Varsity Theatre may have changed hands, but one thing hasn’t
changed: it’s still home to the Palo Alto Film Festival.
And on May 20-21 the festival will screen its 12th annual program,
unveiling 11 short documentary, fiction, and experimental films,
all made by Northern California independent filmmakers.
The festival offerings will be screened in two separate programs,
beginning on Wednesday, with Tina DiFeliciantonio’s Living
With Aids, a touching story about a young man who succumbs
to AIDS. The film, made as DiFeiciantonio’s graduate thesis
at Stanford’s film school, will open the festival at 7:30
pm. Following will be No Fairytale: Portraits of Teen Fatherhood,
directed by Ellen Bruno of Woodside, also a Stanford student.
Following those documentaries is one of the festival’s most
delightful films, Les Blank’s Gap-Toothed Women.
In the half-hour film, Blank interviews 30 women with spaces between
their front teeth---including famed gap-toothed women Lauren Hutton
and Sandra Day O’Connor.
Also on the program is Men, a six-minute comedy by West
Valley College instructor, Jim Caliner. And finishing up the program
is Miss—or Myth?, an hour-long documentary on the
protests surrounding Santa Cruz’s Miss California pageant.
It’s a balanced look at the controversy, but it’s
bound to leave behind a lot of lively arguments.
The following night, May 21, Live Water, a documentary
about water dowsers by Victoria Lewis and Frank Simeone will start
things off. It will be followed by Horace Chooney, MD,
an 18-minute film based on a Jessamyn West story made by Palo
Alto filmmaker William Rose. Then comes Woods on the Screen,
an experimental short using printed words as it only images. It’s
followed by One Small Step, chosen as Best of Festival, a 17-minute
fiction film by Palo Alto native Mira Kopell.
The evening ends with Ruby Yang’s White Passage,
an eight-minute experimental film, and Chuck Solomon: Coming
of Age, a 57-minute documentary by Marc Huestis and Wendy
Dallas. The latter is a surprisingly upbeat tribute to Solomon,
a well-known San Francisco actor-director who died recently of
AIDS. The subject is a fascinating man, and it’s actually
inspiring to see the courage with which he faced his death.
Kaufman demonstrates his technique
Water, showing next Thursday at the Palo
Alto Film Festival.