Disposable Film Festival showcases movies made on the cheap 

Hailed by MovieMaker magazine as one of America’s coolest celebrations of fearless (and often underfunded) filmmaking, the Disposable Film Festival returns to The City on Thursday for four days of screenings featuring video captured by cellphones, pocket cameras and other everyday devices that are significantly less expensive than James Cameron’s 3-D technology.

Founded in 2007 by Webby Award-winning Bay Area filmmaker Eric Slatkin and art historian Carlton Evans, the festival’s fourth go-round draws from more than 1,000 entries worldwide, highlighting the very best footage recorded using the latest cutting-edge gadgets, including the iPhone 4 and the Xbox 360’s Kinect.

This year’s jury includes independent-film producer Ted Hope (“Adventureland,” the upcoming Rainn Wilson comedy “Super”); writer-director Matthew Lessner (“The Woods”); screenwriter Hawk Ostby (“Iron Man”); and Blake Whitman of the video-sharing website Vimeo.

Joining them to judge the 25 films selected for competition will be Evans and the festival’s associate director, Katie Gillum.

Films start screening at the Castro Theatre at 8 p.m. Thursday with an evening of shorts, followed by the presentation of the festival’s Audience Choice Award.

Other events will include “How to Become a Disposable DePalma,” an industry panel allowing aspiring filmmakers to chat with more established peers, and a Saturday night performance by the pop band Pomplamoose, whose self-produced videos have drawn more than 52 million viewers on YouTube.

Though technology continues to evolve, enabling amateur auteurs to produce more-sophisticated videos, Evans says the purpose of the festival remains basically the same.

“Once upon a time, if you had a vision for a film, you needed significant resources to make it happen — a crew, specialized knowledge and resources out of the reach of most people, which is how the studio system emerged,” he says. “Now if you have a creative vision for a film, you can go out there and make it.

“That’s not saying every film is going to be great, but now people have cameras with them all the time, and editing software comes preinstalled in every computer. Distribution is available through Zimbio and YouTube. So the accessibility is no longer limited to a select few. You can see your movie at the Castro, and distributed internationally through our 15 worldwide partners.”

IF YOU GO

Disposable Film Festival

Where: Various locations, San Francisco
When: Thursday through Sunday
Tickets: $12 opening night
Contact: www.disposablefilmfest.com

A look at the schedule

Thursday
Competitive Shorts Night
8 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.

Friday
Industry panel and party
6:30 p.m., Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St.

Saturday
Filmmaker Christopher McManus in conversation with Vimeo’s Andrea Allen
2 p.m., Artists’ Television Access, 992 Valencia St.

Interactive media and live music
8 p.m., CELLspace, 2050 Bryant St.

Sunday
Festival wrap
Noon, Oddball Film + Video, 275 Capp St.

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Rossiter Drake

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