I had a front row seat (how lucky was that?!) for this premiere of FOG CITY MAVERICKS at the Castro Theatre, Sunday night.
A loud cry of “Omigod!” broke through the applause and screams from the audience when the filmmakers profiled in the documentary Fog City Mavericks, an inspiring chronicle of the San Francisco film scene, rose to the stage. George Lucas, Saul Zaentz, Walter Murch, Peter Coyote, Chris Columbus, John Lasseter, Robin Williams and others appeared with Mavericks director Gary Leva.
Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi returned to her home district to catch the screening. Film legend Saul Zaentz speaks with the Speaker. Nancy Pelosi arrived at the Castro Theatre to support the SFIFF50 "Cinema by the Bay" programming. (Photo by Tommy Lau)
It was an emotionally charged event; the audience cheered every time local filmmakers received their Oscars or their films won big at the box office, in spite of gloomy predictions by the Hollywood studio bosses. Gary Leva was impressed by the heartfelt responses of the audience. “I don’t think the film will play this way in Hollywood,” he joked. During the Q&A, the guests were asked to offer some advice to young filmmakers. George Lucas recommended being persistent; John Lasseter said not to get caught up in technology and forget about the story. Chris Columbus advised young filmmakers to stay hungry and determined to do better work. He can relate; as one of the youngest of the Mavericks crowd, Columbus admitted that being in a film with Lucas, Spielberg and Coppola “was really scary.”
A fantastic chronicle of the history of cinema and also the very cultural life of San Francisco was unreeled, starting with the amazing story of Eadward Muybridge, who worked in America for 40 years, photographing the Pacific Railway, Yosemite, Panama & Guatemala as well as a terrific series of panoramas of San Francisco. It was his series of photographs of a galloping horse to show that, at any one time, all four legs were off the ground, which led to further work in photographing movement, anticipating film. It's also from his revealing images of the galloping horse where the 24 frames per second became the standard which holds until even today for all 35mm film.