Bourbon Street, and musicians on Decatur. Artistically mixing reality and fiction, TCHOUPITOULAS breaks bounds in cinematic storytelling.

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