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Bay Area enters unofficial film festival season

Cinephiles are spoiled in the Bay Area. Film festivals in the Bay are as common as tourists on Fisherman’s Wharf with a fest seemingly every other week. The rich tapestry of culture that is the Bay is well represented in the festivals with fests dedicated to specific nationalities, sexual proclivities, various causes, and a wide swath of genres. It can be difficult to navigate — especially if a film fan is willing to travel for the sake of celluloid. If any season had to be declared “festival season” in the Bay Area it would likely be these last three months of 2013. Starting at the end of September there are very few opportunities for movie buffs to get out of darkened theaters into the daylight. Below is an effort to create a comprehensive list of film festivals in the region from the end of September through December.

Oakland Underground Film Festival (September 25 – 29, 2013)
Tonight sees the kick-off of the fifth annual Oakland Underground Film Festival with a free screening at Grand Lake Theater of Citizen Koch. As a former Madisonian this film holds a special place in my heart since it features numerous scenes from the 2011 Capitol uprising. That film will be followed by a biopic of Bikini Kill/Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hannah, who is considered one of the pioneers of the riot grrrl movement of the early-90s. The festival continues over the remaining four days with a mixture of narratives, shorts, and documentaries. From the website: “a showcase for independent and Do-It-Yourself film, video, and projection-art based in Oakland, California. The Oakland Underground Film Festival places special emphasis on local filmmakers, social justice, urban life, the environment and works of fiction and non-fiction that thrive outside of classic narrative filmmaking.” OakUFF’s website: http://www.oakuff.org

Mill Valley Film Festival (October 3-13)
Marin County gets in on the festival action with the 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival. MVFF is a bit more starstruck than many other festivals in the region with spotlights and tributes to Jared Leto, Dakota Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Stiller, and others. MVFF is an all-encompassing festival featuring films from around the globe  and in multiple genres. According to the festival’s mission: “With its reputation as a filmmakers’ festival, this prestigious noncompetitive event showcases international features, documentaries, shorts and children’s films — something for every filmgoer.” MVFF’s website: http://www.mvff.com
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