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A scene from Jason Wolos’ TRATTORIA, the Opening Night film at Cinema by the Bay, November 9-11 at New People Cinema

The San Francisco Film Society announced the program lineup for the fourth annual Cinema by the Bay festival, November 9 – 11 at New People Cinema. The three-day festival will feature new work produced in or about the San Francisco Bay Area and will open with Jason Wolos’ debut feature Trattoria. Set in the world of San Francisco’s competitive restaurant culture, a popular chef and his son must reconnect and heal their past through cooking if they want to save their relationship and change the direction of their lives.

The program lineup:

Friday, November 9    OPENING NIGHT
7:00 pm Trattoria
Jason Wolos    Director Expected
Set in the world of San Francisco’s competitive restaurant culture, Trattoria serves up familial drama and foodie delights. Chef Sal Sartini and his second wife Cecilia have just opened a new restaurant and are trying to generate the reviews and buzz that are critical to success. When Sal’s estranged son Vince comes to visit and help out in the restaurant, underlying tensions are brought to the surface. It becomes clear that Chef Sartini has lost his way by focusing so intensely on his success, and with the help of his son he must rekindle his passion for food and for life. (USA 2011. 82 min. Written by Jason Wolos, Dawn Rich. Photographed by Frazer Bradshaw. With Tony Denison, John Patrick Amedori, Lisa Rotondi, Kandis Erickson. Fine Dining Productions.)

Saturday, November 10
2:30 pm Casablanca mon amour    
John Slattery    Director Expected
This fiction/nonfiction hybrid presents two bright and humorous Moroccan college students, Hassan and Abdel, as they journey from Casablanca over the Atlas mountains to the Sahara desert. Hassan, in the midst of creating a media project, uses the trip to investigate how Morocco has been depicted in popular culture and used in Hollywood staples such as Casablanca (of course) and The Jewel of the Nile, among others. The conceit ingeniously allows us to see how the country has been figured in film, while also showing us the country itself and how Moroccans view their own nation through the lens of Hollywood. (USA/Morocco 2012. 79 min. In French, Arabic and English with English subtitles. Written by John Slattery. Photographed by Fara Akrami. With Abdel Alidrissi, Hassan Ouazzani, Amin Chadati, Fraida Bouazzaoui. Zween Works.)

5:00 pm Essential SF
Essential SF is an ongoing compendium of the Bay Area film community’s most vital figures and institutions. H.P. Mendoza, Judy Stone, Wholphin, Terry Zwigoff and others yet to be announced will be feted at this short ceremony. An outgrowth of’s Essential SF column and a key event in the Film Society’s Cinema by the Bay festival, this event shines a light on the region’s legendary idiosyncratic and multifaceted contributions to the filmmaking world. Past Essential SF honorees include Les Blank, Canyon Cinema, Joshua Grannell (aka Peaches Christ), Rick Prelinger and Marlon Riggs, among others. Free admission.

7:00 pm Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet    
Jesse Vile    Subject Expected
In 1980, guitarist Jason Becker appeared to be destined for international stardom when he signed with David Lee Roth’s band at the age of 20. That same year, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and was given 3-5 years to live. Now, more than 20 years since his diagnosis, Jason’s story is far from over. Through home movies, photographs and concert footage, this documentary presents an affectionate portrait of a gifted teenager who realized his wildest dreams at an early age and is still creating and thriving due to the care and love of his devoted family and fans. (USA 2012. 90 min. Photographed by Carl Burke. Edited by Gideon Gold.)

9:30 pm Amity    World Premiere
Alejandro Adams    Director Expected
A divorced Air Force sergeant rents a limousine to celebrate his daughter’s high school graduation, but when only a few hours before the ceremony his daughter rejects his overtures to celebrate with him, he decides to spend the evening with the limo driver. As they drink and loosen up, their camaraderie gives way to an awkward but somehow therapeutic violence, and their misadventures throughout the evening ratchet up the tension to expose an underbelly of pain. Reminiscent of the early work of Neil Labute, Amityunflinchingly presents a version of masculinity that is deeply insecure, sadistic and ultimately powerless. (USA 2012. 80 min. Written by Alejandro Adams. Photographed by Alejandro Adams. With Greg Cala.)

Sunday, November 11
2:00 pm Moving Image at the End of the World: Shorts from Headlands Center for the Arts
Presented in person by Brian Karl, Program Director, Headlands Center for the Arts
2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Headlands Center for the Arts, one of the most vital creative organizations in the Bay Area and the country. Headlands’ mission is to support artistic culture by providing the environment and means for artists to produce innovative work and to connect such practitioners to audiences of all sorts, and their residencies are among the most sought-after around the world. Ranging from the wonderfully humorous to the devastatingly beautiful, this not-to-be-missed program of short films consists of works that have been made at Headlands throughout the years. 

4:15 pm A Conversation with Lucy Gray
Scintillating San Francisco-based artist Lucy Gray will be on hand for an intimate talk about her work and the creative impulse. While Gray is recognized for her compelling photographs — including the “Big Tilda” exhibition at the 2006 San Francisco International Film Festival — her artistry is not merely limited to photography. This unique event will feature a screening of her magical debut short film Genevieve Goes Boating, followed by two scene readings from her latest creative venture A Stage of Her Own, a play based on the life and work of theater producer Irene Selznick. Writer Steven Winn will moderate the discussion. 

6:00 pm The Revolutionary Optimists    Work-in-progress screening
Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham    Directors Expected
Lawyer turned social advocate Amlan Ganguly doesn’t rescue children; he empowers them through education and activism to battle poverty and transform their lives and communities. The Revolutionary Optimists follows Amlan and the children he works with — Shika, Salim, Kajal and Priyanka — as they staunchly fight against the forces that oppress them. Shot over the course of three years, this film vividly captures the vibrancy of India while taking us on an intimate journey with these children, during which we witness not only the changes they are able to make in their neighborhoods, but also the changes within each of them. (USA 2012. 83 min. Photographed by Jon Shenk, Ranu Ghosh, Ranjan Palit. Edited by Andrew Gersh, Mary Lampson. Helianthus Media.)

8:30 pm CXL    World Premiere
Sean Gillane    Director Expected
Nolan, an aspiring writer, feels stuck: he is frustrated with his career, his relationships, the world and ultimately with himself. Unable to keep from displaying his considerable disdain, he focuses on everything wrong in his life as he treads the same dissatisfying paths. When he meets the stunning and unpredictable Cassie, she invites him to let down his guard and enjoy the world around him. Nolan slowly gives in to Cassie’s exuberance, but just as he begins to change his perspective, circumstances conspire to throw his already fragile psyche into turmoil in this poignant and darkly comedic debut feature. (USA 2011. 90 min. Written by Theo Miller. Photographed by Sean Gillane. With Cole Smith, Lisa Greyson. Briana Eason, Amir Motlagh. Playlist.)

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