“Six Feet of Separation” Is the New Newspaper by Bernal Heights Kids

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Bernalwood blog… ACTIVATE!

We interrupt this pandemic to bring you an essential update from Bernal Heights, where celebrity author and youth wrangler Chris Colin shares this update about “Six Feet of Separation,” the newest newspaper in our neighborhood:

Did you feel that? That was the media landscape shifting!

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the first-ever Bernal Heights young people’s free pandemic newspaper, Six Feet of Separation! Unless there were others I don’t know about!

After a nailbiter of a vote on what to call this thing, “Six Feet of Separation” prevailed as the most popular title, and so it shall be. (RIP “Bernal Butts.”)

Please read Six Feet of Separation and share widely. Any design/layout blunders are the fault of the publisher, all excellence is the fault of the amazing contributors, ages 2-17 (with one 19-year-old thrown in for good luck). Here’s a tasty sample:

Thanks to everyone who wrote, drew, dictated and otherwise submitted something to this first issue of Six Feet of Separation. We are now accepting submissions for issue #2. Editorial policy is: Yes.

By the kids, for the kids. Check out Issue 1 of  Six Feet of Separation!

 

This Week: Enjoy the 2017 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival

It’s that glamorous red carpet and green grass time of year for Bernalese cinephiles! Thats because the 2017 edition of the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema film festival gets underway this week.

As you may know, BHOC is exactly like Sundance or Cannes — only with slightly less Gucci and Prada and lots more North Face and Patagonia. The films are free, most are short, and some are shown outside. The organizers emphasize local topics and local filmmakers, and this year the focus is on Bernal’s “strong tradition of outspoken civic leaders and engaged political organizations.”

The complete line-up of venues and films is available at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema website,  but here are the highlights:

  • Opening Night: Thursday, Sept. 7 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street.
  • Film Crawl on Cortland: Friday, Sept. 8, from 7:00 to 11:00, at multiple sites on Cortland Avenue from Bennington to Ellsworth Street. This year the Film Crawl also includes a Late Night Screening and After-Party from 10:00 to 11:00, at Barebottle Brewing, 1525 Cortland Avenue. All ages are welcome.
  • Under the Stars at Precita Park: Saturday, Sept. 9 from 7:00 to 10:00, at the corner of Folsom Street and Precita Avenue. Pro Tip: Bring seating. Dress warmly. BYO snacks. Sip from a flask. Snuggle as necessary.
  • Best of Bernal: Wednesday, 9/27 from 7:00-9:00, at the Barebottle Brewing Company, 1525 Cortland Avenue, BHOC will present an encore screening of the 2017 season’s award-winning films.

The BHOC organizers say these are some of the standout films in the 2017 lineup:

The Ride, directed by Jeff Adachi and Jim Choi. (Thursday, 9/7) SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi travels into the underbelly of the criminal injustice system when he takes on the case of Michael Smith, a young African-American man charged with assaulting police officers.

These Walls Speak: PLACA, directed by Carla Wojczuk. (Friday, 9/8 at Bernal Star) In 1984, artists and activists in the heart of the Mission transformed Balmy Alley into a “mural environment” when they formed PLACA to protest the U.S. government’s wars in Central America.

American Paradise, directed by Joe Talbot. (Saturday, 9/9) A desperate white man, forgotten in Trump’s America, tries to shift his fate by committing the perfect crime. He robs multiple banks wearing a hyper-realistic black-man mask – until, of course, all goes horribly wrong.

When Rabbit Left the Moon, directed by Emiko Omori. (Thursday, 9/7) The Japanese-American filmmaker says, “Words to describe the camp experience seem inadequate to me – either too many or not enough. This video poem is an attempt to express long buried feelings without words.”

Happy Birthday, Mario Woods. (Thursday 9/7) San Francisco police shot Mario Woods more than 20 times in December 2015. Six months after his death, Gwen Woods visits her son grave and the site of his shooting.

Again, look for the complete line-up of venues and films at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema website, and see you there.

PHOTO: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema in Precita Park, by Telstar Logistics

Finally! Watch Bernal Filmmaker Joe Talbot’s “American Paradise”

Bernal Heights filmmaker Joe Talbot in 2014

When we last heard from Bernalese filmmaker Joe Talbot, he was schmoozing with the stars at the Sundance Film Festival.  Neighbor Joe, a native of Montcalm Street  and winner of the coveted “Best of Bernal” prize at the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival, was at Sundance last Februrary to premier American Paradise, a short film he recently wrote and directed.

Yet if you just couldn’t make it to Sundance — ugh, the maddening crowds, darling — you’re now in luck: Yesterday Neighbor Joe shared American Paradise on the interwebs so the rest of us can watch it too.

IndieWire called American Paradise one of the “must-see shorts” at Sundance this year, and Vimeo just selected it as a Staff Pick Premiere. Emily Bruder at No Film School writes:

Some filmmakers come right out of the gate with a distinctive style and vision for their directorial debut. Joe Talbot is one such director. Although Talbot’s short, American Paradise, was his first time working with a budget and legitimate production team, it went on to screen at Sundance 2017 and SXSW 2017, garnering wide acclaim for its grasp of absurdist comedy and incisive social commentary.

Now, American Paradise has been selected as Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere and is finally available to stream online (Watch it below). It’s the story of a forgotten man in Trump’s America who tries to shift his fate with the perfect crime—until, of course, all goes horribly wrong. Its tagline, “based on an unfortunately true story,” perfectly encapsulates the film’s sense of humor and underlying somber message. Rendered with a pastel color palette and compositions that would make Wes Anderson weep, American Paradise announces an exciting new talent in Talbot.

Some filmmakers come right out of the gate with a distinctive style and vision for their directorial debut. Joe Talbot is one such director. Although Talbot’s short, American Paradise, was his first time working with a budget and legitimate production team, it went on to screen at Sundance 2017 and SXSW 2017, garnering wide acclaim for its grasp of absurdist comedy and incisive social commentary.

Find a comfortable place to sit, get yourself a cup of popcorn, and enjoy Neighbor Joe Talbot’s short film:

New York Times Exposes La Lengua’s Diabolical Climate Change Hoax

At long last, the simmering geo-political rivalry between Bernal Heights and those meddling rebel separatists from the La Lengua flatlands has reached the pinnacle of the mainstream media.

In the cover story of today’s Sunday New York Times Magazine, former Bernal neighbor Jon Mooallem reveals the shocking climate change conspiracy that prompted forward-looking Bernal Heights speculators to began hoarding prime beachfront property near the top of Bernal Hill.

Jon Mooallem writes:

A few years ago, a locally famous blogger in San Francisco, known as Burrito Justice, created an exquisitely disorienting map, with help from a cartographer named Brian Stokle, and started selling copies of it online. The map imagined the city in the year 2072, after 60 years of rapid sea-level rise totaling 200 feet.

At present, San Francisco is a roughly square-shaped, peninsular city. But on the map, it is severed clean from the mainland and shaved into a long, fat smudge. The shape of the land resembles a sea bird diving underwater for prey, with odd bays chewing into the coastlines and, farther out, a sprawl of bulging and wispy islands that used to be hills. If you lived in San Francisco, it was a map of where you already were and, simultaneously, where you worried you might be heading. “The San Francisco Archipelago,” Burrito Justice called it — a formerly coherent city in shards.

The map wasn’t science; it didn’t even pretend to be. I want to be very clear about that, because I worry it’s reckless to inject any more false facts into a conversation about climate change. Projecting the effect of sea-level rise on a specific location typically involves recondite computer models and calculations; Burrito Justice was just a fascinated hobbyist, futzing around on his laptop in his backyard. His entire premise was unscientific; for now, it is unthinkable that seas will rise so high so quickly. Even as most credible scientific estimates keep increasing and the poles melt faster than imagined, those estimates currently reach only between six and eight feet by the year 2100.

That’s still potentially cataclysmic: Water would push into numerous cities, like Shanghai, London and New York, and displace hundreds of millions of people. And yes, there are some fringe, perfect-storm thought experiments out there that can get you close to 200 feet by the end of the century. But in truth, Burrito Justice settled on that number only because that’s how high he needed to jack up the world’s oceans if he wanted to wash out a particular road near his house. He has a friendly rivalry with another blogger, who lives in an adjacent neighborhood known for being a cloistered hamlet, and Burrito Justice thought it would be funny to see it literally become an island. So again: The map wasn’t science. It didn’t pretend to be. The point, initially, was just to needle this other guy named Todd.

Of course, even if the science remains unsettled, preparation is still the better part of success. That’s why Bernalwood urges all residents to again consider our 2013 proposal to adapt to our waterlogged, island future by redeveloping Bernal Heights as a fashionable beachfront resort destination.

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Bernal Heights Cameos as Neighbors Produce New “Budding Prospects” TV Show

Oh hey. Bernal neighbors (and wife-husband duo) Melissa Zwigoff (Axelrod) and Terry Zwigoff of Montcalm Street are the executive producers of Budding Prospects, a new television show on Amazon Prime. Naturally, Bernal Heights co-stars in the pilot.

Here’s how Deadline Hollywood describes the show:

Amazon s joining the hot trend of marijuana-themed shows with Budding Prospect, a 1980s comedy from Bad Santa director Terry Zwigoff, which has tapped Will Sasso as one of the leads.

Written by Melissa Axelrod based on the TC Boyle novel of the same name and to be directed by Zwigoff, Budding Prospect is set in 1983 San Francisco. Three hapless city boys move to the country to grow marijuana. Their expectations of the experience being a back-to-the-land, nurturing adventure in a beautiful rustic setting run up against the harsh truth upon their arrival at “The Summer Camp” – a miserably run-down shanty out in the middle of nowhere, where they are bedeviled by rats, snakes, mosquitoes, and harsh, unfriendly growing conditions, noisy neighbors, dangerous locals, and menacing law enforcement.

There are lots of Bernal Heights scenes in the pilot, including some tsk-tsk driving on Bernal Heights Boulevard:

Also, the Bernal Heights Library on Cortland puts on a costume to masquerade as the Mission Police Station:

Bernalwood caught up with Neighbor Melissa for an EXCLUSIVE celebrity interview about the show. She tells Bernalwood:

I wrote Budding Prospects (based on a novel by TC Boyle) and my husband Terry directed. We wanted to work from home, and the book is set in and around the Mission prior to a journey up to Mendocino, so we knew we’d at least get to sleep in our own beds while filming the pilot. We hate leaving the ‘Hill’ for too long! Our last foray into Hollywood kept us there for years and that ain’t happening again.

I wrote Budding Prospects as Melissa Axelrod, my maiden name. I started writing when Terry was working on Bad Santa. I did some uncredited work on that script, then started writing in earnest about 10 years ago.

I wrote a feature that had a lot of interest, Fred Armisen attached as lead, but indie features are so tough to finance I’ve pretty much given up on that seeing the light of day. I did get some work out of it, a couple of jobs writing pilots, but they never made it to TV.

It’s tough to work in the film business and live in SF, but my husband and I love it here. I’ve lived here since ’86 and he’s been here since something like ’72 – we have a cozy set-up: cats, a house we love, people we love …  we never wanted to make the big move to LA. We’re not so ambitious as to give all this up! Budding Prospects is our ideal project, as we plan to set several episodes in SF.

Congrats Neighbors Melissa and Terry!

Budding Prospects is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, and watch the trailer right here.

IMAGES: Screenshots of Bernal Heights, as seen in the pilot episode of Budding Prospects

Bernal Filmmaker Joe Talbot Screens “American Paradise” at Sundance

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Neighbor Joe Talbot, the Bernalese filmmaker behind the much-anticipated “Last Black Man in San Francisco” feature film, took a glamorous detour from that project last weekend to premier a short film at Sundance.

Neighbor Joe’s film is called “American Paradise,” and IndieWire called it one of the “must-see shorts” at Sundance this year:

Joe Talbot’s “American Paradise” brings attention to itself by referencing Trump’s America in its official synopsis: “A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime in this story inspired by true events.”

“I think the film feels especially relevant because of what Trump’s election has brought to the forefront for people,” said Talbot. “But in truth, the actual events took place over five years ago. And what the film deals with is as old as the country itself. Even as a story, when I stumbled upon it, I felt like I had discovered some great lost folk tale. It’s drenched in all of this American symbolism, but it just feels like a bizarre campfire story. That’s part of why we chose to tell it the way we did, as a myth of sorts told by a grandfather to his grandchildren.”

James Brooks plays the weekend fisherman idly narrating the tale of an amateur criminal who is more than clueless. Talbot’s writing talent is this short’s secret weapon, and the narration Brooks provides is practically Coen Brothers-esque.

One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015, San Francisco-native Talbot attended the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab with his soon-to-be-produced debut feature, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” in 2016. “To be returning to Sundance the following year with a movie feels like a dream,” said Talbot.

There are a few more details about “American Paradise” over at Filmmaker Magazine.

Big, glittery, red-carpet congrats to Neighbor Joe and his entire creative team. You can keep up with their work by following “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” on Facebook.

PHOTO: “American Paradise screening at Sundance, via the The Last Black Man in San Francisco Facebook page.

Saturday Night: Watch “Zootopia” in Precita Park

There’s a rather fantastic family movie night happening in Precita Park on Saturday evening for creatures of all ages. Courtesy of SutterHealth CPMC 2020, there will be a free outdoor screening of Zootopia in Precita Park starting at 7 pm on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Our friends at Precita Valley Neighbors tell us:

Get ready for Zootopia!

Grab your blanket and snacks and join us for this great family film at 7pm., Saturday, October 1st.

Movie Night is brought to us by SutterHealth CPMC 2020. The first 250 attendees gets a free (pretty cool) goody bag!

Come out, meet your neighbors, and enjoy the film!

FWIW, your Bernalwood editor took the Cub Reporter to see Zootopoia earlier this year, and we both loved it. It’s  good one!