Film & Photography

Catch The Roxie Mixtape-In-Place Festival

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Hey, remember when the Roxie Theater offered people a chance to turn life under quarantine into cinema with its Mixtape-In-Place competition?  As it turned out, the response was impressive.  Well over 100 submissions of films lasting 3 minutes or less in various genres got submitted for the competition.  Since part of the competition plans called for showing some of these submissions to the public, a lot of hard decision-making became necessary.  The result of those decisions is two programs of shorts: Kids’ Shorts and Features.  

From July 23-30, interested Broke-Ass readers can get tickets to these programs via the Roxie’s Virtual Cinema.  What’s equally cool is that one virtual ticket will allow access to both programs.  The 44 shorts cumulatively selected for these programs do show the makers’  boredom, solitude, fear, and self-reflection generated by sheltering in place.  But as the shorts show, these feelings have been translated in creative ways.


Roxie Mixtape-In-Place poster

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Looking through the list of selected shorts, the reader can see a mix of work by both professional filmmakers and interested amateurs.  Here are some of the shorts that caught this writer’s eye:  

“After The Meeting” is a documentary from Aaron Barry.  He’s the Creative Director for Skycar.  This short film grew out of Barry’s noticing the adults were stuck in virtual meetings all day while the kids were stuck at home.  So he had an idea for a short film…

Experimental filmmaker Valerie Soe offers “Sewing In The Time Of Coronavirus.”  Her short shows how a hoard of festival lanyards can be used to fight the coronavirus, courtesy of the Auntie Sewing Squad.

Adrian Arias’ “Analysis Paralysis” might be described as an experiment in the intersection of art-making and music.  While the titular song plays on the soundtrack, Arias paints non-stop inspired solely by the song’s sound and the images the song evokes.

Going further on the experimental spectrum is Layla Venegas’ “Act!  In Delirium.”  The short mixes together COVID-19, the darkness within, mortality, and the quest for discovery and empowerment.

Animator Kolmel W. Love presents “Same Time Tomorrow,” with music by Ed Varga.  The short asks the question of what happens when quarantine makes you lose all sense of time.  Could the sun and the birds outside provide a way to ground your sanity?

For something a little more down to earth, how about Michael Falcone’s “We Will Rise?”  It’s about some troublemaking sourdough starter.  (Also, yuk yuk for the title.)

Another title which goes for the laughs is “Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” from Kate J. Miller.  As the title implies, this is about a piece of toilet paper living life in quarantine.

Cleaning of a different sort occurs in Dominick Palamenti’s “Quarancleaning.”  More than a few viewers have probably been in protagonist Daniel’s situation of being stuck inside thanks to shelter-in-place.  They’ve also been tempted to do some long delayed cleaning/organizing of their stuff to pass the time.  But Daniel’s situation diverges from the viewers’ situation because he finds photos of himself that he doesn’t recognize.

For those who prefer to whistle but not work, maybe Doctor Popular’s “Marble Madness” might fit the bill.  It’s a stop-motion music video for the titular song.  That song is part of the quarantine-themed album “Quarantined Beats & Inside Voices,” which was put together while in quarantine.

Jeremy Rourke’s animated short “please press one key” falls into the indescribable category.  Things that appear in the short include weather, a bicycle, and a buffalo.  The short gives props to the landline, the full moon, and San Francisco’s Mount Davidson aka the City’s highest point 

For those searching for films about inner beauty, Shantel Davis’ “Ascriptive” may fit the bill.  It asks teenagers their personal thoughts on what constitutes inner beauty.  In addition, the short also asks teenagers how they’re affected by what the world projects onto them regarding the subject of beauty.

A film that might bring out the inner “awww….” is Finley Grillos’ music video “Magic Magic.”  What began as a final term project wound up involving the entire Grillos family.  The director did the chorus, her father recorded all the musical instruments, and her brother edited the film. 

Another short inspired by the baking bread while in coronavirus lockdown phenomenon is “The Baker’s Remorse” from Bina Herron Geller.  This short delivers a cautionary tale about a baker and her uncomfortably close connection with something she baked.

DJ Rey’s song “The Final Countdown” gets remixed by Jeremy Post for his short “The COVID Countdown.”  Fans of homegrown music videos will get the opportunity to groove to great dancing, lots of booty shaking and more than a few finger guns. 

Going for bummer-dom territory is Lucy Jameson’s “Prehistoric Ducks.”  It’s about a duck who finally reunites with their family many years later after getting separated from them as a baby.  Then an erupting volcano kills the duck.  But it’s not until millions of years later that a resolution is reached. 

Given that Mixtape-In-Place is a competition, how will prizes be awarded?  Awards for each shorts program will have the same structure.  Viewers will vote for the Audience Award winner.  For the juried prizes, the decision will be made by three people locally connected to the Bay Area film community.  Rafael Casal co-wrote and co-starred in “Blindspotting.”  Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Kroot’s films include “To Be Takei” and “The Untold Stories Of Armistead Maupin.”  Isabel Fondevila is the Roxie Theater’s Director of Programming.

So get a streaming ticket and check out these different responses to life under quarantine.  The entire ticket price supports the Roxie. 

(The Roxie Mixtape-In-Place shorts festival will be streamed from July 23-30, 2020 from the Roxie’s official website.  Order your tickets here.  A Q&A with the filmmakers takes place on July 30, details TBA.) 

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Peter Wong

Peter Wong

I've been reviewing films for quite a few years now, principally for the online publication Beyond Chron. My search for unique cinematic experiences and genre dips have taken me everywhere from old S.F. Chinatown movie theaters showing first-run Jackie Chan movies to the chilly slopes of Park City. Movies having cat pron instantly ping my radar.