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California Independent Film Festival 

Wednesday, Sep 9 2015
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Family matters are all the rage at the 18th annual California Independent Film Festival, which this year highlights non-hetero characters' subversive requisition of familiar movie-comedy maneuvers. Consider the tagline for writer-director Mikki Del Monico's lesbian mob comedy Alto: "Because coming out to family is hard, but coming out to FAMILY is funny." Or take writer-director Adam Reeves'My Brother's Shoes, a trading-places comedy about a buttoned-down executive (Peter Stringfellow) and his drag queen younger brother (Jacob Ellis): As the movie's poster succinctly reveals, the shoes in question are a stiletto-heeled pump and a dressy Oxford. Meanwhile, writer-director Matt Riddlehoover'sPaternity Leave is a romantic comedy about a stable couple (Jacob York, Charlie David) destabilized by an unintended pregnancy — his.These are just a few of festival's planned 18 features and 55 shorts, but it's hard not to notice how they all speak to a topical and evolving public understanding of what "family" even means. Of course, it still means what it's always meant: anguish. In director Gerald McCullouch'sDaddy,adapted from Dan Via's play, Colin (McCullouch), a successful middle-aged TV host, runs afoul of his longstanding best friend, Stew (Via), by pursuing a mysterious and much younger man (Jaime Cepero). "Maybe the Greeks were onto something, you know?" Colin offers. "That older-younger thing?" "Please," Stew fires back. "Those stories never ended well — someone was always stabbing out their eyes or getting chained to a rock."

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About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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