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FOFF Programs

Feb 19, 2011: 8:00pm
Oddball Films
275 Capp Street
San Francisco

On the Job: How We Earn Our Daily Bread
in the series Oddball Ephemera
Let us take pause to pay all the working men, women, and children their audiovisual due. The folks who fix our fractures, file our files, fish our food, feed our faces, vend our vehicles, and man our moonshots get their moment in the spotlight in this stellar selection of 16mm shorts. After visiting with the unemployed, the newly employed, and the self-employed, we'll pick up job skills both widely applicable and highly specialized. Finally, a series of film-portraits takes us into the workaday lives of ordinary people and some very colorful entrepreneurs as they let their guard down before the all-seeing camera eye.
Your New Job (1972) by Quentin Masters 11.5 min. Color 16mm
A new job is a world of strange faces, unknown customs and frightening cubicles. The signpost up ahead: Personnel Office. As if the anxiety expressed by the film's new-on-the-job twentysomethings wasn't enough, a generous dollop of dread is added by Rod Serling's signature voice over. Really, it's going to be okay.
Get a Job (1985) by Brad Caslor 11 min. Color 16mm
Bob the Dog has no job, and the neighborhood roughs won't stop hounding him about it. Even his own wife won't give him any respect. As the doo-wop soundtrack spells out, Bob needs to GET A JOB. This National Film Board production sports an underground animation style and a rock'n'roll nightmare vision of the quest for employment.
Franchise Opportunities (1970) by Lee R. Bobker 11 min. Color 16mm
Being one's own boss may look a bit easier with a franchise, but our hero knows the real score. He's done his research, because energy, enthusiasm and a great wardrobe aren't enough on their own. This funky little film doesn't "soft serve" the hard work involved in opening a Carvel Ice Cream store.
About Astronauts (1972) 11 min. Color 16mm
Remember when astronauts were the rock stars of a generation that gazed upwards and outwards rather than down at a cellphone? A kid with cosmic aspirations takes us through their mundane training regimens, performing simulated spacewalks on terra firma and mastering fantastic gadgetry and instrumentation. A sweet film with a surprise at the end.
I Can Be a Hospital Worker (1974) by Jim Burroughs and Stelios Roccos 11 min. Color 16mm
To describe this entry in the When I Grow Up... series as a survey of hospital jobs, from the OR down to the laundry room, is to completely miss what makes it the most heartwarmingly charming film you'll see all year. Just another pitch-perfect setting of lovingly photographed humanity to a whimsical ditty from the gang at ACI Films. The hospital: the happiest place on Earth.
Rush Hour Service (1971) 10 min. Color 16mm
Ostensibly this may be a primer on efficiency for lunchroom servers, but its military metaphors and rapid-fire cliches evoke a hash-slinger's version of The Longest Day. Keep the ketchup stocked and make sure you have a pen that writes--it'll save you two minutes.
Trader Vic's Used Cars (1975) by Charles Braverman 10 min. Color 16mm
For used car dealer Victor Snyder, "customer relations are everything." On his modest Southern California lot, his mostly working class clientele can count on more than just a fair deal. Vic's folksy sales techiques may seem quaint, but Braverman's portrait is a refreshing look at a dying breed of small businessman.
Shrimping's Not a Real Good Life (1972) 5 min. Color 16mm
An elegiac portrait of a lad born for better or worse into the hardscrabble family seafaring trade. Wizened beyond his years, our young subject diligently trims his sails and works his nets, all the while evincing a resigned world-weariness.
Jerry's Restaurant (1976) by Tom Palazzolo 9 min. Color 16mm
Crackpot Chicago deli owner Jerry Meyers turns customer service on its head, berating and browbeating his patrons into submission. Amazingly, it works: his loyal customer base keeps coming back for more. They know that, deep down, he likes people.