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Almanac

Arts & Entertainment - June 26, 2013

Film forum features diverse fare

by Sam Borsos

From human trafficking, to Internet romance, to Jeremy Lin's journey to the NBA, the fourth annual Windrider Film Forum in Atherton will screen a diverse group of six films between Thursday, June 27, and Saturday, June 29, at the Performing Arts Center at Menlo-Atherton High School.

The forum will show three full-length and three short films intended to not only entertain the audience, but to reflect on issues raised by each film. The documentary "Linsanity" will be shown on Saturday, June 29. (Tickets are sold out, organizers say.) It tells the story of Jeremy Lin, a 2006 graduate of Palo Alto High School, whose fame skyrocketed in February 2012 when he was given the opportunity to play starting point guard for the New York Knicks.

"This is such a feel-good film at a time when people are really hungry for good news," said Terri Bullock of Atherton, co-founder of the Windrider Film Forum. "It's not just a story of a basketball superstar. It's universal — everyone has some sort of a dream. Maybe your dream is basketball, maybe your dream is to create the next Facebook, maybe your dream is to cure cancer."

The "Linsanity" film, she said, was recently purchased by a distributor, meaning it will be shown in theaters sometime this year. The film screened at both the Sundance Film Festival and the South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals this year.

The other full-length films are "Not That Funny," a love story that stars Tony Hale (who plays Buster on the show "Arrested Development") and "Trashdance," which sheds light on the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." In "Trashdance," to be shown on the second night of the forum, a choreographer changes lives in a community with a dance performance involving two dozen trash collectors and their trucks.

"You leave that film and want to say 'Hi' to your garbage men and recognize them as an important part of the community," said Ms. Bullock.

The three short films cover a range of topics, such as Internet romance presented in "Love Hacking," and the story of an Iraqi boy who confronts his past from 45 years ago in the film "Thief." The topic of human trafficking appears in the 15-minute short film "Hark," directed by Santa Clara University professor Jonathan Fung.

"My film 'Hark' doesn't provide answers for the viewer," Mr. Fung said. "It takes the viewer on a personal journey and raises questions and breaks stereotypes along the way. I would like the viewer to recognize that human trafficking happens in our backyard and we can all take part in stopping this horrific nightmare for the victims if we choose to."

The Windrider forum gives locals an opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. The films are selected by three founders of the forum who travel to the Sundance, Heartland and Palm Springs film festivals to seek out films and meet with filmmakers.

"Our films tell a story, they tell a point and a message. The audience participates in that journey," said Ms. Bullock.

The complete list of films and show times:

• "Not That Funny," at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27. The director and screenwriter, Lauralee Farrer, will be at the Q&A session.

• "Trashdance," at 7 p.m. Friday, June 28. Producer Andy Garrison, director and choreographer Allison Orr and Ivory Jackson, who appears in the film, will participate in the discussion.

• "Linsanity," at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29. Producer Chris Chen will discuss the film after the showing.

• Three short films at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29: "Hark" (Jonathan Fung, a Santa Clara professor who created the film, will be there to discuss it); "Love Hacking" (Jenni Nelson, a Stanford graduate and Santa Cruz filmmaker, will discuss the film); and "Thief" (filmmaker Julian Higgins will attend the Q&A session following the screening).

The forum takes place at the Performing Arts Center at Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton.

Go to windriderbayarea.org for more information and tickets. For individual shows, tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. A forum pass for all three days of screening is $35 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors.

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