Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Cinequest (Part 1 of 2)

Cinequest was held from March 4 to 16 this year.  It seemed to start a week late this year.  The festival typically starts in the late February.  It started on February 26 last year, February 28 in 2012 and March 1 in 2011.

As has been the case since I started attending, Cinequest's venues were the California Theater, the SJ Rep and four screens at the Camera 12.  Last month, the SJ Rep announced it was closing.  I wonder if that means the theater will be repurposed.  The distinctively shaped building doesn't seem as though it could be used for anything else except a theater or performance space.

I saw 37 programs this year which is my all-time high for any film festival.  Of the 37, I watched 27 at the Camera 12, seven at the California and three at the SJ Rep.

I remain convinced that the film programming at Cinequest best matches my tastes and as such, Cinequest is likely my favorite film festival in the Bay Area.  Only its location detracts from a more enthusiastic endorsement.  Driving round-trip from SF to SJ everyday is exhausting.

This year, Cinequest did have some issues.  I noticed that they didn't have handheld ticket scanners at all locations.  Instead, the volunteers had an app on their cell phone which photographed and scanned the tickets and passes and then compared against some database.  At times, this was very slow.  For two programs, I entered the theater after the film had started because it took so long for the ticket takers to scan the tickets and get the "OK" response.

I also noticed that the LCD monitors which displayed the film schedules were missing.  Instead Cinequest went old-school.  Colored pieces of paper were cut into strips with the film title, start time and duration.  These were taped to the windows of the Camera 12.  As the day progressed, the volunteers had to manually remove films which had already screened and re-tape the paper higher up on the window.  Towards the end of the day, they would tape the next day's schedules below the current day's schedule.  It was sufficient but decidedly low tech especially for San Jose.  In fact, some people were confused.  I helped more than one person decipher "the board."  I noticed HP was not one of the sponsors this year.  HP monitors were used in past years to display the schedules.


Hunting Elephants starring Sasson Gabai, Moni Moshonov, Patrick Stewart & Gil Blank; directed by Reshef Levi; Hebrew & English with subtitles; (2013)
Class Enemy starring Igor Samobor; directed by Rok Bicek; Slovenian & German with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook
Just a Sigh starring starring Gabriel Byrne & Emmanuelle Devos; French & English with subtitles; (2013)
The Verdict starring Koen De Bouw; directed by Jan Verheyen; Dutch with subtitles; (2013) - Official Website
A Squared starring Maria Vittoria Barrella & Lorenzo Colombi; directed by Stefano Lodovichi; Italian with subtitles; (2013)
Lawrence and Holloman starring Ben Cotton & Daniel Arnold; directed by Matthew Kowalchuk; (2013) - Official Website
Masterpiece:  Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns; documentary directed by Alexander Gray & Jeff Maynard; (2013)
Parallel Maze starring Run Zhang & Ya Shu Zhan; directed by Hua Ya; Mandarin with subtitles; (2013)
A is for Alex starring Alex Orr & Katie Orr; directed by Alex Orr; (2013)
Sex(ed):  The Movie; documentary; directed by Brenda Goodman; (2013)
White Rabbit starring Carla Pauli & Eric Michael Kochmer; directed by Bill Kinder; (2013) - Official Website
East Side Sushi starring Diana Elizabeth Torres & Yukata Takeuchi; directed by Anthony Lucero; English, Spanish & Japanese with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook
Funny Money starring Khuong Ngoc & Van Trang; directed by Thien Do; Vietnamese with subtitles; (2013)
Sold starring Niyar, David Arquette & Gillian Anderson; (2014) - Official Website
Eternity: The Movie starring Barrett Crake, Myko Olivier & Nikki Leonti; directed by Ian Thorpe; (2013) - Official Website
The Divorce Party starring Ashlynn Yennie & Collin Owens; directed by Edy Soto; (2013)
Loaded starring Patrick John Flueger, Kumail Nanjiani & Andrew W. Walker; directed by Christopher Zonnas; (2013)
Breathe In starring Felicity Jones; Guy Pearce & Amy Ryan; directed by Drake Doremus; (2013) - Official Facebook
A Thief A Kid And A Killer starring Felix Roco & Arvy Viduya; directed by Nathan Adolfson; Tagalog & English with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook
Victoriana starring Marguerite French & Jadrien Steele; directed by Jadrien Steele; (2013)
A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide starring Graeme McGeagh & Annable Logan; directed by Graham Hughes; (2013) - Official Facebook
Confessions of a Womanizer starring Andrew Lawrence, Gary Busey & C. Thomas Howell; directed by Miguel Ali; (2013) - Official Website
Unforgiven starring Ken Watanabe & Akira Emoto; directed by Lee San-il; Japanese with subtitles; (2013) - Official Website
The Illiterate starring Paulina Garcia & Valentina Muhr; directed by Moises Sepulveda; Spanish with subtitles; (2013)
A Short History of Decay starring Bryan Greenberg, Linda Lavin & Harris Yulin; directed by Michael Maren; (2013) - Official Website
Zoran, My Idiot Nephew starring Guiseppe Battiston & Teco Celio; directed by Matteo Oleotto; Italian with subtitles; (2013)
The Hands of Orlac starring Conrad Veidt; directed by Robert Wiene; musical accompaniment by Dennis James; silent with intertitles; (1924)
Heavenly Shift starring Andras Otvos, Roland Raba & Tamas Keresztes; directed by Mark Bodzar; Hungarian with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook
Blood Punch starring Milo Cawthorne & Olivia Tennet; directed by Madellaine Paxons; (2013) - Official Website
The Man Behind the Mask; documentary; directed by Gabriela Obregon; Spanish with subtitles; (2013)
App starring Hannah Hoekstra; directed by Bobby Boermans; Dutch with subtitles; (2013) -  Official Website
Dom Hemingway starring Jude Law, Richard E. Grant & Emilia Clarke; directed by Richard Shepard; (2013) - Official Website
Finsterworld starring Corinna Harfouch & Ronald Zehrfeld; directed by Frauke Finsterwalder; German with subtitles; (2013) - Official Website
Friended to Death starring Ryan Hansen; directed by Sarah Smick; (2013)
The Rugby Player; documentary; directed by Scott Gracheff; (2013) - Official Website
It's Only Make Believe starring Silje Salomonsen; directed by Arild Østin Ommundsen; Norwegian with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook
Tempo Girl starring Florentine Drafft & Jose Barros; directed by Dominik Locher; German & Swiss German with subtitles; (2013) - Official Facebook

This year it seemed like there weren't as many short films preceding the feature films.  I did not see any short film programs but I did see four short films...I think.    In the listing below, PTP stands for Picture the Possibilities, a Cinequest initiative that "is a transformative leadership movement, where empowered youth create visions for a better tomorrow."

The Shoemaker; documentary; directed by Dustin Cohen; (2013)
The Closest Thing to Heaven; documentary; directed by Ryan Bruce Levey; (2013)
Birdboy (PTP);
Shift starring Lindsay Farris; directed by James Croke; (2013) - Official Website

According to the festival guide, The Shoemaker preceded A is for Alex, The Closest Thing to Heaven preceded Sex(ed):  The Movie, Birdboy preceded The Illiterate and the last minute schedule addition Shift preceded Dom Hemingway.

I don't recall Birdboy whereas I recall the other three short films and all the feature films.  I didn't jot any notes about Birdboy either.  I wonder if it actually screened or if I came in late for that screening.  There are frequent schedule changes at Cinequest so it is quite possible Birdboy did not screen with The Illiterate.  Many of the PTP films from last eyar were posted on YouTube but I cannot find Birdboy on that website.

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