Welcome to the San Francisco Documentary Festival 2023 Virtual Festival!
Explore our on-demand catalog here. Film programs are available June 1-11, 2023.
Filmed across unfolding seasons, Eileen–a young, solitary maverick–forges a life among the discarded remnants and lingering memories of a desert ghost town called Cisco. A queer slice of the contemporary American West, Cisco Kid is both a portrait of a person who has walked away from mainstream society, and a place that has been left behind by a changing world.
85 min | USA
Cisco Kid (+Q&A) & Sean Dorsey Dance: Dreaming Trans and Queer Futures
Opening Night - Iconoclastic bluesman Fantastic Negrito faces his demons as he records his third Grammy-winning album. Digging deep into his turbulent past, he searches to answer the question: in a sick society, how do you keep from going crazy?
92 min | United States
Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? + Q&A
Shaolin is the birthplace of Chinese Chan and Kung Fu, where in a seemingly paradoxical way, the monks pursuing Buddhist peace and enlightenment through the practice of deadliest martial arts. The film observes life of several Shaolin monks and Serbian young female anthropologist who came to conduct fieldwork. With so much chaos in today’s world, can these insiders and outsiders find the Buddhist inner peace and the ending of suffering here?
92 min | China
Into The Shaolin + Q&A
Malcolm Kenyatta, the self-described “poor, Black, and gay kid from North Philly” is running for the United States Senate. But this race is about more than taking on Malcolm’s political competition. It’s about taking on an entire system.The film examines a key question facing our nation: what does it mean to be “electable”?
95 min | United States
Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn + Q&A
In Cuba, influences from Africa and Europe merge to create a unique colorful culture. Its wildly pulsating heart is the music and dance scene, which extends far beyond Latin jazz, Buena Vista Social Club and salsa. Havana in particular, is a bubbling cauldron of musical, rhythmic creativity with hypnotic sounds of clave, drums, traditional songs and popular hits. The Caribbean island lives music!
87 min | Germany, Cuba
La Clave - A Mystery of Musica Cubana + Q&A
An up-close cinematic walkabout through the life of Gary Young, the original (and highly unlikely) drummer of indie rock royalty Pavement. His booze and drugs-fueled antics (on-stage handstands, gifting vegetables to fans) and haphazard production methods (accidentally helping launch the lo-fi aesthetic) were both a driving force of the band’s early rise and the cause of his eventual crash landing. Leaving a wake of joy and/or destruction at every turn, Gary teeters the thin line between free-form self-expression and chaotic self-destruction. Thirty years on with scoliosis, blood clots, and a shriveled liver, Gary is still drumming with no regrets. Note: no puppets were harmed in the making of this film.
91 min | United States
Louder Than You Think + Q&A
"The wind got up in the night and took our plans away," reads the proverb in the opening titles of Museum of the Revolution. The words are a reference to the 1961 plan to build a grand museum in Belgrade as a tribute to Socialist Yugoslavia. It was supposed to "safeguard the truth" about the Yugoslav people. But the plan never got beyond the construction of the basement. The derelict building now tells a very different story from the one envisioned by the initiators 60 years ago. In the damp, pitch-dark building live the outcasts of a society reshaped by capitalism.
Motel Drive (+ Q&A) & As American As It Gets
During the preliminary round, there are 160 of them. Then, about 80. Then 40. At last, only 10 lucky ones make it to the final. These are the contestants in the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition, held every five years in Warsaw, Poland. PIANOFORTE follows an eclectic group of young musicians from around the world who have prepared since they were children for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
90 min | Poland, Germany
Pianoforte + Q&A
A patchwork of videos, pictures and writings reconstruct the story of a young traveler who disappeared in the Himalayas. From his house in Venice, the filmmaker, intertwining the materials his missing friend sent him throughout his trip, finally shapes the journey he has always dreamt after but never dared to undertake. A meditation on how we create images and the way we interact with them.
46 min | | Nepal, France, Italy, India
Shambala + Q&A
Four sex workers caught in the spiral of addiction turn to a self-proclaimed healer offering friendship and a path to salvation from the streets inside his roadside RV. But just as they begin to rebuild their lives, a shocking betrayal comes to light that will change them all.
100 min | | United States
On the night of a family wedding in Jharkand, India, Ranjit fears the worst after waking up to find his daughter is not home. Dragged into the woods, she was gang raped by three men. The village solution is to marry her to one of them. Ranjit refuses. Instead, he challenges the status quo, determined to get justice for his daughter. On his quest, he works with a gender-justice NGO that sees in him an example for other men to follow. As the financial and emotional pressure of the case mounts, the villagers turn against Ranjit, and the boys’ families threaten murder.
126 min | Canada
To Kill A Tiger + Q&A
Homeless individuals in Oakland, CA, tell their struggles, experiences and hopes - in their own words - through cell phone footage. The film follows three individuals as they move from one site to the next, all while chasing the elusive miracle that will deliver them out of their current situation.
We R Here (+ Q&A) & Beyond I Wanna Go