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Wednesday, Sep 12 2012
Hollywood directors test-drive their movies for focus-group audiences in Anaheim. Bay Area documentary makers, although not averse to reaching the multiplex masses (even if they’re a good deal less shameless about it), show their works-in-progress to their filmmaker peers and, occasionally, the knowledgeable, enthusiastic habitués of Rough Cuts. This longstanding, semi-regular forum involves nonfiction fans in a crucial stage of the moviemaking process by inviting their street-level feedback about confusing exposition, puzzling character motivation, and jarring shifts in tone, among the other hurdles to crafting a dynamic, compelling documentary. Reflecting the Bay Area’s extraordinary reputation for social-issue films, Rough Cuts typically spotlights tough-minded, character-driven pieces such as Leah Mahan’s Louisiana-set Turkey Creek and Micha Peled’s portrait of desperate Indian farmers, Bitter Seeds (opening in a few weeks at the Roxie). Tonight’s masterpiece-in-the-making -- chosen from a slew of worthy submissions -- offers the first peek at a film likely destined for a national television broadcast, although perhaps not a multiplex in an Encino mall. As a bonus, the ticket price includes drinks and appetizers, because nothing makes moviegoers more ornery than hunger and sobriety.
Tue., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m., 2012

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Michael Fox

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