San Francisco Stories (2021)

Five talented San Francisco-based filmmakers (Scotty Cornfield, Donna Mae Foronda, Tony Jonick, Alisha McCutcheon and Dana Moe) have come together to create five interconnected stories about the city, a place that the filmmakers describe as “a city of dreamers and immigrants, of old gold money, and new tech schemes, of people living under tarps by the side of the road, and young artists finding new neighborhoods, of bridges to the past and future.”

Narrated by Peter Coyote (who movies from New York City to Iowa to the city this movie takes place in, getting his masters at San Francisco State University and starting so many artistic programs; he also sings over the closing credits), the main narrative of this movie is how newcomer Nina (Linnae Dosumu-Johnson) discovers the town — and how to ride a bike — from her friend Mikey (Robert Henningsen), who takes her through the many neighborhoods, meeting outsider homeless artist Plato (Chris Marsol), a depressed performance artist named Andy (Carlos Flores, Jr.), art dealer Grace (Bettina Devin), his workaholic public defender cousin Marwan (Alessandro Garcia) and a couple who has just met on a dating app, Connie (Adrienne Marie Thomas) and Adam (Tony Gapastione). There’s also Mel (Andrea Martzipan, her famous author grandfather Ulee (Bert Van Aalsburg), her refugee roommate Saadi (Nicole Azalee Danielle) and Saadi’s daughter Zarah (Poppy Sanchez), all of whose stories move and flow together until things end up at a farmer’s market, which is, one assumes, a very San Francisco way to achieve an ending.

The movie is an anthology film with five interlocking stories, which was shot as five individual short films because the directors all belong to a short-film creating co-op. Actors returned several times to reprise their roles from previous films, which makes this flow pretty well, despite how it was made. If you enjoy Altman-esque movies that bring together multiple lives into one narrative, then you’ll definitely find something to enjoy here.

San Francisco Stories is now available on demand. You can learn more on the official site

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