A total of 29 films, including international offerings, will be the stars at the second Benicia Film Festival. The Labor Day weekend event has more than twice as many films as the inaugural 2014 festival, and films will be shown at three new locations: Commanding Officer’s Quarters, Hayley Horn Auditorium at Benicia High School and the Majestic Theatre. “We wanted the Film Festival to grow,” says Jacquie DuBois, festival committee chair and a member of Benicia’s Arts and Culture Commission. The Film Festival Committee is a subcommittee of the arts commission. “We wanted to have more of a variety of films, which we do, and larger venues.”

Filmmakers from around the world submitted about 70 entries for consideration, DuBois says. Five Benicians, including a filmmaker, a film student and a film professor, made the final selections. International films from Turkey, Australia, Russia, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Spain, plus two films from Benicia High School students, made the final cut.

The film festival fits well with our creative community, says DuBois. “It’s another way of expressing the creative forces out there. We have visual arts in our city, which are wonderful, and we’re adding another layer to the visual arts.”

Benicia filmmaker John Beck presented two feature-length films in 2014 and will show a 20-minute film, Wind, Water, Land, at this year’s festival. “It's really cool to me that people are making the effort to put on a film festival here. It's very grassroots and feels like they are really trying to put on a good film festival. It feels very genuine," Beck says. “It’s always a great chance for people to see films they wouldn’t otherwise see.”

The first film festival attracted about 400 people to see both short and feature-length films. “We learned a lot from the first festival,” says Helaine Bowles, Benicia city staff liaison to the Film Festival Committee. “We learned we needed a better way to get films and we needed to advertise more outside Benicia.” A contact at the Napa Valley Film Festival directed them to withoutabox.com, a website devoted to linking filmmakers with film festivals around the world.

Organizers hope an expanded advertising budget will raise the festival’s profile and attract more people from out of town for a weekend of cinema. “Last year we basically broke even,” Bowles says. “Right now we have sponsors. If we didn’t have sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to put this on. We owe a big thanks to the community for its support.”

Click here for ticket sales and venue location information.

Film Timeline & Synopsis

Friday, September 4, 2015
Commanding Officers Quarters
1 Commandant’s Lane, Benicia CA

7:00-8:00p.m. Films will show continuously

Cosplayer 10 min.

Golden Age, Animated – Filmmaker H. Sercan Tunali, Turkey  – 2 min.
He was Odin’s golden boy, the hero of the village, until that very day…

Victory – Filmmaker Beatriz Soto, Spain – 4.5 min.
The last moments of a man condemned to death. You don’t know who he is or what he has done. You share the anxiety in silence.

Three Knocks – Filmmaker Sam Sandahl, U.S. – 5.3 min.
A troubled young woman’s life is turned upside down when she must contend with a visit from an unexpected visitor.

El Chiflon Waterfalls- Filmmaker Christian Medina, U.S. – 7 min.
A visual study of El Chiflon Waterfalls. Camera work, lighting, scenes and effects are the main characteristics of this short film.

Sunken Canyon – Filmmaker Christian Medina, U.S. – 10 min.
A visual journey into the actual Chiapaneca story of “El Canon del Sumidero” located at Chiapas, Mexico.  According to the legend, the Chiapanecas committed a collective suicide.  They jumped into the Canyon in order to avoid being captured by the invading Spaniards.

Out of Order – 3 min.

Slice and Dice, Animated – Filmmaker Kathy Jo Ryan U.S. – 2.5 min. (Animated)
A watermelon, an onion and a carrot wreak havoc in the fridge of the hungry hand.

Baby Cries – Filmmaker Serge Rocco  U.S. 10 min.
A 40 year old man’s life is turned upside down when his wife tells him she is pregnant.

Petty’s Misadventures- Filmmaker Christabel Savalas U.S. 3.45 min
A day in the life of a hamster with a bad attitude.

Zapper Woman – Filmmaker Vinnie Langdon –U.S. 7 min.
In the City of Ville, an aspiring heroine and her side-kick set out to rid the City of crime.

Saturday, September 5, 2015
Hayley Horn Auditorium at Benicia High School
1101 Military West, Benicia, CA

10:00a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

10:30 Leaping Water – Filmmaker Jacalyn Robinson, U.S. 5 min
Abuse is not always physical, as little 10 year old Tallulah soon learns.

10:40  Fixed – Filmmakers Cody Wilson and Burleigh Smith, Australia 7 min.
Jermimah is a five year old desperate for her dog Tilly to have puppies. When she learns her parents plan to have Tilly, desexed, Jemimah embarks on a quest to get Tilly pregnant.

10:50 Consolation Prize – Filmmaker Todd Kipp, Canada 11 min.
A delusional deadbeat dad living on an inherited wasteland of wrecked cars and trucks tries to connect with his son over a surprise weekend visit.

11:05 Seagulls – Filmmaker Martin Smith, Scotland 11 min.
When a young showman visits a new town he struggles to fit in.  Seagulls follow Ryan as he attempts to bond with a group of local boys.

11:20 Sound/Vision – Filmmaker Jeremiah Kipp, U.S. 13.20 min.
Lost in an unfamiliar world, a quiet Muslim girl meets a disillusioned Jewish pianist and discovers her musical genius through their unexpected friendship.

11:35 OTC Story – 20 min

12:00 Water Bedouin – Filmmakers Yavux Pullukc and Omir Gunes, Turkey 7 min
Central Marshes are a large complex of wetlands that were part of the Tigress and Euphrates rivers.  This beautiful cinematography documents the changes in the lives and culture of the Water Bedouins.

12:10 Getting Something for Mama – Filmmaker George Nixon, U.S. 18 min
This film set in modern times is about an elderly woman who does into a medical supply store and strange things begin to happen.

12:30 – 2:00 Break

2:15 Jes and Lora – Filmmaker, Patrick Duncan, U.S. 12.33 min.
Jes just needs to borrow gas for his car, but the farm girl, Lora ants to find out more about the stranger. The two troubled souls form an unexpected bond while revealing dark secrets on a lonely trail. Featuring songs by Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

2:30 Filmmaker Patrick Duncan discusses his film

2:45 The Alley Cat – Filmmaker Marie Ullrich, USA   65 min.
Jasper, a troubled bike messenger, competes in a night time alley cat race. The race starts giddily, but ends in disaster. We follow Jasper on a spontaneous journey through Chicago.

4:00 Memoirs of a Hip ‘ole Black Man – Filmmaker Ivar Idling, The Netherlands            74 min
This documentary tells the story of American percussionist, Vinx dejon Parette.  Once the only musician athlete in the world, Vinx played with Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones and Sting.  The boycott of the Olympics in 1980 destroyed his Olympic dream.

5:30 – 7:00 Break

7:15 Art of Life- Filmmaker Kyle Holbrook, U.S. 104 min.
Coming of age story about a young man, Chey and a young woman, Cheyanne, who are faced with the pressure of negative influences in their lives, but find art as a way of escaping their problems and find new meaning in their lives

Sunday, September 6
Majestic Theatre
710 First Street, Benicia, CA

12:00 – 5:00

12:30 Wind, Water, Land – Filmmaker John Beck, U.S. 20 min
Documentary on the making of the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission’s first public art piece.

12:55 Tunnel – Filmmaker Billy Cruz, U.S. 10 min
The paths of two strangers, by choice intersect in a tunnel.

1:05 Ballet Dreams – Filmmaker David Manley, U.S. 4 min.
Three young women embark on marvelous passages and wondrous adventures guided by good magic, threatened by evil spells, and rescued, of course, by Prince Charmings.

1:10 Filmmakers John Beck,  Billy Cruz and David Manley will discuss the making of their films

1:20 Rana Plaza – Filmmaker Nozrul Islam Khan 90 min

3:00 Helen Lewis:  A Survivor’s Story – Filmmaker Caroline Friend, U.S. 7 min.
Helen Lewis, a Holocaust survivor shares her story in this documentary about resilience and bravery.  The filmmaker hopes this film leaves people with a sense of hope despite the harsh subject matter.

3:15 Pechorin – Filmmaker Khrushch Roman, Russia 95 min
Based on the Russian Classic “A Hero of Our Time”, the movie follows the events not as they happened but as they are reflected in the mind of the dying hero. Thus making a chain of recollections about the life he had lived