FILM/Festivals/San Diego
Comic-Con Independent Film Festival
July 22-25

Along with the rest of the anime-graphic novel-sff novel-comix-daytime cosplay/nighttime masquerading-author and actor signings-art shows/auctions and film/TV pilot screenings at this year's Comic-Con -- an indie film festival dedicated to just about all of the above.

Way too much going on to cover here: check the official site for other events, including signings and/or talks by China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, young sprout Christopher Paolini, Ray Bradbury, artist Roger Dean, Geoff Johns and Serena Valentino, or check out coverage elsewhere.

In the meantime, here's a fly-by of what's screening at the indie film
fest this weekend:


Friday, July 23: Amazing Animation

11:50-12:10 “Manimal!”
Dir: Jeremy Wabiszczewicz
“Manimal!” is a science fiction/hip-hop musical about a slumbering beast awakened by a world in peril. Forced to take on danger and evil, Manimal has no choice but to rap his way out of it.

12:10-12:30 “Reflection”
Dir: Patricia Satjawatcharaphong
Director and animatrice Patricia Satjawatcharaphong captures the full story
of the snake-headed creature known as Medusa. In the guise of a hideous monster lies a spirit cursed and alone. “Reflection” brings the Medusa myth to life in a story where there is no good or evil, only sorrow.

2:00-2:20 “Grime-Shoed Diaries” and “Shards of Death 5: Now Hiring”
Dir: Mike Wellins
“Grime Shoed Diaries,” a 7-minute 2/D 3/D comedy, is a gritty noir detective story; sort of. Panama Taft is a down on his luck detective, flat broke and walking the streets of a faceless city. He desperately needs a paying case, but when the possibility of a job arrives, things get...complicated.

In the second film, “Shards of Death 5: Now Hiring,” a job interview for a video game, conducted by a hideous yet sympathetic monster, starts out poorly and only gets worse.

4:00-4:20 “Dandelion”
Dir: Hal Forsstrom
In this hand-drawn animated nightmare blending “All Quiet On The Western Front” with the spirit of Moebius and Miyazaki, a soldier escapes the wasteland of a battlefield, only to discover that the horrors of war pursue him to the furthest reaches of the world -- and his mind.

Saturday, July 24: Superheroes and Satire

11:30-1:00 "1st Person Shooter"
Dir: Sean Rourke
Shot in mockumentary style, 1PS follows a group of struggling video game designers as they try desperately to finish their game in the face of impending doom - the official release date.

The Video Game itself pits five femmes fatals against the manifold minions of evil. Vampires, zombies, demons and werewolves wait around every turn, mucking up the plans of our heroines to save the world from ever-lasting darkness.

Obsessive play-testers, prima-donna artistes, clueless executives, and overly-harsh critics stymie the designers at every turn; even if they finish the game, will it even be any good?

2:50-3:20 "Sockbaby"
Dir: Doug TenNapel
Sequence of sci-fi-kung-fu-comedy shorts. No, socks. Well, one. Sockbaby. Behold kung-fu artist Ronnie Cordova as he protects a sock-shaped messianic figure from another dimension. Features the last act of the "Sockbaby" trilogy. Director Doug TenNapel will be on hand (but not the sock).

4:15-4:45 "Chasing Kevin"
Scott Kramer's drive to become the next Kevin Smith drives him over the edge and puts him on a collision course with Kevin, Jason "Jay" Mewes, documentarian Ed Lippman and the citizens of Red Bank, NJ. What price will a young man pay to make his dreams come true?

5:10-5:30 "Agent 15"
Dir: Augusta
Brand new episodes of the perennial Comic-Con favorite, featuring the kind of heroine James Bond might have been, had he only had the luck to be born female... Screening: "Unleashed on the World" and "Rook Four," starring Jimmy Dore, Paul F. Tompkins, Ann Magnuson and Paget Brewster as Agent 15. Director Augusta will be on hand to discuss the making of the films.

[Shown: "Finding the Future"]

Sunday, July 25: Doco Day

11:30-12:50 "InkSwell"
Dir: Jeff Cioletti
"InkSwell" probes some of the creative minds responsible for indie comic books' subversive edge; features interviews with Evan Dorkin ("Milk and Cheese", "Dork"), Bob Burden ("Flaming Carrot", "Mystery Men") and James Kochalka ("Monkey vs. Robot"), and captures the conception, creation, publication and promotion of an issue of Gabagool, created by writer Chris Radtke and artist Mike Dawson.

12:50-2:15 "Otaku Unite!"
"Otaku Unite!" explores the history of Japanese animation fandom in the U.S., early pioneers who organized fandom in the late 70s, and the new cosplay generation. The documentary includes footage from the first anime convention wedding, the first anime con friar's roast, the 20+ member cosplay troupe Sailor Jamboree, and a behind-the-scenes look at Kaiju Big Battel. Co-cinematographers Charles Smith and Kelli Cain will be on hand to discuss the documentary.

2:15-2:45 "No Need for Cosplay"
Dir: Rhianne Paz Bergado
"No Need for Cosplay" documents the cosplay phenomenon in America and features some of today's most visible cosplayers including Adella, G-Chan, Hi-Chan, Ziggy, Lord Masamune and filmmaker Peggy Wang. The piece features an original music score by Sketchbook Café.

2:45-4:30 "Finding the Future: A Science Fiction Conversation"
Dir: Casey Moore
For over a century, science fiction writers and readers have speculated about where humanity is heading. Now we're living in a world taken straight from the pages of their futuristic fantasies: a world of wearable computers, cell phones, and the Internet.

Shot against the backdrop of major science fiction conventions, "Finding the Future" examines the phenomenon of science fiction through the thoughtful commentary of authors such as Catherine Asaro, Ben Bova, David Brin, Robert Silverberg, and many others. It explores the culture of science fiction and the passion of its fans, and considers the effect of science fiction on society, as these sci-fi aficionados muse on what lies ahead.

[Shown/post header image: "Agent 15]

View: Comic-con main schedule
Find it: San Diego Convention Center
111 Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
Get info: (619) 491-2475

Find more film festivals in the July 2004 issue of "Arte Six".