Coates Promotes The Bay Area Theatrical Release of STATES OF GRACE January 5-12

Coates Promotes the January 5th-12th Theatrical Release of STATES OF GRACE

When friends visit me from the Midwest I take them for a vegetarian meal at Green’s Restaurant at Fort Mason in San Francisco for a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge in a calm setting and if they are up for it a post-prandial walk from the Marina’s fort to the other fort at the base of the bridge.

The San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm grows the produce the creative cooks prepare.
Fu Schroeder, an ordained Buddhist priest is the director of the farm and lives in Green Gulch in Marin County with her partner Dr. Grace Dammann and the daughter they adopted as a baby born in a severe health crisis and who is now in college.

Dr. Dammann was an early responder to the health crisis of the AIDS epidemic when it first hit San Francisco and served as a doctor to those living and dying from the disease when no one knew what it was. The Dalai Lama recognized and honored her compassionate medical practice.

Her Buddhist practice came to matter a great deal when she came into her own health crisis emergency.
Dr. Dammann was crushed in her car in a head on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. She survived the accident but this film is about the years of coma, multiple major surgeries, extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation before she was able to return to medical practice.

Filmmakers Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman and their editor Kenji Yamamoto tell the story of grace: the woman so named, the web of friends especially Fu and the medical teams and aids who incarnate the practice of grace in their dedication to Dr. Dammann’s well being.

Grace will attend some of the theatrical screenings. She will also attend the January 11 ribbon cutting for a new barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent what happened to her happening ever again to another.

“Havana Curve Ball” Crosses Home Plate In Havana Most Serendipitously

I had the pleasure of working on not one but two Bay Area documentaries about acts of diplomacy as mitzvah where Bay Area Americans brought material aid in baseball equipment to embargoed Cuba.

These films are Eugene Corr’s “From Ghost Town to Havana” and Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider’s “Havana Curve Ball”. Both of them I color-finished in Final Cut Pro, by the way.

The latter named film just happened to be screened in Havana  at the U.S. Interest Section headquarters  the same day President Obama announced the normalization of relations between the two countries after a half century of Cold War hostilities.

We call that “Documentary Gold” in my circle of friends.

Here is an article about the event written by Leah Garchik of the San Francisco Chronicle who in my personal history was a fellow member of the Haight Ashbury Group 80 chapter of Amnesty International where we wrote letters on occasion calling for the release of Cuban political prisoners. Part of the new engagement includes the release of some political prisoners. It makes a good first inning in a whole new game of Beisbol.

Our Man in Havana: Ken Schneider

In Memory of Bill Caldwell

I met Bill Caldwell in 1977 at San Francisco State University Department of Cinema.
We became filmmaking partners in a larger group of friends our senior year in college.
Our mutual project was a noble failure (mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) but Bill and some of the other comrades nobly supplied film in it that was of great use to the American Indian Movement in their resistance to uranium mining on their native land.

We all parted but  a few years later in the 1980s Bill and I resumed contact. He had married a lovely woman whose excellent taste in clothes draped Bill in dapper dash chic and my former scruffy hippie pal then wore a new coat of polish well.

Bill needed work and I put him into a job with me at Diner+Allied, he a videotape operator. He continued to pursue his true talent for photography and was my wedding photographer in 1989.

Bill over the years took many fine pictures, from his time in the military in Germany in the Vietnam era where he photographed rock and roll shows to later in his career when he made panoramic prints for Oakland corporate clients including the Oakland A’s.

He published a Photo Directory book with links to photography resources in the Bay Area, much analogous to the San Francisco Reel Directory.

Bill died Oct 17 at 11PM, on the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Semper fi, charming Billy.

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 2014: Showcase for Bay Area Documentaries

The 37th Mill Valley Film Festival opens October 2 and tickets are selling now and some shows are going fast.

Mill Valley is a true friend to the Bay Area documentary filmmaker and this year offers a few of my clients in the Valley of The Docs and The Active Cinema series.

These include:


Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman  | STATES OF GRACE

Suzanne LaFetra and David Collier | F R E E 



Barrett Edmonds | AHH SAN FRANCISCO

See you in the movies in Mill Valley.

FOOD FORWARD Series on PBS showcases Bay Area Post Production

FOOD FORWARD has begun to air its new season on PBS.
The 13 part series employed several Bay Area post production professionals for editorial, animation, sound mix, online conforming, and I was in on the color finish.

The first two episodes about sustainable fishing and meat production can be found online at the link provided above.
This week episode three about SEEDS explores the controversy of genetic modification and highlights a public library’s role in distribution and preservation of poly-cultural seed variety.

Future episodes explore food harvested in the wild from mushrooms to roadkill, creative water management by farmers in drought times, modern dairy practices including raw milk and artisanal cheese and ice cream making, and cooking insects as a protein source for the planet’s human masses.

KQED broadcasts Thursday evenings at 11PM.
Consult your local listings.