The Sacramento International Film Festival opened to a packed house Saturday at the Crocker Art Museum with “A California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown,” directed by Sascha Rice.
The Sacramento International Film Festival, in its current form since 2003, has three purposes: serve as a skills incubator for the local film community, bring international films to Northern Californians and provide a forum for conversation between independent filmmakers and industry professionals from Hollywood.
W. Mark Bendy is a first-time director who participated in Cine Visionaries and the 48 Hour Film Challenge events. These two events serve as skills development programs for local self-selected teams of filmmakers. Directors find teams who are given only 48 hours to write, produce and edit a film for the 48 Hour Film Challenge. He shared some of his filmmaking experiences during the 48 Hour War Stories event on Tuesday night.
“It was kind of like someone stepping on your chest and letting someone pull out all the hair on your chinny chin chin,” he said. “It was harrowing, and it took a lot of patience and a lot of coordination.”
Cheryl Leff has organized the 48 Hour Film Challenge for the film festival since it was first offered in 2003.
“We had 32 teams go out the door Friday night and 26 of them turned in finished films,” she said.
Cine Soul, one of two Sunday events, is important stage for local African American filmmakers. This year featured the premiere of Jaylani Roberts’ “Mercury’s Rule,” which took five years to finish on a $100,000 budget. The film, which is set in Oakland, is about two female gangsters who avenge their former employer’s death.
“There aren’t any movies out there like mine,” Roberts said. “There are a lot of gangster movies out there, but there aren’t a lot where there’s strong female characters that drive the story.”
The rest of the week will be a whirlwind with nightly films covering documentary, surrealistic, Western and music genres shown primarily at the Artisan Art Complex on Del Paso Boulevard.
The international premiere of “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy” is on Friday night, while Saturday is devoted to the first Trans-Media Creators Conference and the 48 Hour Film Festival. Finally, Sunday morning will be full with the American Screenwriting Conference and the Sacramento Film Awards Ceremony on the Delta King.
Visit the Sacramento International Film Festival website to find out more about events, locations and ticket prices.