Documentary Haven at The Roxie

This weekend is all about the documentary at the Mission’s own Roxie Theater.

Tomorrow evening the Roxie will be showing Happy Valley, Amir Bar Lev’s searing investigation into the danger of idol worship in sports and American society.

Details and tickets HERE

The Roxie will also bring Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine’s superb documentary Something Ventured back to the screen on December 9th with the directors in attendance. A great introduction to Sillicon Valley and the creation of the tech industry for us all it is worth a viewing and re-viewing.

Details and tickets HERE

Then this Sunday, the Roxie will present Essential SF, a film appreciation event for the film community of this ever changing city featuring filmmakers, writers, distributors and more!

Longstanding as hallowed exhibition space for local film events and the not-so-typical AMC prescribed line-up, the Roxie (to quote their website) “is the oldest continuously operated cinema in the United States, and the second oldest in the world. From its inception in 1909 through the early ‘60s, the Roxie served as a third-string neighborhood cinema.” And yes, at one point it was a porno theatre.

What is special about this theatre is that their fiercely unapologetic programming is not only outside the sphere of Hollywood noise but that they feature urgent, important, and topical films that pertain to San Francisco resident’s daily experience. How often can that be said for Sundance Kabuki or the Metreon?

Not blind to the happenings around them, the programmers at the Roxie have routinely showcased films concerning the relationship to civic education of class warfare, immigration, and the digital age. In the past year the Roxie has played gems such as The Internet’s Own Boy, Rich Hill, and Documented amongst many others. Each tells a singular story that Bay Area audiences interact with every day. Walking out onto 16th St after these screenings one can’t help but see their own city in a new light. It’s not a force fed participation a-la I Am Cuba, but more a perfect setting to engage minds while they find themselves surrounded by the breathing manifestation of the documentaries’ hot issues. This tailored programming is important for those of us who live in the heart of the city. Going to the movies can be an escape but it can also be an enlightening experience that brings us closer to our communities.

The Internet’s Own Boy

The Internet’s Own Boy brings to light the freedoms the digital age can return to us if harnessed for civic means and our duty to demand it. It also brings a human face to the technologically-minded individuals living in the city that this blogger believes are in no way the “enemy”.

Rich Hill

Rich Hill reminds us that the bonds of family, community, pride, poverty and desperation affect us all and urges audiences to respond to their conditions with a greater sense of urgency and understanding.


Documented reminds us that we live in the melting pot and our legacy was built by those who dreamt of the journey, no matter the cost.

Four of the films the Roxie has played in the past calendar year are on the Academy Awards Documentary Feature Shortlist including The Internet’s Own Boy, Life Itself, The Kill Team, and Last Days in Vietnam.

Find the list HERE

The Roxie is also unafraid to play the most challenging films for audiences. A prime example is The Act of Killing, an astounding feat of documentary filmmaking that at first glance was not the most marketable to wide audiences. However, it remains an important film for those who see visual storytelling as a means to assure that the horrors of history do not go unrecognized or forgotten. Brings me back to The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On each time.

NextDoor may be the first way I hear about a protest on 24th St from the comfort of my living room but the Roxie is pulling it’s weight in making sure we have access to creative and civic work on the silver screen.


I’m irate at myself for having missed CitizenFour for as long as I have. Of course I’ve missed countless opportunities to see this film but now it’s just become ridiculous!

Join me, will you, at Opera Plaza Cinemas this week as I begin the plunge into seeing EVERY SINGLE film nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards!