S.F. Indiefest, with its ardor for shoestring films and no-illusions filmmakers, is the most pragmatic, eyes-wide-open festival in town. Paradoxically, perhaps, the fest also embraces a party-hearty ethos guaranteed to beat the blues out of the blackest nihilist. Both impulses collide at tonight’s opener at the Roxie, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, a compassionate but bruising study of a New York couple (Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh) facing their final 15 hours before humanity is extinguished. That’s right, campers: No last-minute reprieves from God, no third-act plot twists, no happy endings. Leigh and director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) will be on hand to cheer up the crowd and dish about the brilliant Dafoe. The festival returns to pre-apocalypse NYC for the closing night program at Public Works, Girl Walk // All Day, a full-length dance/music collaboration between mashup maestro Girl Talk and filmmaker Jacob Krupnick. In between, there’s the perennially popular Indiefest stew of crime (Snow on tha Bluff), weed (California 90420), roller derby (Skater 26), Bay Area shorts (“Nothing Is What It Seems”), Euro-crime (the Oscar-nominated Bullhead), intimate character study (Green, Without), horror (Kill List) and acid (The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD). Your nerve endings will thank you.
Feb. 9-23, 2012