It’s one of those freaky warm San Francisco nights.
Perfect mood for the SF Indie Doc Festival. IndieFest calls this annual event a film festival that provides a manageable amount of the truth.
Devoted to all things documentary cinema for 15 years, they promise and deliver two weeks of the most weird and wonderful aspects of real life.
The Non-Fiction Vanguard Award was presented to Sean Dunne, followed by a selection of his films.
Man, does he have radar for quirky characters.
Here’s his favorite:
MAN IN VAN
Homeless? No way man, just on wheels, married 14 yrs, tried to buy his house from the wife, his lawyer made a bad deal, he couldn’t afford a storage unit, so has lost all earthly possessions.
Every day it’s get up, walk dogs, hang out, talk to friends, come back to gentleman’s club. (dive bar).
The man’s van is hoarder mayhem.
He believes one should wake up with something to look forward to.
I guess that would be hawking the scrap metal on his roof. So what’s the hardest part of living this lifestyle? It’s not having a bathroom in the middle of the night.
Good to have hope.
And so we meet Rocky, the gravely voiced king of bowling hustlers.
It beats working. Need rent paid? Play to pay.
Paid a lot of girls rents, (ha ha).
So here’s how the hustle goes down.
Make people think they have an edge. Partner with the bartender and pop down Jack & Coke, only you know it’s just Coke.
Mr motor mouth weaves in and out of drug, scam, women, escapes, with no room for interjection.
There was the time he ducked out of a losing scam via the classic bathroom window trick.
Meanwhile, at a Staten Island home, we meet Rocky’s ma and grandma. Characters, the whole lot of them.
Mom casually dropped “one of the fathers” into a sentence. Grandma listens to all the crazy stories and says, “isn’t it nice you have such good memories”.
Ba da bing.
Paul is holding up a weird looking 45rpm record. Apparently, It is the first flat record. Made in 1881, “who knows what it’s worth now”.
“How can something that old not be worth a lot”?
And Paul has the largest collection of vinyl in the world.
His 1948-1966 records come with lots of facts and figures.
Only 17% are available on CD, 83% are seen nowhere else.
So Paul used to be a traveling salesman, started collecting and trading for years.
Hi kept coming home with more records, 60,000 in fact. That basement stash was evicted, hence was born Record Rama.
Paul keeps one copy of every album, that’s why he calls it an archive.
Sadly, in 2008, Record Rama forced to close. Oh, by the way, Paul is 69 years old, diabetic and blind.
“The world is dead out there, world is closed, will take 20 years for people to realize music is 100 times better on vinyl.”
“It’s a shame, breaks my heart.”
Paul gave his life to his collection, current asking price $3 million, no takers.
Looking at the camera, he is asked, “why so many fights”?
“Why, because I liked it.
I tell you what, you might be a big dude, but right there is where my mama got killed at.” Okay??
Just like The Bowler, this man reveals one of his better scams.
First, he sends a woman to a “blood bucket” bar in short shorts, revealing shirt, goes in and flirts up a storm with some random guy. Then Florida man bursts in, incensed, with brass knuckles and license to maim.
We meet an assortment of scary guys on the street with stories about The Lord Jesus, panhandling, working, not working, handouts and hijinks.
The liquor store guy declares half of his customers arrive on foot or peddling bicycles because they have DUIs.
Dunn’s signature scene of uncomfortable closeups, giving you time to take in all those stories of real live humans being vulnerable, and often funny.
Says the dude at the dumpster, “It’s a circle, we are surrounded by stardust, we go out in stardust. ”
The San Francisco Indie Doc Festival
runs day and night
Sean Dunne’s website: http://www.veryape.tv
Saving the best for last….
The SundanceNow Doc Club are sponsors of the festival.
Seriously, check out the Doc Club. It’s Netflix for Documentary lovers, curated by the likes of Ira Glass and Susan Sarrandon.
Doc Club gives you a couple of weeks free, and once you are immediately hooked on 24/7 access, signing up is $6.99/mo, or $4.99/mo with an annual subscription.