Valley Film Festival underway today in Livermore

Event features films, specialty lectures

Livermore specializes in science and technology -- and its Livermore Valley Film Festival this weekend takes up the theme.

The event, "Where Science Meets Art," focuses on how science and technology are portrayed in films, with dozens of independent feature films from around the world.

"For a film festival, particularly a new one, to be able to provide such breadth is tremendous," festival director Lynn Monica said. "It allows each filmmaker's entry to be viewed against comparable works and provides a far richer, more enjoyable experience for the audience."

The festival, which runs through Sunday at the Bankhead Theater, includes films picked for the festival from Pakistan, Australia, Iran, Sweden, Germany and Japan. About half of the American films are by California filmmakers, many of them based in the Bay Area.

There are more short films than feature length, but the categories are equally represented, including documentary, narrative fiction, science/technology/innovation, social/health/disability and student submissions. Each takes a different approach in exploring how film and art intersect.

One of the feature films is "Cesium and a Tokyo Girl," an adventure fantasy from Japan that tells of Mimi and the seven gods who go in search of her grandmother's myna bird, Hakushi. Another feature film, the documentary "A Beautiful Equation," follows eight grandmothers as they rehearse for and perform a unique presentation about two renowned physicists, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

The many short films to be screened range from "KIRK," a film portrait celebrating the art in motion of Bay Area kinetic sculptor Jerome Kirk, to the comic French short "The Right Person for the Job," an entry in the category of social/health/disability issues.

The film festival also offers three sessions by professional filmmakers, for $10 each:

* "Scoring the Muse: The Power of Music in Film," a lecture by Joseph Julian Gonzalez about the power of music in film;

* "Independent Film -- From Concept to Completion," a workshop with a panel of five local filmmakers who will focus on all aspects of creating an independent film; and

* "Elements of Filmmaking -- Creating Compelling Stories and Characters," five Bay Area filmmakers discussing their experiences bringing to life characters and stories that capture the audience's imagination.

"These are wonderful opportunities to engage in discussions with other filmmakers and learn more about the art and science of filmmaking," festival director Monica said.

The festival will close with an awards celebration for all categories Sunday night.

For a list of films, daily schedules, ticket information and festival passes, visit To purchase tickets, go to

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