Movie Reviews: 10th Annual Sacramento Film & Music Festival

10th Annual Sacramento Film & Music Festival
Crest Theatre, July 24th – August 2nd

The 10th Annual Sacramento Film & Music Festival officially opens at 8pm on July 24th, with a welcome from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the presentation of the 2009 Film Arts Service Award to Ron Cooper, Executive Director of Access Sacramento.  For years, Ron has been a champion of local filmmakers getting their start in the industry, consistent with the vision of the Festival which not only serves as a juried competition for independent film from around the world but also as a venue for the local film community to share and screen their work.

This year’s Festival has 19 feature films, 75 films from the submission pool, and approximately 130 film projects in total, including music videos and a special showcase of student film from the Art Institute of Sacramento.  In total there are over 30 ticketed events and 10 assorted dinners, receptions and parties, all accessible by a single Festival Pass*.

Highlights include:
Friday, July 24th – The opening night feature is the locally shot “Sensored**” starring Robert Picardo.  Mr. Picardo and the cast and crew will be in attendance for the reception, screening, and opening night party.  

Saturday, July 25th – For those who enjoy fishing and all things related to the sport, “Rivers of a Lost Coast**” (11am) chronicles the now virtually lost steelhead fishing phenomenon of Northern California’s rivers.  Narrated by Tom Skerritt, “Rivers” is another excellent locally produced film.  Saturday evening delivers the sixth year of the “Sac Music Seen” program (8pm) in which local bands and filmmakers collaborate to create original music videos.

Sunday, July 26th – The first Sunday includes both an international feature “Chaturanga” from India (4pm), and a program of international short films at 6:30pm.  The evening feature “Friends (With Benefits)**” is a romantic comedy of mixed attitudes and pairings among a group of six close friends.

Monday, July 27th – In a first for the Festival, the wonderful marriage documentary “Inlaws and Outlaws**” (6pm) is followed at 8:30pm by a live performance of songs from stage and screen produced by Sacramento’s all new professional theater company, New Helvetia Theatre (the production company by the recent Hedwig and the Angry Inch).  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s programs begin at 5pm with a complimentary dinner generously provided by Festival sponsor Rubios.

Tuesday, July 28th –
The “CA Justice” program at 6pm combines three films that address personal stories from California’s legal system.  For example, “Sin by Silence**” introduces the audience to several women who were incarcerated for killing their extremely violent and abusive husbands before CA law allowed for such a history of abuse to be entered into evidence by the defense. 

Additionally, at a time when the media often reports on the apparent lifestyle hypocrisies of many right-wing politicians, “Do As I Say**” (8pm) documents similar hypocrisies amongst several nationally recognized liberal political figures and celebrities.

Wednesday, July 29th – “Nightbeats**” (8pm) comes from local new producer and filmmaker Mike Carroll and is an homage to the film noirs of the 1940’s.  Mike is an extraordinary artist who produces, writes, shoots, directs, and edits his own work – an extraordinary feat in feature filmmaking.

Thursday, July 30th –
An evening with the students and faculty of the Art Institute of Sacramento (6pm), including projects from the film program and catering by the culinary department.

Friday, July 31st –
In a special screening at 7pm, the Festival is proud to present Directors Choice Award winner “Paper Heart” starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera.  Charlyne’s attempts to prove that love doesn’t exist are somewhat stymied when she meets Michael and begins to question her own convictions.  “Boppin’ at the Glue Factory**” (9pm) about a young addict who realizes that working at the local senior residential facility might prove to be a ready supply of narcotics, is followed by a program of shorter films with a late night flavor at 11pm.

Saturday, August 1st –
One of the most fun aspects of the Festival is the annual unveiling of the 10×10 Filmmaker Challenge projects (7pm), the results of a program in which teams are permitted 10 days to make a film of no more than 10 minutes.  This year’s theme “Milestones and Markers” was prompted by the Festival’s 10 year anniversary.

Sunday, August 2nd –
“The Power and the Powerless” (Noon) documents the fall and rise of communism in Eastern Europe, using Czechoslovakia as an example of the effects and aftermath on a younger generation.  The film also demonstrates how Russian- sourced communism was not always monolithic in nature, with changes in regimes in Moscow altering the nature of daily life in the Soviet block countries.  The Festival ends its 10th season with an after-party and awards ceremony at the Parlare Eurolounge, beginning at 7pm.

*Capitol Weekly readers can purchase an All-Festival pass for $60 at the Crest Theatre box office.  Most regular screenings are individually priced at $10 (a few receptions and special events are priced higher).
**These screenings include Q&A sessions with filmmaker.
The full Festival schedule and further information can be found at

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: