Every year, the Cinequest Film Festival sprouts up in San Jose, California, transforming this mecca for engineering and scientific innovation into an art and film lover’s paradise for two weeks.

You can read my review of “The Art of Travel” from last year’s film festival here.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Transform your mind, body and soul.” and with 152 films and shorts, from my last count on their website, there will definitely be something to tantalize everyone. Individual tickets range from $10 for general admission to $5 for students.

For those that want to experience the entire film festival in all its glory, there are Cinequest passes that range from the Film Lovers Pass ($125) which gives you unlimited access to over 200 screenings to the Elite Pass ($500) which entails the full red carpet treatment. The latter pass not only gives you access to all the screenings, but also to the express line, and tickets to the opening and closing night film and gala, entrance into VIP Soirees and other festival events. You can find all the details here.

venueimage_calWhat I really enjoy about attending these film screenings is that often, at the end of the movie, the director and some of the key actors and actresses will come up on stage and answer questions from the audience. In a world of blockbuster movies, it is a great way to really feel connected with the craft of film making and hear first-hand about the experience and inspiration behind the creation. This is also a venue for new talent to be discovered.

Unfortunately, this year, Clint and I will only be able to attend two screenings between the conflict of engagements during the day, our mystery weekend getaway and our trip down to Loreto Baja. However, Cinequest also has an answer for those with busy Silicon Valley life-styles. You can also purchase physical DVDs or electronic downloads of the Cinequest movies from their website:

If you are in the area, definitely recommend you check it out and if inspiration hits you, send in a movie review to blog@starkinsider.com.

Cinequest Film Festival 2009
February 25 – March 8, 2009.
San Jose, CA

P.S. It’s great to see Adobe Youth Voices as a platinum sponsor for this event.

Loni Stark is an artist at Atelier Stark, self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker who has a lifelong passion for technology’s impact on business and creativity. She collaborates with Clinton Stark on video projects for Atelier Stark Films. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite.