Fog City Mavericks

Missed the Sopranos. Missed the Warriors Playoff Game 4 (W’s won to go up three games to one against #1 seed Dallas Mavericks). Carol missed her faves, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. Didn”t even think to DVR them. We were at the World Premier of Fog City Mavericks at the Castro.


My Festival day began at the Exploratorium‘s McBean Theater to hand out tickets to the press for the screening of Arrows of Time.

It was only a one hour gig, plus going to the Kabuki for the tickets, taking them to the Exploratorium and getting home (and it was foggy and cold out there). The time at the venue was fun, sitting at a table with the very chatty Jean-Marie and the very quiet Rachel. Three members of the fourth estate showed up, which is very good for a rather small “off-site” event.

But that wasn”t the deal. The Big Deal was at the Castro. All of the principals of the documentary Fog City Mavericks were invited to attend the World Premier, and almost all of them did. Noticeably absent were Francis and Sofia Coppola and Clint Eastwood, but there was more than enough star power to fill our tiny Red Carpet.


I was told to spot limos and block the sidewalk leading to the red carpet as the luminaries arrived, a humble calling, but as Graham Leggat said, “Marcus, you”re cutting an imposing figure tonight.”

“That’s my job,” I replied, dressed in black pants and black leather jacket over a black SFIFF50 tee shirt.

The first to arrive was Robin Williams, and he screwed up the carefully rehearsed pas de deux by stopping at the line of CinePass holders along the building to sign autographs and crack wise. The next was George Lucas and once he was safely on the carpet we got the word that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would be arriving in two minutes and her Secret Service people wanted a human chain to lead her into the building. This was an unexpected treat, all of the Publicity interns were marshaled to the sidewalk.

robin_williams.jpgMeanwhile, two limo buses arrived carrying the rest of the Mavericks; Saul Zaentz, Philip Kaufman, Chris Columbus, Carroll Ballard, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Walter Murch, John Korty, Caleb Deschanel, Matthew Robbins, Bruce Conner, Robert Dalva, Ben Burtt, the Director of the film, Gary Leva and the narrator, Peter Cayote. Of course, just as they crowded the carpet, Nancy Pelosi’s huge, black SUV pulled up at the curb. She couldn”t have been warmer or more charming as she stopped to chat briefly with Graham, waved and paused for the cameras and glided inside. I had my camera turned on in my pocket, but, given my guard duties, couldn”t get it out fast enough, I was milliseconds away from getting the picture. Wow.

The film was wonderful and enlightening. I knew George Lucas was Star Wars, and Capolla was The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, but who knew that Lucas” first distributed film was THX1138, or that Cappola directed Finian’s Rainbow to get enough money to make The Conversation, or that he took The Godfather job to pay off debts encountered in producing THX1138?

I didn”t know who Saul Zaentz was, only the founder and owner of Fantasy Records for 20 years, sold it to make the Oscar winning films One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient. Not to mention Lord of the Rings, The Mosquito Coast and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

All of those guys worked in San Francisco, away from the influence of Hollywood, to make the independent films they wanted to make, the way they wanted to make them. Google any of them and get pages of stuff you didn”t know. Better yet, go see Fog City Mavericks.


In the Q&A after the film, Chris Columbus pleaded for the administration to bring filmmaking back to the city of San Francisco. This film can”t help but further that cause.

Fog City Mavericks, World Premier, USA 2007
Directed by Gary Leva
Distributor Lucasfilm Ltd


One thought on “SFIFF50 DAY FOUR — Sunday

  1. Most men my age know that Lucas’s first film was THX1138 (now the name of the sound technology his and other films use instead of Dolby…), followed by the enormously influential American Graffiti (which inspired the worship of the 50’s, as well as introduced a ton of new young actors to the world) followed by Star Wars…

    …and how many stories can there be of Coppola making and losing lots of money during his career?

    Saul Zaentz is also famous for completely ripping off Credence Clearwater Revival, signing them to a sucker’s contract which said he owned whatever they did whenever they did it in perpetuity or something stupid like that (up to this day, which is why John Fogerty can’t play his songs in concert without paying an onerous royalty), and then milking their music for money for years and years by selling rights to use it to anyone whose check didn’t bounce. Fogerty later wrote the song “Zaentz Can’t Dance” to express his frustration with Zaentz’s seemingy limitless greed.

    The movie sounds interesting, and we will look for it, but it sounds like something that will have only regional distribution…?


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