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SF IndieFest going strong at 20

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“Stuck,” a film about New Yorkers trapped in a subway car, opens SF IndieFest at the Victoria. (Courtesy photo)

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Opening today and featuring two weeks of programming at the Valencia and Roxie theaters, SF IndieFest showcases new independent films from around the world.

The 2018 roster serves up 33 feature-length films and 51 shorts, as well as annual events including the Big Lebowski Party and Anti-Valentine’s Day 80s Power Ballad Sing A Long.

To honor this year’s big anniversary, SF IndieFest also offers a retrospective, screening a select film from each year to illustrate the festival’s evolution as well as spotlight filmmakers who attended and got their start at the event.

SF IndieFest founder Jeff Ross started the festival when he realized there wasn’t a venue in The City for new independent work by young, adventurous filmmakers. It was a success from the start; the first year, 3,000 people came to the Roxie and Victoria to see movies with no stars and no marketing budgets.

Organizers say the festival remains true to its original mission to give viewers the opportunity to discover new filmmakers, to share experiences with fellow filmgoers, and hear from filmmakers in person.

IF YOU GO

SF IndieFest
Where: Roxie, 3117 16th St., S.F.; Victoria, 2961 16th St., S.F.
When: Feb. 1 through Feb. 15
Tickets: $10 to $25 for single programs: $100 to $250 for passes
Contact: sfindie.com

SELECT HIGHLIGHTS

Stuck: Opening night offers Michael Berry’s film about six New Yorkers trapped in a stuck subway car who share their stories via song, followed at 9 p.m. by a reprise of Jason Krupnick’s 2012 “Girl Walk//All Day,” in which dancers across New York City’s streets and parks “spread the joy of movement.” 7 p.m. Feb. 1, Victoria, $25

Big Lebowski Shadow Cast: The 15th annual event features Bawdy Caste (famous for “Rocky Horror Picture Show” renditions) performing live onstage while the movie plays on the big screen, along with costume and trivia contests. 8 p.m. Feb. 2, Victoria, $18-$20

Moving Parts: The drama by Emilie Upczak takes on the subject of human trafficking in telling the story of a young Chinese woman smuggled into Trinidad and Tobago. 7 p.m. Feb. 3, 7 p.m. Feb. 5, Roxie, $13.

Top Knot Detective: The “mockumentary” by Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce is about a wild Japanese detective series on Australian TV in which a wandering samurai does battle with “sexy ninja, giant robots, tentacle monsters and Amazonian cannibal lesbians.” 9:15 p.m. Feb. 3, Roxie, $13

Ginger Nation: Director Jonathan Soja’s filmed concert showcases gay comic Shawn Hitchins, who “verges on Spalding Gray” in his solo show. 7 p.m. Feb. 4, 9:15 p.m. Feb. 8, Roxie, $13

Cruise: In the festival’s centerpiece program, filmmaker Robert D. Siegel affectionately looks at the youth culture of a bygone era in the 1987-set story about the summer romance between an Italian kid from Queens and a nice Jewish girl from Long Island. 7 p.m. Feb. 9, Roxie, $13

Anti-Valentine’s Day 80s Power Ballad Sing A Long: The participatory program features music by Journey, Guns ‘n Roses, Bon Jovi, Warrant and more. 9:15 p.m. Feb. 14, Roxie, $13

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