Film

In search of ...

'The Vortex Phenomena' unearths the unknown

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It's National Running Day! Motivate yo'self with these classic running films

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The San Francisco Marathon is a mere 11 days away, but today is National Running Day. So everyone gearing up for 26.2 is now trotting through shorter runs leading up to the big enchilada on June 16. What's a marathoner in mid-taper (or a couch 'tater needing motivation) to do? The sport of running, which tends to grab attention only during the Olympics or when there's a national tragedy or (natural disaster), has garnered a fair amount of cinematic interest over the years; long-distance runners, in particular, give great drama. Double-tie your laces and read on for flicks suitable for watching while you're foam-rolling and dreaming of medals.

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Realness

DocFest is back (already!) with a slate of standouts

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FILM First things first: yeah, you did just attend the 11th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival in November. The schedule shift for the 2013 fest — it's now sandwiched between the well-established San Francisco International Film Festival (which ended May 9) and Frameline (starts June 20) seasons — is a gamble. Will Bay Area film fans (who probably also attended the DocFest-affiliated SF IndieFest in February) suffer festival fatigue, or will DocFest's programming (Burning Man! Bettie Page! Pint-sized magicians!) lure 'em in anyway?Read more »

Triumph of queer comics: Justin Hall wins Lambda, 'Adèle' takes Cannes

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Two cool, queer graphic surprises, just in time for Pride month. First, local comics hero, Califormia College of the Arts professor, and frequent SFBG contributor (not to mention out-of-the-closet Batman lover) Justin Hall took the 2013 Lambda Award for Best Anthology yesterday with his groundbreaking historical queer comics survey No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Fantagraphics Books).

This a huge deal, as this is the first time a comics anthology has won. (A graphic novel by Oakland's Jon Macy, Teleny and Camille, won for Best Erotic Novel in 2011, also a first.)

Hall told me right after his win:

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Burning questions

Spark debuts at DocFest with a sympathetic look at Black Rock City LLC's intention to gift Burning Man back to the people. But is it true?

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steve@sfbg.com

A documentary called Spark: A Burning Man Story is arriving on the big screen, with dreams of wide distribution, at a pivotal moment for the San Francisco-based corporation that has transformed the annual desert festival into a valuable global brand supported by a growing web of interconnected burner collectives around the world.Read more »

The conversations

Ever-evolving characters Jesse and Celine return in 'Before Midnight'

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Tourist trappers

Murder takes a holiday: Hit the road with killer British comedy 'Sightseers'

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Pointy ears and freaky eyebrows: this week's new movies

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In Hollywood, summer starts in May, or even earlier ... give it a few more years and there'll be an Avengers tie-in movie ringing in the season in early February. This weekend's "summer" blockbuster is Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J. J. Abrams, who was recently tapped to helm at least the first film in the "Star Wars sequel trilogy." Lotta stars in J.J.'s eyes these days. At least he's having fun with it so far (my review of Darkness after the jump).

Also this week: he'll soon be playing the villain in Man of Steel, speaking of summer blockbusters, but Michael Shannon first appears as a based-on-truth hitman in the very fine Iceman, reviewed here by Dennis Harvey. Also of interest, the first Himalayan Film Festival is now underway in various Bay Area theaters; I take a look at the doc-heavy line-up here.

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No justice, no piece

This weekend's Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest whores itself for social change

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caitlin@sfbg.com

SEX Speaking as a media professional who has been subject the past month to her PR push for this year's Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (Sat/18-May 26), let me tell you that Carol "Scarlet Harlot" Leigh will stop at nothing to raise awareness about sex worker's rights.Read more »

Get high

A brand-new festival highlights Himalayan films

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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM San Francisco has a lot of film festivals (understatement of the millennium), but none until now can claim to show "films from the roof of the world." The first annual Himalayan Film Festival kicks off this week with screenings in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Opening night features the West Coast premiere of Leon Stuparich's Road to Peace, a doc that follows the Dalai Lama on his 2008 tour of the UK. Read more »