Festival Spotlight Friday: San Francisco Frozen Film Festival is Hella Chill
by Lara Colocino

No one can say that the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival (SFFFF) is short on spirit. The festival aims to broaden its community’s film scene by screening great films, showcasing new art, playing music, and more, but the organizers also exude a contagious love of cinema and a genuine desire to help moviemakers share their art.

San Francisco Frozen Film Festival

While self-aggrandizing celebrities of the Kanye West variety conduct themselves with eye-rolling puffery and bluster, many artists are reticent about blowing their own horns – to which Isaac Schild, festival founder, says, “Be loud and proud of your work!” SFFFF wants to help with that. This year’s lineup is set for dozens of narratives, animated films, shorts of all varieties, environmental documentaries, local films, and more. SFFFF runs from Thursday, July 11 to Sunday, July 14 2013. We caught up with Schild before it all took off.

MovieMaker (MM): Tell us about your name. The “San Francisco Frozen Film Festival” is certainly a memorable moniker.

SCHILD: Our name derives from a quote that many attribute to Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was my summer in San Francisco.” We chose to pay homage to Twain’s cold summer by calling the festival ‘frozen,’ because we’re cool like that. Winter jokes aside, we offer an exceptional and truly independent collection of cutting edge film during the San Francisco summer when the city is most chill.

MM: Can you tell us a little about the history of SFFFF?

SCHILD: SFFFF was founded in 2006 by myself and Gabriel Bellman as a nonprofit, public charity. We were both surprised to see the San Francisco film scene falling behind the Bay Area’s otherwise stellar reputation for supporting the arts, so it was our initial intention to fix that problem. There is so much work based out of the Bay Area, particularly in animation (with Pixar, Dreamworks, LucasFilms and video gaming) – but not a particularly cohesive film scene. With our experiences in the film scenes of Los Angeles and New York, we wanted to build that same kind of avenue for independent filmmakers and artists from under-served communities to come together and exhibit their work to the widest possible audience. There is something uniquely special about viewing a film in a theater, versus just online or on YouTube.

MM: What do you predict will be the biggest draw at this weekend’s festival?

2013 S.F. Frozen Film Festival Poster

SCHILD: Our animation and shorts programs always draw a great crowd and fill up pretty quickly. We’re also really excited about The Institution, a documentary that has S.F. roots, as well as the opening film From Nothing, Something, which is all about the creative process – the whole point of our festival.

MM: What are some of the other highlights at SFFFF this year?

SCHILD: The environmental documentaries are excellent, along with our lineup of dramatic short films. We have a totally insane short documentary from Spain about an extra on Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, paired with another short horror film also from Spain. Also, our experimental shorts have some films that nearly made our heads explode when we first watched them.

MM: The SFFFF website also talks about a music aspect. Can you tell us a little about that?

SCHILD: We have been rocking a music portion since day one. SFFFF was one of the first film festivals to offer a unique category for music documentary films and a separate music video category and award. With our background of working at MTV, it was a natural fit; in fact, we play more music than they do now. We booked an entire music festival at the beginning before we realized that for an entirely volunteer-based organization we needed to keep the major focus on film. However, as both of us are musicians, we like to have local live music events as often as we can.

MM: How many submissions did you receive this year and how does SFFFF go about the selection process?

SCHILD: We received about 600 films this year. We have a panel of judges from the film world and local community watch, rate, and judge the submissions. Then we take on the very, very difficult task of making cuts. We hate to leave anything good out, but we always have to. We try to look and see if a film has played elsewhere because we’d rather give a screening to somebody who hasn’t had the chance yet. As out-of-the-box thinkers, we are always looking for new work on the cutting edge of storytelling.

MM: What can festival attendees expect this week?

SCHILD: During the festival we have everything from art openings to music, to networking with filmmakers and artists of all kinds. We’re proud to say that we have had many filmmakers collaborate after meeting at our festival. For example, we had a filmmaker from Turkey whose connections she made here landed her a film job in Chile. That’s what we aim for.

MM: What do you do better than any other festival?

SCHILD: Short films. Nobody throws together as many diverse short programs as us. We see it as its own art form—a sort of video collage. With our background as filmmakers and musicians, we understand the importance of the pacing of films when shown together. We also provide a ton of support to our filmmakers in terms of learning how to put the work out in order to gain publicity. Not many artists like to trumpet their work and that’s why they need a community to egg them on. Be loud and proud of what you do. This is world is short on artists and long on businessmen. However, the reality is that in order for artists to be seen, they need the businessmen. So we’re here to enlighten businessmen, while providing an avenue for artists to share their work. San Francisco is a great place for this. To our filmmakers and film lovers: keep showing us love, and we’ll hit you back times six.

For more information on San Francisco Frozen Film Festival, click here.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.

Latest Stories
feat

Happy Bastille Day! Directed by the colorful, hyper-kinetic, and very French Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Mood Indigo tells the story of two lovers against the backdrop of Gondry’s typically fantastical Paris. Visual effects supervisor Romain Strabol explains how the team crafted two key elements of Mood Indigo‘s surreal mise-en-scène: a mouse-house […]

Copy of Road to Paloma 2

Towering over six feet four inches tall, Hawaiian born actor-director Jason Momoa’s powerful presence on screen is unmistakable. In the HBO series Game of Thrones, he is Khal Drogo, the fearsome Dothraki warlord who weds exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen. In Stargate Atlantis, he transforms into dreadlocked military specialist Ronon Dex. He goes mano y mano, […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with even more moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors Edward Shieh, Sam Barnett, Evan Matthews, Marko Grujic and Michelle Yu. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with loads of moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors J.D. Ramage, Adam Rosenbaum and writer Matt Godfrey, Ross Kolton and lead actor Ryan Mazzei, Bettina Bilger and Chris Valenziano. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment […]

hal-hartley_feature

This week, on the heels of Independence Day, director Hal Hartley (No Such Thing) discusses his latest feature film, My America, which knits together the emotions and people that define the United States. Commissioned by Center Stage, the state theater of Maryland, the film consists of a series of spirited monologues written and performed by […]

Boyhood2

Richard Linklater is no stranger to the workings of time—both as thematic device in his films, and as necessary ingredient to the moviemaking process. After all, his two previous features had unusually long gestation periods: 2011’s Bernie had been cooking in the director’s head since 1997, while 2013’s Before Midnight comes 18 years after Before […]

feat

Filmmaker and editor Dean Pollack’s work has appeared everywhere from Bravo and Hulu to Adult Swim. He just completed his second directorial effort, the feature film Audrey, which traces a single hour in a woman’s day. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages encountered shooting a film set in real time on a single location. Not […]

Still from James Broughton film The Bed. Courtesy of Frisky Divinity Productions.

Stephen Silha is the co-director of Big Joy: the Adventures of James Broughton, a lyrical documentary about the beloved director of The Bed, The Pleasure Garden, This is It and other counter-culture classics. Here, Silha recounts his friendship with the late Broughton, the subject he brings to luminous life along with fellow filmmakers Eric Slade […]

New Picture (12)

“The food in that movie looked so good.” There’s nothing quite as aggravating as delicious onscreen food. Think of the plump, glistening, jeweled globs of sashimied perfection served to the camera in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and weep with frustrated desire. Let’s face it: That film, and others like it, have honed the fine art […]