The indies strike back

Sacramento used to have a pretty big indie-film-watching scene. Some would argue it still does. But I'll never forget how five years ago I could go see quirky films at Movies on a Big Screen at the Guild Theater every month, or go see new indie flicks at the Crest every weekend. While those two aren't possible anymore, there's still the Tower Theater, small groups of people bringing important films to town and a bunch of great film festivals. Plus, if you look around this week, a handful of indie films (and some throwbacks) seem to have come back.

An event on Friday, July 24, at the General Gomez Arts and Events Center (808 Lincoln Way in Auburn) is more like a conversation about film, but there are also a few sneak peaks at an upcoming indie documentary called When Johnny Played with the Dark Side. It's about some of the original LucasFilm artists, and features guest speakers Frank Ordaz (who's from Auburn), plus filmmaker Anthony Thaxton and Star Wars visual effects model maker Steve Gawley. The event starts at 7 p.m. and tickets ($11) are available at

New Belgium Brewing's Clips & Beer Film Tour ( also rolls into town on Friday, July 24. It's a chance for people to watch films outdoors for free while sampling up to 17 varieties of New Belgium brews ($1.50 per 3-ounce sample, or $6 for a 12-ounce beer). Food vendors on hand will include Hot Italian, Rivers Edge Cafe and Hogs, Horns and Hens Barbecue. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and the 20 short films start rolling at 9 p.m. in Southside Park, 2115 Sixth Street. Proceeds benefit Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates and bikes are encouraged.

If you're into throwback films, the Crest Theater (1013 K Street) hosts a Back to the Future 2 and Back to the Future 3 double feature at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 26. Get there early at 6 p.m. for a performance by local band Black to the Future and a costume contest. Tickets are $10-$13 and can be purchased at

The Sacramento Horror Film Festival will also be screening a throwback double feature of Labyrinth and The Crow at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, at the Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Boulevard. It'll feature “special tribute performances” by Shadow Circus Theatre, Mone't Ha-Sidi, Deaja Girl on Fire, Jenna Jezebel and Croalia. Purchase tickets at