The beautifully photographed “Point of No Return” tells the dramatic story of the first solar-powered flight across the world. (Courtesy photo)

Entertaining, educational flicks at 17th DocFest

It’s not too late to check out the 2018 DocFest, SF IndieFest’s coolly eclectic showcase for nonfiction cinema.

Running through June 14 at the Roxie, Brava and New People theaters in The City, the 17th edition of DocFest, officially called the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, features more than 80 films from around the Bay Area and the world — some serious and some more entertaining than most Hollywood comedies.

Here’s a brief look at select highlights; film screen at the Roxie unless noted otherwise.


Agave: The Spirit of a Nation: The festival’s closing feature, directed by Nick Kovacic, examines the history of tequila and mezcal along with the popularity of these drinks made from the agave plant. (9:15 p.m. June 10 at New People; 7:15 p.m. June 14 at Roxie)

Rodents of Unusual Size
: The festival’s centerpiece feature looks at the beaver-sized, orange-toothed swamp rats called nutria that have become environmentally hazardous in the Louisiana swamplands; Bay Area filmmakers Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer introduce nutria hunters, nutria cuisine, a pet nutria on its owner’s lap — and more. (5 p.m. June 9)


Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno: Filmmaker Laurie Coyle profiles Moreno — the migrant mother and farmworker who became the first woman in the nation to be hired as a union organizer — and investigates why she suddenly disappeared from the scene. (7:15 p.m. June 8 and 12:30 p.m. June 9)

Atomic City: Part Errol Morris, part 1950s sci-fi and part cinematic poem, David McMurry’s 27-minute film (screening with the longer doc “The Quiet Zone”) transports viewers to Arco, Idaho — the first city ever lit with atomic power. (5 p.m. June 9, 7:15 p.m. June 12)

Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary: Filmmaker Brent Hodge explores the making of the short-lived but highly regarded TV series about what high school is truly like. Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps and Judd Apatow are among those reminiscing. (9:30 p.m. June 8)

Point of No Return: Directors Quinn Kanaly and Noel Dockstader take viewers behind the scenes of a risky and spectacular human achievement: the first solar-powered flight around the world; impressive cinematography includes overhead views of the Egyptian pyramids and the Golden Gate. (7:15 p.m. June 9 and June 13)


Elephant Path — Njaia Njoku: This world-premiere doc spotlights the work of four individuals from different backgrounds who are devoted to stopping the poaching of elephants in the Central African Republic. (12:30 p.m. June 10, 9:30 p.m. June 12)

Instant Dreams: Award-winning Dutch documentarian Willem Baptist explores the history of the Polaroid photo, and the continued love users feel for the analog-era brand of photography, in a visual essay. (9:30 p.m. June 10 and June 14)

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas: This social journey traces housing-related inequality back to the postwar years, when racial bias was institutionalized in the U.S. housing market. (2:45 p.m. June 9 and 9:30 p.m. June 13)

Roller Dreams: This film revisits the 1984 scene in Venice Beach, Calif., where young people of color created roller dancing, a trend that attracted large crowds and influenced white entertainment but fell victim to politics and gentrification. (7:15 p.m. June 8, 9:30 p.m. June 13)

Where: Roxie, 3117 16th St., Brava, 2781 24th St., New People, 746 Post St., S.F.
When: Daily, through June 14
Tickets: $13 to $15

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

First transitional housing project for homeless transgender residents opens in Chinatown

Project gives gender non-conforming a safe, supportive space to rebuild their lives

SF e-scooters burst into flames in Golden Gate Park, ex-contractor reveals

Photographs obtained Wednesday by the San Francisco Examiner show the charred remains of at least two Skip e-scooters

SF politico who authored vape ban takes money from JUUL lobbyist, returns it after media call

Supervisor Shamann Walton made national news after he proverbially smoked e-cigarette company… Continue reading

Most Read