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Monday, October 20, 2014

City Planning and Cinema Meet at the SF Urban Film Festival

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

  • SPUR (flickr)
Urban planning is not meant to be arousing. Very few people are going to drop $12 at the theaters to watch a movie about public parks or the urban canyon effect, especially if there is no sex to see. 

Still, urban planning is an integral, and often sadly overlooked, part of our daily lives as urban dwellers. To combat our under-appreciation for the precise science that keeps our city chugging along, the SF Urban Film Festival, taking place Nov. 6 through 9 at the SPUR Urban Center, will be screening films that highlight the role urban planning plays in the Bay Area and beyond.

The festival is spearheaded by its founder Fay Darmawi, a longtime North Beach resident with a background in urban planning and screenwriting, who wanted to create more public interest in urban living "I've never been enamored with the urban planning profession…it never really figured out how to engage the public…I thought that marrying storytelling and urban planning could ignite the urban planning profession, and inspire more people to…become more engaged in their city."

The festival was conceived by Darmawi back in February "I felt there was a strong desire for San Franciscans to become engaged in their city. There didn't seem to be a lot of fun ways, or inspiring ways, people could get engaged. Film and video is a great place for people to get started, to get educated, to get excited."

The festival will feature 10 documentaries, all focused on one unique aspect of city life that has been affected by urban planning. When searching for films, Darmawi "was surprised to find 70 feature documentaries that could fall into the urban planning film genre…it's picking up speed, and more and more urban planning films get minted everyday." 

The films cover a wide spectrum of urban life, from "Rock the Boat", which describes the fight to return the paved over Los Angles River to its original state, to "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth", which tells the story of an infamously crime-infested St. Louis' housing development. Interested in how the Bay Bridge received its luminous facelift last year? "Impossible Light" follows the team that worked to raise funding and install the lights.

More info and pre-sale tickets for the three day festival are available here.

SPUR Urban Center
654 Mission Street
94105-4015 San Francisco, CA

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David L. Garcia


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