Director Mirra Bank Discusses No Fear No Favor

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin interviews filmmaker Mirra Bank about her important and beautifully shot film, No Fear No Favor. Bank discuses her approach to representing nature conservation and poaching, which encompasses these issues as part of a larger system of interlocking problems, including an economic situation that leads people, like the film’s central character, to poach in the first place. This nuanced consideration of “the health of the whole” allows for more thoughtful, inclusive solutions with the potential to help everyone involved. The duo also chat about Bank’s history of filmmaking, how she ended up making No Fear No Favor, and how her passion for animals informs the film’s style, pathos, and gorgeous cinematography.

This interview with Mirra is one of a handful of filmmaker Q&As and video exclusives that are already available as part of SDFF 2021. The Q&As will be up through the month of June.  No Fear No Favor will be streaming as part of SDFF 2021 from June 10-13.


An Introduction to A Gift From God from Co-Director Jørgen Lorentzen

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

Filmmaker Jørgen Lorentzen introduces the 2019 film he co-directed with Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, A Gift From God for its SDFF 2021 screening. A Gift From God investigates the 2016 failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has been described as the bloodiest in Turkey’s history. Through the film, Lorentzen attempts to shed light on this event, and its staggering circumstances, which resonate with ongoing political conflicts in the present day.

 



Yung Chang on Truth and Empathy in  This Is Not A Movie and Wuhan Wuhan

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin sits down with Yung Chang, the filmmaker behind two SDFF 2021 films that deal with dangerous, politically fraught, and ultimately tragic, situations. Wuhan Wuhan captures the early days of the coronavirus at the epicenter of what would become a worldwide pandemic, while This Is tracks journalist Robert Fisk who has perpetually put his life at risk to cover conflicts in the Middle East. Truth and empathy are mutually constitutive elements that form the core of both films, which capture human experience at points of catastrophic world change and posit a path forward out of the current crisis in truth, which is at the heart of so much tragedy.

Chang’s interview is one of a handful of filmmaker Q&As that are already available as part of SDFF 2021. The Q&As will be up through the month of June.  Wuhan Wuhan and This Is Not A Movie will be streaming as part of SDFF 2021 from June 10-13.



Farzaneh Omidvarnia Talks Style, Storytelling and Shooting with Puppets

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin sits down with Farzaneh Omidvarnia, the polymath filmmaker behind Song Sparrow, a flooring documentary that uses puppetry to tell a refugee story. Omidvarnia speaks at length about why she selected a mode and style of storytelling that, on its face, seems counter-intuitive to the deadly serious, and deeply traumatic subject of her doc. The duo discuss practical and theoretical aspects of Omidvarnia’s filmmaking practice, constructing and shooting with puppets, and how the filmmaker’s background as an engineer has informed her work.

Farzaneh’s interview is one of a handful of filmmaker Q&As that are already available as part of SDFF 2021. The Q&As will be up through the month of June.  Song Sparrow will be streaming as part of SDFF 2021 from June 10-13.

 


An Interview with Julia Scotti: Funny That Way Director Susan Sandler and Comedian Julia Scotti

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jane Winslow

SDFF Co-Director Jane Winslow sits down with writer/director Susan Sandler and comedian/film collaborator Julia Scotti to talk about Julia Scotti: Funny That Way. This intimate, funny and deeply human film tells a story of becoming that resonates beyond Julia’s personal story of gender transition. In the interview, Sandler and Scotti discuss the dynamics of their documentary endeavor as a six-year journey, and cover everything from Julia’s leap of faith in revealing so much of herself for the project, to the public-private tension that is the story’s “spine,” to both women’s “willingness to say yes to truth, no matter where it takes us.” They also cover the craft of documentary, the relationship between documentary form and storytelling, and how Scotti’s story moved Sandler to move from fiction writing to documentary filmmaking.

 

Sandler and Scotti’s interview is one of a handful of filmmaker Q&As that are already available as part of SDFF 2021. The Q&As will be up through the month of June.  Julia Scotti: Funny That Way will be streaming as part of SDFF 2021 from June 10-13.

Julia Scotti: Funny That Way was also included on OUTwatch’s recent list of the Top 30 LGBTQIA documentaries. That list also includes SDFF 2021 films: A Sexplanation,Girlsboysmix and Kapaemahu. You can catch a panel discussion of that list by SDFF Co-Director Jane Winslow and OUTwatch Producer Gary Carnivele right now.

 



Julia Scotti: Funny That Way is one of 4 SDFF 2021 films co-presented by OUTwatch. Check out the other four films, and a special conversation about LGBTQIA documentaries with SDFF programmer and director Jane Winslow and OUTwatch producer and film critic Gary Carnivele, here!

An Interview with Three Meters And A Few Centimeters Director Mostafa Salehi Nezhad

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin sits down for for a conversation with Three Meters And A Few Centimeters Director Mostafa Salehi Nezhad. The duo discuss Mostafa’s filmmaking practice, how he came to the film’s difficult topic, and what motivated him to put himself at such grave risk during the pandemic to film it.



The Iconography of Peace – An Interview with
Can Art Stop A Bullet Filmmaker Mark Street
and Artist/Film Collaborator William Kelly

Hosted by SDFF Co-Director Jean McGlothlin

A spirited conversation between Can Art Stop A Bullet filmmaker Mark Street, documentary collaborator and artist  William Kelly, and SDFF co-director and lead programmer Jean McGlothlin. The conversation emphasizes the film’s very serious message—that although warring appetites have marked the globe and continue to persist, art can nurture non-combative relationships—it has the potential to be both message and messenger. The warmth of the friendship between Street and Kelly imbues this conversation with a gregariousness and joy that amplifies the message coming from the film about the generative and productive nature of art, not just in their material form, but as practice.

SDFF will continue to release its filmmaker Q&As leading up to the festival, which will stream June 10-13. The Q&As will be available to the public free of charge through June.



A Special SDFF 2021-OUTwatch Collaboration

SDFF 2021 has collaborated with its long-term partners, OUTwatch to bring you a panel discussion of OUTwatch’s selection of the 30 Best LGBTQI documentaries.

Local cinephiles/filmmakers Gary Carnivele and Jane Winslow present and discuss OUTwatch’s newly minted “30 Best American LGBTQIA Documentaries.” In a conversation shaped by the selections, the duo examine films about LGBTQIA history and issues, activism, gender studies, as well as profiles of noteworthy individual. They will also explore queer documentary style and take a closer look at the work of 3 pivotal auteurs: experimental filmmaker extraordinaire Barbara Hammer, and filmmaking partners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, whose films are not only iconic in queer cinema, but have had widespread mainstream appeal.

The conversation concludes with a discussion of films being co-presented by OUTwatch at SDFF 2021. OUTwatch producer Gary Carnivele is a film critic, screenwriter and director. In addition to co-directing and managing SDFF, Jane Winslow is a filmmaker, film professor and frequent festival judge. OUTwatch’s list of the 30 Best American LGBTQI Documentaries is available on OUTwatch.com and gaysonoma.com, where you can also check-out Sonoma’s 2021 Pride events.

 

SDFF 2021 FILMS ON OUTWATCH’S TOP 30 LGBTQI+ DOCS

 

A Sexplanation (Alexander Liu, 2020, 76 mins)

To right the wrongs of his all-American sex education, 36 year-old Alex Liu goes on a quest to uncover naked truths and hard facts—no matter how awkward it gets.

 

Girlsboysmix (Lara Aerts, Els Van Driel, 2020 7 mins)

Nine year-old Wen Long naturally and candidly describes her experience of growing up intersex. *SDFF 2021 Jury Award Nominee – Best Short!*

 

Julia Scotti Funny That Way (Susan Sandler, 2020, 72 mins)

This tender and powerful portrait of transgender comedian Julia Scotti explores the courage and humor it takes to be Julia.
*Filmmaker Q&A + West Coast Premiere!*

 

Kapaemahu (Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, 2019, 9 mins)

This richly animated short brings to life the hidden history of four monumental stones on Waikiki Beach, and the legendary transgender healing spirits within them. *SDFF 2021 Jury Award Nominee – Best Short!*

 

Other SDFF 2021 films with LGBTQI themes include: The Dilemma Of Desire (Maria Finitzo, 2019, 92 mins);  I Want To Make A Film About Women (Karen Pearlman, 2020, 12 mins); The Passing On (Nathan Clarke, 2021, 64 mins); and When The Cameras Stopped Rolling (Jane Castle, 2021, 75 mins)

 

PANEL PARTNERS: