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We bring attention to the artists, musicians, authors and actors who make the Bay Area such a rich cultural community. Especially during the pandemic, it is important to support the people who bring us thoughtful reflections on our society – even if it’s through virtual events and streaming.
From now through Dec. 31, every dollar donated to Bay City News Foundation – the nonprofit behind Local News Matters – will get matched. We are participating in a program called NewsMatch that supports local newsrooms like ours so that we can bring verified, useful news about the region to you.
• “Roxie Mixtape-In-Place”: The Roxie always surprises with its dexterous programming. Now here’s a way to support the nonprofit theater in San Francisco while helping out budding filmmakers. The Roxie sent out a call asking for original shorts that are filmed during these trying times. This compilation — featuring 44 shorts including a selection of family-ready fare — can be viewed July 23-30 via the Roxie’s Virtual Cinema program. See which are your faves and then compare that to what the three judges — Bay Area native Rafael Casal of “Blindspotting” and “Bad Education,” San Francisco documentary director Jennifer Kroot and Roxie programmer Isabel Fondevila — select as the standouts. There are audience awards and prizes for the winners as well. (Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mixtape-in-place-tickets-113134117190)
• Indy Shorts International Film Festival: Haven’t had your fill of short films after “Roxie Mixtape-In-Place”? You’re in luck with this fest. Alameda filmmaker/critic Jonathan Kiefer’s understated that “Let’s Not Go There” is part of the program and it’s a winner, taking a subtle but revealing look at a suburban couple — he’s white, she’s black — and their relationship after they hear on the radio a report of a Black man being shot by police. It bowed at this year’s abbreviated Cinequest festival in San Jose and is now part of Indiana’s Heartland Film Festival, running virtually from July 21-26 (Tickets: https://indyshortsfilmfestival20.eventive.org/welcome)
• “Detroit Rising: How the Motor City Becomes a Restorative City”: San Francisco filmmaker Cassidy Friedman continues to make successful films about restorative justice practices. This educational series features Black leaders uniting to change their city and its image. In five episodes, Cassidy — who gave us the stirring Oakland-based “Circles” — takes us through the process via interviews with key players who are taking the lead to educate and improve their city in key arenas. (It’s available on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/detroitrising)
• “Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo”: Danny Trejo is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood and has popped up in thrillers galore. His presence alone makes a genre picture all the better. But getting to this point took resilience and a drastic change. In the ’60s, Trejo landed in prison and his life was spiraling ever more downward. In Brett Harvey’s inspiring documentary, Trejo speaks with great candor about what landed him there and how he managed to turn his life around. Its hopeful message reminds us that it’s never too late to turn your life around. (Available for rental on various platforms.)