Louie Psihoyos, Gabriel Bellman

Louie Psihoyos, director of Sundance Winner, "The Cove", with SF FFF co-director Gabriel Bellman discussing documentary films before a media event on San Juan Island.

Attribute Magazine

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magazine  review


Winner- Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Fee!!!!

Moviemaker Magazine 2008 Film Festival Edition.














The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival: The Chilliest Little Film Fest Around!


Interview by: Jeffrey Johnson & Written by: Victoria Witchey

FFF.png The wildly popular The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival is an annual event that brings independent filmmakers and music enthusiasts to the San Francisco area from around the world. The festival bills itself as “a collection of razor's edge independent films and bands” and aims “to “give birth to Bay Area Film babies”. It features live music concerts, short films, animation, global features, long and short documentaries, skate films, music documentaries, and music videos.
One of the masterminds behind this event is Gabriel Bellman, who founded the event in 2006 with his lifelong friend, Isaac Schilds. Bellman, who attended film school at USC, was motivated to start the festival after he directed an award-winning film about a circus in Ireland (Duffy’s Irish Circus). After going to many film festivals and enjoying the social and artistic experience he thought to himself, ‘My friends and I should have our own film festival.’ But how did he go from having such an ambitious and abstract idea to actualization? “We got a lot of stuff and figured out what needed to be done to make a festival.” Gabriel explains. “Basically, we just needed a bunch of people to submit stuff to us and a venue tin which to hold it. We had 20 interns who put postings on Myspace and Craigslist all over world.” Bellman and Schilds funded the festival’s first year - they had hotels donate rooms, buildings donate office space, a web designer donate time and even a lawyer donated his time to incorporate into non-profit.

This little startup festival was soon named one of Top 25 Festivals in Moviemaker Magazine. "It was a great surprise and really validated what we're trying to do,” Bellman confides, “We've tried from the beginning to make the experience fun for everybody involved- filmmakers, volunteers, moviegoers. We're in such a magnificent city; we wanted to do it justice, even if it was just starting out on a small scale. It's like San Francisco itself- not the biggest city, but arguably the most beautiful."

But Mr. Bellman doesn’t just view the festival as a means only for the enjoyment of the participants. He sees the festival as a catalyst in the artistic process for filmmakers. "I believe that just providing a forum for artists to send in their work, even if they aren't selected, provides a positive service. Too many people are caught up in the effects of success- the money, fame, lifestyle: What I'm saying is that the creative process itself needs an endpoint: Jackson Pollack could drip paint on the same canvas for 20 years and it wouldn't be a painting until he stopped. The process itself has value, but it has to move forward. With film and music (like all art) there is a tendency to perpetually continue revising, and I wanted to give people somewhere to cut that process off and keep things moving- for their spirit as well as their careers. Finish your film, send it in, and then start on the next one- as an artist, you must continually create.”

Though more and more film festivals are popping up and prospering, there’s no question some viewers are getting their film fix on the ubiquitous YouTube. "You have tons of people making films, but very few of them get to experience the art form as it is meant to be seen- in a theatre. It’s great that people can have access to YouTube, but it’s an incomplete process until he or she sees a film in the theatre. YouTube brings closure to filmmaking—it’s like a baby, but if you only see it on TV and computer screens, the film is like the boy in the bubble. Cinema was meant to overwhelm you. Seeing your film on a big screen for a filmmaker is like wandering out of Plato's cave."

One new addition for this year is the The Frozen Music Festival, a complimenting component to the Film Festival. Running the same weekend, it will spotlight and showcase bands and artists of all genres, ranging from pop to punk, hip hop to funk and cowboys to singer-songwriters. In a unique tandem twist, many of the performers will be contributors to the “Music Video” section of the film festival- giving attendees the chance to screen their music video and then see their live performance afterwards.

This year’s jam-packed festival will take place Friday, July 13 to Sunday, July 15 at the Roxie Theatre, located in San Francisco’s Mission District. Showcasing 50 films including animation, dramatic shorts, comedic shorts, and bundles of mid-to short-documentaries, it’s a whittled down event compared to the 250 films last year. “We went around and talked to a lot of festivals to find out what mistakes we made and one mistake was trying to do too much too soon. Last year, we kind of overextended a bit. This year, it’s going to be short but really tight.” The lineup runs the gamut, exploring Gandhi, the human condition, Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the genre of music known as Nerdcore Hip Hop, the Ivory Coast civil war and cupcakes, to name just a few.

Though there’s certainly a GenX focus, the demographic of attendees and the films are eclectic and diverse, “All the movies are made by and for the GenX generation. We're GenXers, me and Isaac, and our tastes are reflected in the festival,” Gabriel pronounces, “(But) We have good mixture, we have something for everyone. Skate films and music films, urban hipsters. Good mixture of issue based documentaries, narrative shorts and animation. A lot of different subcultures, from hard core thrash metal fans along with people who came to watch the story of a Christian surfer who lost arm and won surf contests. A lot of art students are coming out, too.”

Bellman, who, by day, is an attorney representing tenants rights and working with low-income clients, works tirelessly throughout the year accepting submissions and handling event scheduling and logistics. But don’t let his white collar corporate gig fool you- he’s held an amazing array of jobs; high-school teacher, MTV producer, umbrella salesman, dishwasher, lumber feeder, slam poet, warehouse stacker, opera composer at Juilliard, construction worker in Mexico, SOMA magazine correspondent, and ‘Playboy’ assistant.

Endlessly passionate about filmmaking and the artistic process, he explains why he works so diligently to promote and advance the film festival. “The festival is a place where artists can come to rest on their path towards reflecting, mirroring, and exploding ideas. By sending in a film, celebrating the works of others, and having a good time, you're acknowledging that what you do has value. You're honoring your muse. Art is supposed to be fun- it can be political, unsettling, revolutionary-but those are things that are fun, compared to replacing toner in an office cubicle.” What are the plans for the future of the Frozen Film Festival? Bellman explains, “We hope we can keep doing it well, on a small scale, so we can grow it.”

But why call it ‘The Frozen’ Film Festival? “It comes from that Mark Twain quote ‘the coldest summer I ever spent was my summer in San Francisco’. We took that, and figured- what better way to chill then by watching movies and seeing live music?”




For 2007 Web reports and reviews go


The following article is from the San Francisco Bay
Web site (

REVIEW Sorry, fans of Alive and The Thing! the Frozen Film Festival doesn't include icebound flicks. Instead, the name derives from San Francisco's rep for having the chilliest summers around, and the programming actually encompasses a wide range of indie selections. And chances are it'll be right cozy in the Roxie Film Center during two of the fest's standout docs, both of which have Bay Area interest: Pray for Me: The Jason Jessee Film (July 13, 9 p.m.) and Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal (July 14, 10:10 p.m.). Former pro skateboarder Jessee; also a motorcyclist, gun enthusiast, low rider, artist, and conspiracy theorist; made headlines last year when he was booted from a flight in San Jose for carrying a book with "suicide bomber" written on it. Pray for Me, a cleverly edited, punk rock–infused portrait by Steve Nemsick and David Rogerson, spends time looking back at Jessee's stellar skate career, but it's mostly a study of a man whose singular personality has driven his singular; for better and worse;  life. Similar in structure to the recent American Hardcore and Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, MTV producer Rick Ernst's Get Thrashed takes a chapter-by-chapter look at music's most delightfully brutal genre, with concert footage, still photos, and talking head recollections from an array of groups, including local notables Death Angel and Exodus. Favorite quote, from the late Paul Baloff, former Exodus singer: "Metal rules, and if you don't like it
... die!"

Article URL:
Title: San Francisco Frozen Film Festival

SAN FRANCISCO FROZEN FILM FESTIVAL Thurs/12–Sun/15, $8.50–$9.50. Roxie
Film Center, 3117 and 3125 16th St., SF. (415) 863-1087,

Frozen Film Festival flaunts far-flung fare

Christina Troup, The Examiner
Jul 12, 2007 3:00 AM
The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival’s name is a bit misleading at first. If you’re expecting to catch a hard-hitting expose about Hungry-Man frozen dinners or a documentary about the search for the Abominable Snowman, think again. The City’s reputation for its notoriously chilly climate, which knows no bounds even in the middle of the summer, is essentially the inspiration behind the festival’s namesake. After all, only in San Francisco do the words “frozen” and “summer” go hand-in-hand.
To read the rest of this article, please click on the link below:


May 23, 2007: "Cannes Film Festival invites Frozen Film Festival to
be on the panel 'The Future of Cinema, speaking on gaming and video
convergence. Frozen Film Festival announces a Secondlife presence."

May 6, 2007: "IFilm Announces it will be a sponsor of the Frozen Film
click here to see IFilm's Frozen Film Festival Page:



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