Film festivals prepare to take Bay Area by storm

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Sundance season may be in full swing, but the Bay Area has some pretty awesome festivals of its own. Check out these upcoming events for film fanatics, all of which take place January through February.

African Film Festival at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Jan. 17 – Feb. 17)

For one month, the PFA will host the annual African Film Festival. This year’s presentation focuses on current and past African liberation movements, while also boasting a roster rich with women filmmakers. Highlights include Eka Christa Assam’s “Belah,” a short film about gender roles, as well as Judy Kibinge’s  “Something Necessary,” a poignant narrative concerning the civil unrest following the controversial 2007 elections in Kenya. For showtimes and ticket information, check out the website here.

Sketchfest in San Francisco (Jan. 22 – Feb. 8)

Need a few laughs to lessen the burden of spring semester? Check out Sketchfest in San Francisco. The festival, which has been held annually since 2001, is nationally recognized as the mecca for all things comedy. Sketchfest prides itself on its diverse lineup, with a blend of major name headliners, local favorites and even up-and-coming comedy troops. The festival hosts a number of events ranging from panels with NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg to discussions with Bill Nye The Science Guy. There are even Quote-Along movie nights featuring “The Princess Bride.” To see the full list of performers, check out Sketchfest’s website.

SF IndieFest in San Francisco (Feb. 5-19)

Why travel to Utah for Sundance when you can just hop on BART and be thrown into the auteur-centric world of independent film? Created by UC Davis alumnus Jeff Ross in 1998, the festival has grown to accommodate more than 20,000 connoisseurs of fine film and entertainment. Plus, SF IndieFest has an honorable goal: to help independent and Bay Area filmmakers get their message out in a Hollywood-dominated marketplace. For more information, check out the festival website here.

Mostly British Film Festival at Vogue Theater in San Francisco (Feb. 12-22)

Enjoy a nice cuppa while watching these featured films from across the pond. The Mostly British Film Festival, which kicks off its seventh annual run Feb. 12, will combine classic favorites with new releases in its 28-film lineup. Fans of British actor Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange,” “Easy A”) will enjoy the three-day tribute to the star, while others will enjoy British Noir Night and a diverse listing of documentaries from United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. For more information, click here.

Gillian Edevane is the arts editor. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter at @gillianmaee1

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