Oceanside International Film Festival opens with world premiere
Founded 12 years ago, OIFF showcases shorts, documentaries and feature films from around the globe. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the festival opens with the world premiere of "I Am Alright," a documentary that explores of the challenges of surviving in the music industry through the story of indie rockers The Silent Comedy.
The film looks back with hindsight at the band’s journey from an experimental side-project, through years of international touring, to its struggle with industry pressures. The film's focus on music reflects the personality of the festival and its executive director Lou Niles.
"I've got so many years in the music business in San Diego, in L.A., and a long history with local music," Niles said. "So it's really exciting to present the world premiere of a film called 'I Am Alright,' which has a lot to do with mental wellbeing and the pressures of the music business, featuring a local legendary band called The Silent Comedy. The drummer lives and works in Oceanside."
The film also taps into another of Niles' interests. In addition to running the festival, he has a full time job as a sustainability and health and wellness expert advising architects and engineers on how to build spaces that are better for people and the planet. So mental wellbeing is an important topic, and the film explores one band member's mental breakdown.
"The fact that years ago when they broke up and nobody heard why, it wasn't okay really to talk about mental wellbeing," Niles said. "And why they might never get a record deal again if they said, 'Hey, the pressures melted me down.' But now with more open talk about mental wellbeing, it's really nice to be able to tell that story and be open and honest about what happened and what the future holds now that everything has gotten better for them."
The Tuesday night screening will be followed by a Q&A and then The Silent Comedy will perform some songs semi-acoustically with special local guests.
In addition to music, the festival enjoys highlighting films about surfing and skating.
"We've got a great full night of surf on Friday that starts with one session headlined by 'Sweet Adventure,' which is an incredibly innovative surf film with three shorts before it," Niles said. "And 'Big Wave Guardians' [also on Friday] is just an amazing, epic surf film about the people that guard the North Shore and protect people's lives in some of the most dangerous waves of the world."
Historic theater as home base
San Diego just saw the sale of the Ken Cinema and loss of it as a single screen venue, but OIFF is fortunate to have a single screen, historic theater for its venue in Oceanside.
"We're lucky here in Oceanside to have theaters like the Brooks Theater [the festival's home base],and the Oceanside Theater Company performing arts organization, the Star Theater," Niles said. "The Brooks is a historic and intimate environment. The Star, a little bit bigger. They both have traditional movie marquees so that's super exciting to have the Oceanside International Film Festival name up there. We like to support the community's historic theaters and have everybody come to the theater, get that experience, have the Q&A, mingle with the filmmakers, the cast and crew, and just enjoy films from all over the world and in fact, a lot of local filmmakers, too."
Wednesday night's feature film is "Publish or Perish," a dark comedy about a professor trying to secure tenure and then he accidentally kills a student.
Then on Thursday night it is a documentary called "Jack Has a Plan" about a man with a terminal brain tumor who wants to film his final days.
"He wants to end his life at a certain point," Niles explained. "So it's kind of a fascinating story. It's a lot more uplifting and amazing than you might think from that type of storyline. We'll have a Q&A after that with some end of life discussion."
The Oceanside International Film Festival runs tomorrow through Saturday at the Brooks Theater in Oceanside