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[whitespace] IMAGEfest
Ruler of the Arctic Sea: Maria Brooks profiles an unsung naval hero in her documentary 'The Odyssey of Captain Healy.'

IMAGEfest honors local directors

By Richard von Busack

THE SECOND THING needed to become an artist--after the will to be one--is a support group. IMAGE (Independent Media Artists Group) is a nonprofit co-op that helps South Bay moviemakers help each other. This year's festival of local films consists of four programs airing March 26-27 in Palo Alto. The festival headliner is Kurt Kuenne's Scrapbook (March 27 at 7pm), the story of a high school student's troubles. Curt (Justin Ulrich, currently starring in The Rage: Carrie 2) is an aspiring actor, the youngest son of a loving, functional family. Unfortunately, he feels dominated by his much more popular older brother, Andy (Eric Balfour). The conflict worsens when Andy steals Curt's girlfriend (Keilie Lefkowitz). In reprisal, the boy joins a gang of young delinquents.

The 25-year-old Kuenne, who was raised in San Jose, does it all: writing, directing and composing the music. Unfortunately, his work shows the limitation of doing it all. His music composition is superior, and he's obviously knowledgeable about the mechanics of filmmaking. Finding scripts, instead of writing his own, will be a step forward for Kuenne, who, whatever the faults of Scrapbook, is a thorough professional. Following the screening of Scrapbook, there will be a reception. It's a chance for local filmmakers to have a look at some of the programs IMAGE offers: monthly networking parties, an online bulletin for casting calls, a catalog of glossies by local actors and monthly live screenplay readings.

Climbing Against the Odds by Steve Michelson, Karen Carlson and Jeanne Rizzo follows the attempt of a dozen women to climb Mt. McKinley as a way of raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund. Some of the climbers were not yet in remission from their cancers; the world premiere of this documentary (March 26 at 8:45pm) will be attended by the filmmakers. Another Alaska-set documentary, The Odyssey of Captain Healy, by Oakland's Maria Brook, chronicles the life of 1890s lawman and ex-slave Mike Healy. Healy, who made a secret of his race, was an agent of what would later be called the Coast Guard. His territory was the 30,000-mile coastline of Alaska. There, he apprehended smugglers, rescued sailors and saved a local nation of Inuits from starvation by personally importing Siberian reindeer. Ultimately, a scandal led to the end of this little-known hero's career. (Shows March 26 at 7pm.)

Saturday's program (at 3pm) features Christa Collins' She Smokes, in which the quarreling couple Toni and Miles try to save their relationship from the injuries done to it by sleeping around. Also on the bill is Deserter, Alex Pearcy's noir tale, set in the late 1940s, about a sailor who has just jumped ship and the prostitute who befriends him.

IMAGEfest takes place Friday (March 26) at 7pm at Spangenberg Theater at Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Rd., Palo Alto; and Saturday (with programs at noon, 3 and 7pm) at Cubberley Auditorium, 400 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. Tickets are $5/$7 per session or $20 for all four sessions. (650/938-9550 or email [email protected].)

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From the March 25-31, 1999 issue of Metro.

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