Cinequest Film Festival: It’s a wrap

Cullen Hoback Friction Cinequest
Cullen Hoback, director FrICTION, behaving badly.

Although the closing ceremony and awards took place last night along with the screening of Mother at the California Theatre, Cinequest Film Festival 20 officially comes to a close today.

For the first time an “encore day” was added. Audience favorites and award winners will receive a bonus screening allowing fans an extra opportunity to catch anything they might have missed. It’s one more enhancement to this year’s schedule that has resulted in an even better festival.

Another success were the daily soirees. Filling some of San Jose’s finest including Il Fornaio, Morton’s and ICA, the food and drink flowed liberally as did plenty of spirited discussion amongst filmmakers, press, festival go-ers, and trade.

The lineup for today’s films include: Starring Maja, Applause (review), Prima Primavera, The Orange Girl, Lost Persons Area, Buried Prayers, Cleanflix, The Escape (review), Professor, Solitary, Cost of a Soul, The Real Revolutionaries.

Here’s what I recommend: Professor, Applause, Cleanflix, The Escape. What an excellent day of film!

Awards for Cinequest Coverage

Films are, of course, front and center. But I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the superb, timely, and always entertaining coverage of the festival itself. Across Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Web sites, it allowed us all to enjoy additional perspectives on the films, and, in case we missed anything, to catch up on events, forums, presentations and, occasionally, even the pithy.

Sal Pizarro of the San Jose Mercury News by all accounts was a man on a mission.

In addition to his regular responsibilities at the Merc which includes his daily column, he wrote—Blogged!—about Cinequest. Faithfully capturing the scene, the mood, the action, Sal was on location bringing us the scoop. And if you’ve met Sal before you know he is Mr. San Jose (and, recently, Mr. Dad). I was very impressed that he was able to produce such high quality accounts on a daily basis, and still have time to mingle with the Cinequesters.

If Sal is a man about town, then Cynthia Corral (SJ Met Blogs, CQ Central) is all about the films. According to a Tweet yesterday, she has seen some 26 films in 11 days. Plus she, like hundreds of others that so graciously donate their time to Cinequest, volunteered and presented films as well. Talk about burning the midnight oil! Her reviews are well written, informative and must reads for film-goers looking for insight. Also, Cynthia wins the CQ Twitter award. I’m not sure of the number, but she easily out-Tweeted all and routinely lit up the Cinequest stream (and #cqff20, #cqff). You  might even have learned a fashion tip or two.

Cinequesting was another daily stop worth making. I believe it’s run by “morgank” whom I’ve not met. I like that each day was a surprise… sometimes it was links to stories, others a video or podcast. Or updates about Twitter, festival highlights and scheduling. It was another welcome addition to the bevy of  online coverage.

Adobe Youth Voices and Cinequest Film Camp

On Saturday morning Loni and I attended the Adobe Youth Voices screenings at Camera 12. It was a thrilling time. The energy and excitement were amped to 11. And why not? These teens were going to see their hard work—three weeks worth—up on the big screen in front of a packed theater of family and friends. We’ve followed the journey starting with the five teams brainstorming in week 1. It seems like eons ago. We also captured some videos and red carpet style interviews with the young filmmakers. Stay tuned for more on this wonderful community program.

Read more: Adobe Youth Voices

My Favorite Film

It’s a tough call, but my top pick is The Bone Man (followed closely by Applause and Life in One Day). Although it almost jumps the shark into Euro-camp towards the end, it was just flat-out awesome.

Some of my favorite shorts: Rory Bain’s The Whirling Dervish, Aaron Houston’s Two Theories, One Stone and Guy Maddin’s Night Mayor.

Standing Ovation

Finally, a huge debt of gratitude to Team Cinequest who pulled off a superb 20th anniversary festival. Their hard work and effort, along with over 600 volunteers, paid off with a seamless, entertaining event. You only needed to walk around downtown San Jose for a few minutes before feeling the extra energy (and Maverick spirit to boot!).

Halfdan Hussey and Kathleen Powell continue to share their passion for film, and we’re all the better for it. Cinequest truly is a San Jose gem. Also thanks to Darnisha, Stephanie, Edita, and other staff. Thanks for working with StarkSilverCreek and others to bring CQ to the online community.

Cinequest Encore Day
Camera 12
Screen 8
Camera 12
Screen 9
Camera 12
Screen 10
Audience Award Contender
STARRING
MAJA

11am – 12:34pm
Best First Feature
LOST PERSONS AREA
11:15am
– 1:04 pm
Audience Award Contender
PROFESSOR
11:30am
– 12:57pm
Maverick Spirit Winner
APPLAUSE
1:30pm
– 2:55pm
Best Documentary Feature
BURIED
PRAYERS

1:45pm – 3:08pm
New Visions Winner

SOLITARY
2pm
– 3:31pm

Audience Award Contender
PRIMA
PRIMAVERA

4pm – 5:26pm
Audience Award Contender
CLEANFLIX
4:15pm
– 5:40pm
Audience Award Contender
COST OF A
SOUL

4:30pm – 6:15pm
Audience Award Contender
THE ORANGE
GIRL

6:30pm – 7:51pm
Global Landscapes Winner
THE ESCAPE
6:45pm
– 8:42pm
Audience Award Contender
THE REAL
REVOLUTIONARIES

7pm – 8:29pm

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