When event guru Jeff Ross was entertaining the idea of producing another film festival four years ago, he was well aware that San Francisco needed one like it needed another hole in the head.
His assessment was fair enough, considering that just about every genre of film imaginable finds a home for its festival here in San Francisco. Yet, that did little to deter Ross — the man behind “IndieFest” and “DocFest” — from introducing another celluloid affair.
After a successful weekend of horror film screenings at “IndieFest” a few years ago, it occurred to Ross that horror buffs were in need of their own cinematic celebration of blood, guts and gore — and so he created the aptly named “Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.”
“Horror films are meant to be experienced with an audience in a theater. There’s something about sitting on a sofa at home that takes away from the experience,” he says.
Beginning Friday at the Roxie Film Center, the fourth edition of the sci-fi, fantasy and horror fest gets rolling with the world premiere of “Stagknight,” a British horror-comedy about a knight who goes medieval on a bunch of paintballers enjoying one last hurrah before a friend’s upcoming nuptials.
Staying with the theme of slapstick slashfests, “Murder Party,” which screens at 9:30 p.m. Friday and again at 7:15 p.m. June 11, follows an artist collective hell-bent on murdering for the sake of making some killer art.
For those yearning for more gore than giggles, “Simon Says” features oddball Crispin Glover in a double role as murderous twin brothers on a mission to slice and dice a group of vacationing college campers.
The mix of bloodshed and laughs was all part of the big picture for Ross, who admits that his vision of horror is more along the lines of “Shaun of the Dead” than, say, “Night of the Living Dead.”
“I’m not really a fan of horror films because they can really manipulate you, but I do like horror comedies,” he says. “What I like about this year’s program is that it expands the idea of what horror is. There are quite a few films that are different and are going to appeal to regular audiences and to gore hounds as well.”
Ross’ idea for the festival has indeed expanded. By day, the film fare changes gears with the inaugural toon-centric sidebar program “SF IndieFest: Gets Animated.” The day program showcases a mix of animation like the kid-friendly “Race” (a story about a racing team out to prove itself) and adult-themed toons like the Korean cyberpunk feature “Aachi and Ssipak” (about a world powered entirely by human feces) and “Bad Bugs Bunny,” a compilation of dark and not-so-politically correct Warner Bros. cartoons.
“We really tried to put together a program that’s balanced,” says Ross. “With the cartoons in the day and horror, sci-fi stuff at night, I think there’s a variety for people to choose from.”
Another Hole in the Head Film Festival and S.F. IndieFest: Gets Animated
When: Friday through June 14
Where: Roxie Film Center, 3117 16th St., San Francisco
Contact: (415)820-3907, www.sfindie.com
Check out the complete SF Indiefest schedule online.