Independent Film

Film Festival coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area including stories, reviews, and interviews.
The Long Excuse - Film Review

‘The Long Excuse’ and the refusal to acknowledge loss (Film Review)

Stark Insider indie film review: The Long Excuse which recently screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM). Writer-director Miwa Nishikawa’s thoughtfully woven film is a reflection on the challenges of marriage. Nishikawa’s previous films gave us characters operating in a world of dubious ethics or no ethics at all...
San Francisco International Film Festival opening night

Natalia Almada’s ‘Everything Else’ takes top prize at SFFILM 60

Prizes at the 60th edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival were revealed this week. Winning films across 12 categories were announced at the "Golden Gate Awards" celebration with nearly $40,000 in prizes awarded to filmmakers. (see below for complete list) Natalia Almada took home the top prize --...
A scene from Rahmatou Keïta's THE WEDDING RING, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5 - April 19, 2017.

SFFILM: ‘The Wedding Ring’ a welcome and joyous remembrance (Review)

Stark Insider indie film review: The Wedding Ring (original title: (HAWSA) ZIN'NAARIYÂ!) which recently screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM). Director Rahmatou Keïta has given us a delicious and timeless film in The Wedding Ring. It is a 2016 release from Niger, Burkina Faso and France under the original...
Tara Lee and Seána Kerslake in Darren Thornton's A DATE FOR MAD MARY, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5 - April 19, 2017.

Strong directing and Seana Kerslake win us over in ‘A Date for Mad Mary’ at San Francisco Film Festival

Stark Insider indie film review: A Date for Mad Mary which recently screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM). Director Darren Thornton’s 2016 comedy drama was named best film at the Irish Film Academy awards in Dublin earlier this month, and it has been a favorite at the San...
The Wedding Ring - San Francisco Film Festival

Wedding Ring, Long Excuse: On location at the San Francisco International Film Festival

Jeanne Powell is on the ground at the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. Here's her quick look at the influential fest. The San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM) opened April 6, 2017 in the City. This annual two-week event continues to be an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery with...

Spotlight on True/False Film Festival

I had heard about Columbia’s True/False Film Festival for years, but since it wasn’t anywhere near my neck of the woods I never got around to going.  Plus, in all honesty, I thought it might be a bit “intellectually heavy” to sit through four days of documentaries. Fast-forward to my...
Emma Stone Interview LA LA LAND at Mill Valley Film Festivalvideo

Stark Insider Oscar Picks: La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, more (Plus Interviews)

The 89th Academy Awards are moments away. Here's Stark Insider's picks for winners in the top Oscar categories. Plus video interviews with some of the nominees. Don't forget: Subscribe to the Stark Insider YouTube channel to get automatically notified of new episodes with host Loni Stark. It's the biggest night...
Damien Chazelle directing on set of LA LA LAND. Photo courtesy: Summit.

BTS La La Land: Damien Chazelle directing Emma Stone

One of the most talked about films in recent memory is La La Land. There's good reason for that. Writer-director Damien Chazelle has done the near impossible: reboot the storied musical for the big screen. And, to boot, there's plenty of agreeable ingredients here: strong performances by leads Ryan Gosling and...
The Comedian Film Review

‘The Comedian’ Film Review: De Niro leads all-star cast with convincing performance

Director Taylor Hackford has been creating critically acclaimed films for decades, and The Comedian is no exception.  Starring Robert De Niro, Edie Falco, Patti LuPone and an all-star cast, this trenchant comedy profiles an aging comedian at a crucial moment in his fading career – raising questions about where he...

Oscar Watch: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling lead record-tying 14 nominations for LA LA LAND (Video)

"I didn't even know he could dance." That was actress Emma Stone talking about her dashing co-star Ryan Gosling. Turns out that, yes, they both can dance -- exceptionally well. News broke today that La La Land had done what a lot of critics were forecasting: dominated the 2017 Oscar nominations. 14...