Films

IN THE WAKE OF GHOST SHIP

2017, 21 minutes

Last December, Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse fire claimed 36 lives, the nation’s deadliest fire in over a decade. It also set off a wave of scrutiny of live/work spaces across the country. Seven miles from Ghost Ship, a legendary punk collective called Burnt Ramen is fighting back against sudden eviction. In the Wake of Ghost Ship won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Film at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival.


SAWDUST AND SAND: DOUGLAS MILLER’S LAGUNA BEACH

2014, 31 minutes

In 1970, just home from the Vietnam War, young Douglas Miller drifted into Laguna Beach, CA. A Navy ship painter by trade, he fell in with a group of artists, and they soon founded the Sawdust art collective. Since then, he has painted 15,000 canvases and taken 350,000 photographs of his adopted hometown—a roll a day for 45 years. While local residents often considered his camera with curiosity and even suspicion, this documentary shows his enormous body of work to present a profound portrait of a Californian town and its people. Sawdust and Sand is an irreverent look at the world through an eccentric artist's eye, as the landscape of his hometown turns from free-spirited art colony to exclusive wealthy enclave.



AMERICAN/SANDINISTA

2008, 31 minutes

In the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, a bloody civil war between the socialist-influenced Sandinistas and U.S.- backed Contras ravaged Nicaragua. Despite the danger, thousands of Americans disobeyed White House warnings and descended upon the Central American nation, determined to lend their skills and labor to the revolutionary Sandinista cause. Using an eclectic mixture of rare archival footage, arresting still photography, and contemporary interviews, American/Sandinista tells the story of a small group of controversial U.S. engineers who went further than anyone expected, and paid the ultimate price.


MY BROTHER THE CHRISTIAN

2007, 27 minutes

A documentary made as part of the "News 21" Initiative of the Carnegie and Knight Foundations, focused on religion in America. A secular guy from ultra-liberal Northern California (that's me) journeys to Florida to spend seven days with his devout brother Joey and his young family. They go to church together for the first time in decades, and find that it's not like it was when they were kids. Will the brothers continue to avoid the subject of their different religious beliefs? Will they finally come to spiritual terms? Or will they just work it out through video games and dirt bikes, as they have done since they were kids....



TONGUES OF STONE

2006, 41 minutes

This documentary tells the strange story of rock'n'roll in Argentina, and specifically how the Rolling Stones shaped a generation of Spanish-language “rocanrol.” The Stones themselves have conceded that they are more popular in that country than anywhere else in the world, which is even more strange considering they didn't arrive in Buenos Aires until 1995—twenty years into their career. But that didn't stop two generations of "rolingas" from sporting the Stones' trademark tongue and starting their own Stones-themed bands, bars, soccer clubs, restaurants, and dance moves.


OAKLAND RAIDER PARKING LOT

2005, 23 minutes

As Gertrude Stein once wrote of Oakland, "There's no there there." That was before the Raider came to town. Oakland is often portrayed in the media as a lawless and violent place, and the Raider Nation is fingered as a major part of the problem. But as this documentary reveals, beyond the eye of mainstream media, the Raider fans prove to be a familial, loving, and even sentimental bunch. With rich and poor; young and old; white, black and Hispanic fans creatively sharing the tailgate experience, the Oakland Coliseum parking lot may be the only integrated and peaceful place in the dangerous and depressed city of Oakland. Premiered at San Francisco Independent Film Fest 2005.



FRIDGE

2004, 12 minutes

Does anybody write poetry anymore? Not really. Can they be forced to? Maybe. Brian L. Perkins and Jason Blalock hit the streets with possibly the last poetic canvas--the refrigerator--and invite passersby to express themselves with fridge magnets that cover the inoperative Maytag. The results are at times funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always poetic. This short experimental doc is available from educational films distributors Films.com, who own the rights through 2012.


SPANGLED

2002, 22 minutes

It is a tradition that every American sports event is preceded by the national anthem. But who sings it? How are they chosen? Did they get to center court by pure love of country, or pure desire for fame and fortune? Spangled documents the open auditions to sing before the Portland Trailblazers basketball games—regularly attended by 15,000 spectators ready to hiss and boo at the first flat note. The film follows two competitors through the competitive process, ending with a bizarre act of patriotic spontaneity. Spangled paints a portrait of American singers as diverse as the country itself—in age, gender, race and yes, talent.



HIGH ROCKS

1999, 19 minutes

There is a swimming hole on the Willamette River, just outside of Portland, Oregon, where a strange mix of high school kids, homeless people, tweakers, and amateur divers gather every summer. A portrait of the summer of 1998 at High Rocks, featuring the legendary volunteer lifeguard, professional hobo, and nude diver "Taz." Filmed in 1998, High Rocks premiered at the New York Underground Film Fest in 2000, and has played around the world since.


HIGH ROCKS II

2008, 7 minutes

A follow-up to High Rocks, find out what happened to Oregon’s most controversial swimming hole ten years later.