Building on lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic, Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema has announced the Fall 2021 schedule for its annual film festival.
The challenge was to retain the festival’s traditions in a safe and comfortable environment.
For the past 17 seasons, BHOC has provided free screenings in a neighborhood setting, showcasing a variety of locally produced films by seasoned and well-known filmmakers, as well as new and emerging filmmakers who show promise of more fine works in the future.
On Friday, October 1, the immensely popular South Slope Cinema returns as the venue for Opening Night, allowing the filmgoers to watch short films of all genres from their cars. Sound is broadcast via an FM station on car or portable radios. Admission is free, but capacity is limited and a space must be reserved via Eventbrite beginning 7 days prior to the screening.
South Slope Cinema has also been reserved for the final night of the festival on Friday, October 29. The same rules apply. The Best of Bernal season finale is a culmination, a happy occasion, celebrating the four award-winning films and filmmakers of the 2021 season. It opens with a video presentation of the awards and screening of the award-winning films.
The traditional BHOC screening in Precita Park is scheduled for Saturday, October 2. Filmgoers gather to enjoy a night under the stars as they watch short films of all genres as well as a full-length feature. No reservations are required. But past experience suggests that they prepare for cool weather – they are advised to dress warmly; to bring a picnic, a blanket, and a low-backed folding chair. Audience members are encouraged to wear masks and social distance for the benefit of families with young children.
Small-venue screenings around Bernal Hill will provide a variety of opportunities to see provocative local filmmaking. Co-presenters, including Cine+Mas: San Francisco Latino Film Festival, Citizen Film and BAVC-Next Gen, will present specially curated line-ups. The screenings will be hosted by Bernal Star in their outdoor heated patio and by Secession Art & Design in their workspace and gallery. Once again, the capacity of each venue is limited, and space must be reserved.
Everything is subject to change in accord with public health guidelines and conditions. BHOC is betting that it has built a framework for the festival that preserves its character in unpredictable times.