.5 Top Picks for the Santa Cruz Film Festival

Rise: The Story of Augustines isn’t the only music documentary worth checking out at this year’s film festival; there are more than at any SCFF I can remember (Up to Snuff, Calm Before … The Rising Storm, Si-G, and I Can Only Be Mary Lane, to name a few).

Of course, true to the festival’s patented eclecticism, there are interesting films across a range of genres and subject matter. Here are five you shouldn’t miss at the SCFF, which runs Oct. 3-7. You can find more info at santacruzfilmfestival.org.

At Capacity

A collective of 19 UCSC students put together this sobering look at the housing crisis in Santa Cruz from a myriad of angles, including the campaign for rent control, the tiny home trend, and the controversy over homeless encampments. 73 minutes. Thursday, Oct. 4, 2:30 p.m., Hotel Paradox Ballroom; Saturday, Oct. 6, noon, Colligan Theater.


American audiences know Mathieu Amalric as an actor, for his roles in films such as Munich, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Quantum of Solace (in which he played Bond villain Dominic Greene). But in France, he’s put together quite a career as a filmmaker, winning Best Director at Cannes for On Tour in 2010, and acclaim for his 2014 erotic thriller The Blue Room. He wrote, directed and stars in his latest, Barbara, which also features Jeanne Balibar as an actress taking on a biopic of a famous French singer. As she becomes increasingly obsessed with the role, Amalric as her director also seems strangely possessed by their project. 98 minutes. Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., Corridor Theater.  

Dark Money

Forget Russian interference—this Sundance award-winning documentary, the opening film of the SCFF, couldn’t be more timely in its examination of how Americans are allowing untraceable corporations to buy and sell elections right here at home. The filmmakers will attend. 99 minutes. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m. at Colligan Theater, with an opening night party at Hotel Paradox after the screening.

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Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax Records!

In the ’80s and ‘90s, the Wax Trax label out of Chicago kept misfit kids everywhere entertained with some of the wildest and most out-there industrial and dark-dance bands around. This documentary tells the story of the label that raised Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, KMFDM and so many more. Director Julia Nash and former Dead Kennedys/LARD frontman Jello Biafra, who’s featured in the film, will attend. 95 minutes. Saturday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m., Colligan Theater; Sunday, Oct. 7, non, Courtyard Theater.

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

The world lost a literary genius when Ursula K. Le Guin died in January. This new documentary from director Arwin Curry is a wonderful, thoroughly engrossing look not only at Le Guin’s legacy in literature, but also at the beauty and potential she saw within the science fiction genre that allowed her to revolutionize it. 67 minutes. Saturday, Oct. 6, 4:45 p.m., Colligan Theater; Sunday, Oct. 7, noon, Corridor Theater.


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