Documentaries are always a strong point of IndieFest's programming but this year's leader of the pack is clearly Worst in Show. The brisk, hour-long film goes behind the scenes of California's ugly dog competition circuit, that culminates in the extremely popular "World's Ugliest Dog Contest" held annually at Petaluma's Sonoma Marin Fair.
The film's central drama is the rivalry between the 2009 winner, Pabst, a boxer mutt with a charming underbite, and 2002 champ Rascal, a wiry pipsqueak of a thing with a record winning streak, leading up to last summer's big contest.
But much like Christopher Guest's 2000 mockumentary Best in Show, local filmmakers John Beck and Don Lewis clearly understand that the real stars of the show are the dog's owners as much as their uncomely pooches.
"When the winner is announced ever year that dog's image goes around the world but no one ever talks about the owners," explains Beck, on the phone, who now lives in Benecia but used to cover the main contest as a reporter for the Petaluma Press Democrat.