Video: Pride – A Film About An Unlikely Alliance Between Gays and Striking British Miners

Pride” is a new British Film based on a true story about an unlikely alliance between gays and striking Welsh miners. Think 1980 Britain when Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the country. A group of gay activists in London decide to support the striking miners, which was one of the largest mining strikes in the country. The film builds upon hos this unlikely alliance is forged and how it ended up helping the Gay and Lesbian Rights in Britain.And out of this fight was born an unlikely politician, who went to become a Member of Parliament.

The film makes for a fascinating watch and has some fantastic performances. Ben Schnitzer, an American actor, who lives in London essays one of the leading roles and he does such a convincing job with his Irish accent that it is hard to remember that he is an American. And then there is the brilliant performance by Imelda Stauton, who is part of the Welsh mining community.

Stephen Beresford, who wrote the screenplay of “Pride” and Jonathan Blake, who was one of the gay activists, who supported the miners were in San Francisco for a screening of the film. They got a standing ovation for the audience.

We sat down with Beresford and Blake to talk about the film and what inspired them to make the film. We also found out about Blake’s connection to San Francisco.

“Pride” stars Ben Schnitzer, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and others.

The film releases in SF bay area on Sept 26, 2014.

Video: Zoe Elton On Mill Valley Film Festival 2014

Mill Valley Film Festival is one of the last major film festivals of the  year. Organized by the California Film Institute this annual film festival is generally held  in the last quarter of the year in the beautiful town of Mill Valley located a few miles north of San Francisco. This year’s festival runs from Oct 2 through Oct 12, 2014

.We spoke with Zoe Elton, Programming Director of the festival to find out what the highlights of the festivals and what are some of the films we can expect to see this year.

The Homesman” and “Men, Women and Childrean” are the opening night films and “Wild” is the closing night film when Laura Dern will be honored.

Sandwiched between the opening and closing night films is an excellent selection of feature films, shorts, documentaries and seminars and talks about films and filmmaking.


Benedict Cumberbatch at Mill Valley Film Festival?

Is it possible that Benedict Cumberbatch could be at this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival? He recently attended the Toronto Film Festival for the premier of his new film “The Imitation Man.”

This is a true story based on the legendary British mathematician & code breaker Alan Turing.  There is a India connection that the Turings had. Alan Turing’s mother was born in Madras (now Chennai) in India and his  father worked for the Indian Civil Service. And Benedict Cumberbatch has a India connection too. He spent some time in Darjeeling teaching English to Buddhisht monks.

The Imitation Man” is part of this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. I was curious to know if there was a chance that Benedict Cumberbatch may come to the Mill Valley Film Festival. Here is what Zoe Elton, Programming Director of the festival had to say.



Do check back for the full  full interview with Zoe Elton. That is coming up next week.

The Mill Valley Film Festival runs from Oct 2-12, 2014.



Video: Highlights from San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2014

This year’s San Jose Jazz Summerfest ((August 8-10, 2014) was a treat for your ears, eyes and soul. For 3 days I heard all kinds of music from jazz, hot jazz, blues, mambo, salsa, zydeco, gypsy and soul in various venues in downtown San Jose. This was the 25th year of the festival organized by San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.

Here are highlights from San Jose Jazz Summeriest.  Come, take a quick tour of the festival.

Video: This Ain’t No Mouse Music. But, What Is Mouse Music?

This Ain’t No Mouse Music”  is a new documentary about Chris Strachwitz by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling. The filmmakers have known Strachwitz for many years. Strachwitz is a San Francisco bay area resident and an icon in the world of music. 

This Ain’t No Mouse Music” traces the journey of Strachwitz’s obsession with finding and recording blues, zydeco and roots music in America, especially from the South. We see how he tirelessly and patiently travels to different parts of the country in search of music that is yet to be discovered. And when he finds that new music you should see the utter joy in his face. It is like he won the California SuperLotto!

He is often compared to Alan Lomax, who famously collected recordings of unknown musicians and created a vast repertoire of music. But there is an important difference when folks make that comparison between Strachwitz and Lomax. Strachwitz goes in search of musicians, and records their music. But then he goes one step further – he produces and distributes the music through his Arhoolie Records.

Strachwitz started his record label in 1960. Today it is considered one of the leading labels for blues, zydeco and roots music. Arhoolie Records music has influenced musicians like Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt.

But, what is mouse music? We were curious to find out what it meant and we got answer from the filmmakers and the subject of the documentary. Take a look at this short video, we have a longer interview with the filmmakers and Strachwitz coming up. Don’t  miss watching that one.