SF Bay Area is flooded with film festivals – here’s a look

Three film festivals in the Bay Area kick off this week while another in the South Bay offers more stuffed temptations as part of its second week of all-virtual programming.

Pass the Remote highlights some of the prime cuts served at the San Francisco Greek Film Festival, the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival, and the International Ocean Film Festival.

The San Francisco Greek Film Festival, which runs from Friday to April 16, offers a tasty and diverse menu this year with in-person selections at the Delancey Screening Room as well as virtual options.

The 6:30 p.m. opening night feature “Holy Emy” kicks things off in bold fashion with maverick drama that refuses to adhere to the dictates of any specific genre. Araceli Lemos’ award-winning directorial debut tells the unique story of a young Filipino girl named Emy (Abigael Loma) with stigmata abilities that appear to be inherited. When her sister (Hasmine Killip) becomes pregnant from a bad co-worker at a fish vendor who employs them both, Emy, already feeling alienated living in Greece, feels even more ostracized as her powers manifest in ways miraculous. “Holy Emy” is an intriguingly messaged film that comes from Saran Wrapped on an ever-interesting, multi-colored premise about being an immigrant.

If you’re in the mood for something sexy, head to the Delancey screening room on April 12 at 6:30 p.m. for the sultry “Aligned” by Apollo Bakopoulos. Abundant with the stunning views of Athens, Greece, as well as the lithe, chiseled physiques of its two leading men, “Aligned” tells the steamy story of a New York dancer (Dimitris Fritzelas) and a Greek dancer. (Panos Malakos) and their discovery that they make great studio partners and great friends, and potentially more than that, whenever they’re away from rehearsals. “Aligned” is erotic, stylized but not overly explicit. It descends smoothly.

Other notables include the intense thriller about the fallout of a relationship following a disaster “All the Pretty Little Horses” (6:30 p.m. Saturday) and the closing night feature, an epic set in Smyrna about a family dealing with raw emotional and physical issues. wounds from dark chapters in history, “My Beloved Smyrna” (4:30 p.m., April 16). For a full schedule and to see what’s available to watch online, visit https://grfilm.com.

There’s a lot of blossom – especially in terms of film festivals – in the South Bay this week. The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival runs from Wednesday through April 13 and is enriched with short films from the Bay Area as well as feature films and documentaries spanning the globe.

Touting its 2021 MovieMaker Magazine designation as one of the “50 Best Film Festivals Worth the Admission Fee,” the festival has its roots in Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista. The stated mission is to focus on “diverse, inclusive and women-empowering films”. The one that caught my eye is Braden Swope’s “Human Resources,” an award-winning horror entry that finds a new hardware store employee (Hugh McCrae Jr.) discovering something dark and wrong about the job in his new job. It also screens at the District Theater at 8 p.m. Saturday. For a full list of films and to purchase tickets, visit https://pjiff.org/.

As studies and news reports continue to tell us, our planet is currently in a world of suffering with accelerating climate change. To throw some much-needed respect into Mother Nature’s path, why not dive into the International Ocean Film Festival this weekend and learn more about the wonders of the seas we must protect and meet adventurers who rejoice in the big blue?

The 19th annual festival takes place at three venues: the Cowell Theater at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco (Thursday through Sunday); the Smith Rafael Film Center (Friday to Sunday); and the Roxie in SF (Saturday through Sunday).

Each location offers its own range so you’ll have Whitman’s Sampler selections to choose from. If you’re in awe of underwater wonders (and who isn’t?), put Howard Wesley Hall’s “Soul of the Ocean” at the top of your list. His documentary delights in marine life and shows the interconnectedness of what dwells below and, in turn, on land. It screens Saturday at the Cowell Theater as part of the 7 p.m. program with Sophie Ballagh and Ewan Blyth’s 28-minute “ICEolation,” about a sea kayaking journey through the icy waters of Antarctica.

“Soul” will also screen during the Friday 7 p.m. schedule at the Smith Rafael Film Center, along with the provocative two-minute short “Lionfish: Ocean Murder Hedgehogs.”

Since sailing is such a popular activity in the Bay Area, novices and pros alike may want to head to the Smith Rafael at 7 p.m. Saturday for a screening of the adventure documentary “Selma.” It details a yacht crew’s attempt in 2015 to bring their sailboat as close to the South Pole as possible.

To set sail on any or all of these, drop your anchor (or cursor) here at intloceanfilmfest.org.

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