SANTOS: Skin to Skin

By Gaetano Kazuo Maida

October 16, 2022

“The drum is like a heartbeat.” —John Santos

I grew up in the Bronx in the ‘50s. This was in an old Italian neighborhood, full of grape arbors and fig trees (even a goat!), but by the time I was eight our neighbors on one side and across the street were from Puerto Rico, and on the other side were African Americans; it’s mostly Caribbean now. My public school was a ten block walk from home and most of my classmates there were Jewish. My parents were a mixed couple (Japanese/Sicilian) and most of their friends were mixed in one way or another as well, so I had a strong sense of a wonderfully polyglot community that ill-prepared me for the rather homogeneous and affluent population of my elite public high school. But it did open my ears to a wide variety of music. The soundtrack at home was folk, blues, soul (long story), flamenco, and opera, but in the streets it was doo-wop and Afro-Caribbean.

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TOWN DESTROYER: When Art Offends

By C.J. Hirschfield

October 8, 2022

For a documentary to even-handedly and adroitly cover a complex, painful and controversial subject in just 52 minutes requires not only talent, but a clarity of vision, and cinematic compassion.

Award-winning Bay Area filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman have accomplished just that in their timely Town Destroyer, with its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival Saturday, October 8. Continue reading

FINALLY FEELING FESTIVE – Looking Forward to the 2022 Mill Valley Film Festival, October 6 through 16

By Meredith Brody

October 6, 2022

In the past I have written, once or twice, thinking it was something of a joke, that if you wanted to see a movie beautifully projected on huge big screens with a full attentive audience who were all watching the BIG screen instead of their little screens, you had to go to a film festival.

Sir Ian McKellen’s 2015 Tribute; Photo by Drew Altizer Photography

And now, after nearly three years of not going to movies, whether in theaters or at festivals, and becoming increasingly used to – but not happy about — seeing movies via streaming services at home, I find that my little joke rings increasingly true.

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FANTASTIC NEGRITO: A Cat With More Than Nine Lives

Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? album review | Louder

 

By C.J. Hirschfield                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     October 8, 2022

Xavier. Amin. Andrew. Blood Sugar X. Oakland’s Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, born Xavier Dphrepaulezz and now known as Fantastic Negrito has had many names, and even more lives. The new documentary Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?, which has its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival, traces his remarkable and unlikely journey, telling the story in chronological order, interspersed with song tracks and jam sessions that feature his unique blues/R&B/roots music. It all comes together beautifully. Continue reading

Gratitude Revealed : Repurposed—With Purpose

By C.J. Hirschfield

September 16, 2022

Gratitude and mindfulness are the subject of countless books right now, with credible medical studies showing that cultivating these practices can actually improve both physical and mental health.

So it’s understandable that award-winning director, cinematographer and producer Louie Schwartzberg has chosen the title Gratitude Revealed for his visually stunning and thought provoking new documentary. It could also have been titled “Joy,” or “Celebrating Life,” or even “Sharing my Forty Years of Capturing Beautiful and Meaningful Images.”

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