From Palo Alto-raised Jeremy Lin’s Linsanity to Santa Clara University Lecturer Jonathan Fung’s Hark and Santa Cruz resident/Stanford grad Jenni Nelson’s Love Hacking, the Bay Area Windrider Film Forum this year showcases films of or by local talent, as well as others. Held June 27-29 in Menlo Park, Windrider’s fourth film forum includes three feature length and three short independent films; each film features a Q&A with the film’s director or producer following the showing.
Co-founded by Menlo Park’s Meritt Sawyer and Atherton’s Terri Bullock, the Windrider Film Forum in the Bay Area had its pilot run in April 2010; the group has presented a three-day film forum annually, along with one-day special events co-partnered with local non-profits. Community members gain the opportunity to view independent films in their own neighborhood, ask questions of the filmmakers both at the screenings and at informal receptions and dinners and learn about issues in a manner that inspire conversations long after they’ve left the theatre.
“The Windrider team’s goal is to bring powerful stories to an audience that is intelligent, caring and intentional in their efforts to make a contribution to their world,” said Bullock. “I believe the Bay Area is the perfect place for this type of film forum.”
The films brought to the Bay Area are compelling, artistic works that invite the audience to be more than spectators. The audience is invited to respond mentally, emotionally and practically, searching for constructive actions to address whatever issues are raised in these films.
“Many quality films are made that elevate issues important to us — and many of these films are winning awards,” said Sawyer. “Yet only a handful of films get picked up to be shown in theaters. Our goal is to bring some of these to our local community, to give our communities the opportunity to see them and interact with the filmmakers.”
Tickets for the film festival are available online. All of the filmmakers listed below will participate in a Q&A following their films:
Thursday, June 27, 7:00 pm
Not That Funny – Director/Screenwriter Lauralee Farrer
How far will a serious man go for love? Exploring a rare side of gifted comedic actor Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development, Chuck), this audience award-winner has deeper themes of acceptance, friendship, and risk-taking beneath its light-hearted surface.
Friday, June 28, 7:00 pm
Trashdance – Producer Andy Garrison; Director/Choreographer Allison Orr
The journey of a choreographer seeking to bring art into unexpected places. The remarkable outcome includes two dozen trash collectors and their trucks creating a stunningly beautiful and moving performance that transforms lives and a whole community.
Shorts selection – Saturday, June 29 2:30 pm
Hark –Jonathan Fung (Santa Clara professor; previously Assoc Director of the School of Motion Pictures at the Academy of Art in SF)
Hark draws attention to the harsh reality of human trafficking; it is a story of hope intended to encourage the viewer to make a difference in our society.
Love Hacking – Jenni Nelson (Santa Cruz filmmaker; Stanford grad)
A virtual relationship becomes a reality when a robot inventor falls in love over the Internet and journeys to Nepal to meet his fiancé for the first time.
Thief – Julian Higgins
The haunting story of a young Iraqi boy in 1959, who after having his trust betrayed is confronted by that man 45 years later in 2003. The outcome is riveting and shocking.
Saturday June 29, 7:00 pm
Linsanity – Producer Chris Chen; Director Evan Jackson Leong (Leong to be confirmed)
The film follows Jeremy Lin’s persistent and inspiring drive to play basketball when confronted with enormous obstacles at every level of the sport, explores the complex issue of race in the NBA, and illustrates how a pop culture phenomenon rose up overnight.
Photo of Terri Bullock (left) and Meritt Sawyer taken by Linda Hubbard in 2012