Saturday, March 31, 2018

Phil attends the Final Day of Cinequest 28 - March 11, 2018

Well, here we are everybody and welcome to the final day of the Cinequest Film Festival! Hard to believe it's all over, but at least I have the memories! For the last day of the festival, I saw a total of zero films. OK, I know that I said that I was going to attend the last day, but life throws a lot of curve balls at you. And so, I missed the last day of Cinequest.

However, at least I got to see some excellent films during the festival, and I am very happy to have meet some truly talented filmmakers and extraordinary actors and actresses. And I saw a total of 31 screenings! And seeing how I've been gone for the last three years, this was something that I have been looking forward to once I moved back to San Jose!

And it was just announced that next year's Cinequest Film Festival will take place on March 5 to March 17, 2019!! By that time, I will be able to take time off to work and check out all the films, and maybe, just maybe, set an all-time world record for me!

So now I would like to say hi to all my friends, old and new, from the festival. I had the best time seeing you all again and I hope to see you at next year's festival. To all the filmmakers I got to meet, good luck with your respective films and I hope to see them again on either the big screen, home release or on VOD. And to all my friends and followers who read my blog during the festival, I just want to say thank you! Take care everybody, and I'll see you all again soon!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends CInequest 28: Day 12 - March 10, 2018

OK folks!! This is it!! The final weekend of the Cinequest 28 Film Festival! For today I saw a total of zero films! Yup, you read that right. I didn't attend the festival again today.

To be completely honest, I was dead tired from work and I was totally broken. I was sore, tired, sleep deprived, and was just extremely exhausted. Again, I am very thankful for having my new job, but I was way too tired to go to the festival, so I'm hoping to attend the last day of it.

Please visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 11 - March 9, 2018

This is it! The final weekend of the 28th Annual Cinequest Film Festival! So after not attending any screenings yesterday, I was planning to make up for it today by seeing four films. But I had to drive out to Santa Rosa for work, where there was a meeting I had to attend. So I didn't get back to San Jose in time for my afternoon screening. Then my girlfriend and I couldn't find parking at the 2nd Street Garage above the 3 Below Theaters, so we missed the silent film at 7pm. Once we did find parking, ate dinner at the Blue Chip on First Street, then made out way back to the California Theatre.

YOU & ME stars Hillary Baack as Ella, a sweet and beautiful book author, who falls in love with a recently blinded man named Tony, played by Paul Guyet. They soon realize that it's not all sunshine and rainbows, as they come across many obstacles that could tear them apart if they don't stick together.

The film was written and directed by Alexander Baack, along with his wife and lead actress Hillary. Together, they've produced a film that shines a spotlight on not just the deaf community, but also the blind community. Hillary Baack is deaf in real life, but Alexander is hearing, and the film reminds us that people in these communities can function just fine in the real world and shouldn't be ridiculed or put down just because they can't hear or see. We shouldn't feel sorry for them, instead, we should just treat them as just people. 

After the screening, Alexander Baack participated in a Q&A session. He mentioned that Hillary was supposed to be there at the screening, but was ill and couldn't attend. Also, they had just moved to their new home and the timing wasn't there, but hopes to come back to Cinequest with Hillary and maybe a new film as well.

Another day of moving watching here at Cinequest 28 is done. To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 10 - March 8, 2018

We're getting down to the final days here folks so welcome back to Day Ten of my trip to the 28th Annual Cinequest Film Festival! Well, to tell you the truth, Day Ten didn't really take place, and here's the reason why.

My first week of my new job has been very rewarding, but also very tiring. I get up at 3:15 every morning so I can drive out to the peninsula to start work at 5am.  By the time I get off work, it's about 2pm and I still have to drive all the way back to San Jose. After a hot shower, I take a two hour nap. By the time I wake up, I would head over to Cinequest. However, everything finally caught up with me, and therefore, I collapsed and I didn't have the energy to attend the festival tonight. So, I would like to apologize to all the filmmakers, to whom I told that I would see their films today. But I am expecting to attend some screenings tomorrow!

 To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 9 - March 7, 2018

Hello everybody and welcome to Day Nine of my trip to Cinequest 24! Again, because of my new job, I only got to attend one screening, but it was one that I have been anticipating since it was announced during the Cinequest Media Launch Party back in January! After getting my grub and drinks on at the Cinequest Soiree at the Cafe Stritch, I made my way to my one and only screening of the night.

I made my way over to the 3 Below Theater for the groundbreaking and innovative traveling film festival LUNAFEST SERIES. The series of short films were all made by talented female filmmakers that will no doubt be making a difference in the male dominated Hollywood. Moderated by Carly Severn, the screening consisted of nine extraordinary shorts:

YOURS SINCERELY, LOIS WEBER: Introduced by Elizabeth Banks, the short is a tribute to silent filmmaker and trailblazer Lois Weber, who was then the highest paid director at Universal Pictures. Infusing social commentary and feminist issues, some of Weber's most famous films include THE BLOT, SHOES, and THE DUMB GIRL FROM PORTICI, which are available to purchase from Milestone Films and Flicker Alley.

GIRLS LEVEL UP: A documentary about a young Muslim woman who sets up a special camp for middle grade school girls. Here, they are taught how to design their very own video games. A powerful message that girls are gamers too, and are a force to be reckon with!

WAITING FOR HASSANA: In this dramatic short that's set in 2014, 276 teenage girls came together for exams in Chibok, Nigeria -- by dawn, nearly all had disappeared and their school was burnt. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.
 
LAST SUMMER, IN THE GARDEN: An animated short about nature, seasons, cycles, and the unavoidable speed bumps in the road of life.

FANNYPACK: A young Indian-American woman who wants to follow her dreams, and a fanny pack clad Indian father who chases his daughter through an airport hoping that she will follow his.

JOY JOY NAILS: Sarah manages Joy Joy Nails with a cheerful iron fist, but she gets her manicured claws out when Chinese Mia, a manicurist trainee, looks to be stealing the boss's son's affections, soon discovering that under the varnish, everyone's a victim.

TOYS: In 1930s farm country, a father wants a son, but he gets a little girl. He tries to toughen her up by giving her toys intended for boys. His efforts backfire when she proves a little too capable for comfort.

BUTTERCUP: As Maggie struggles with her mother's death a surprise visitor helps her find joy again.

JESSZILLA: Jesselyn "Jesszilla" Silva is serious about boxing, and at 10 years old trains seriously with dreams of becoming a professional fighter. Her father, Pedro, finds himself caught in between supporting her dream and worrying about her future as she tries to master a combat sport.

After the program, Carly Severn interviewed director Svetlana Cvetko and Erin Palmquist, whose film FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY was screening at the festival. After a very informative and insightful interview, they participated in a fun Q&A with the audience.

And folks, there you have Day Nine of Cinequest 28! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 8 - March 6, 2018

Welcome everybody to Day Eight of my trip to Cinequest 28! I saw another three films today. As I stated in a previous entry, I mentioned that I started a new job, which I am very happy to report that it's been going extremely well! Unfortunately, it's taking up a lot of my time, due to training and learning my route, which has be starting at 5am Monday thru Friday. As a result, I won't be seeing a lot of movies as I had originally planned on. So for today, I only attended on screening, so let me talk about that!

After work, I headed on over to the Cinequest Soiree, which was held at the awesome Scott's Seafood up on the 6th floor. There, I had plenty to drink and eat, but mostly drank like a fish! Afterwards, my old friend and fellow blogger Jason and I headed over to the 3 Below Theaters for our 6pm screening!

The screening I attended was the SHORTS FILM PROGRAM 6: DOCUNATION, which featured some extraordinary documentaries! I was very excited to watch this program, and had the pleasure of watching the following shorts:

6th Graders School Roy Moore's Attorney: Director Sam Frazier Jr. filmed his two 6th grade nephews correcting the grammar of the infamous letter from Roy Moore’s attorney, which was shot on Thanksgiving Day 2017. Yes, these kids rip the letter to shreds and is damn funny!

Describe What You Heard: A special effects expert gives advise on how to make gunshot sounds with your mouth. Informative, yet heartbreaking considering what just happened in Florida.

The Duel: A short about when a 16 year-old girl who saves her brother from their father's sudden and deadly mental breakdown that resulted with the father challenging his son to a knife fight. In the end, it was their mother who helped save them. Powerful and disturbing short film.

Free Fall: Adults and kids alike, there's one thing we all love the most: bouncy castles!

The Happiness Machine: Meet Carl, who gives up being an academic librarian to become a sharecropper on 22 acres in rural Iowa, which he now calls The Promised Land. Here, he shares his ideas, his philosophies, and what it means to pass on the gift of place. I wish Carl was my grandfather! My favorite short of the program!

The Lectora: The short takes a look at the long-standing tradition of having a reader in the factory in one of the most famous cigar factories in Cuba.

Mister Sunshine: An old black man, who used to be a millionare, jettisons his old life to take on the life of a shoeshine man in Auckland, New Zealand, teaching us that life's about the shine on your face and not on just your shoes. Really moving short film!

Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen: Yes, nobody dies there because the permafrost will push the body back out of the ground. Think NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD meets THE THING, but it's a documentary.

Phototaxis: An animated short about the legendary demon Mothman in West Virginia and set to Narcotics Anonymouss literature, the primary treatment program in West Virginia’s addiction epidemic. Are the two somehow related? Maybe...

Twilight Dancers: Due to a colonial history, Indigenous youth from a small remote reservation use square dancing to heal the trauma from the recent suicide epidemic.

Unspoken: A short focusing on spoken word poet Farah Chamma and how she expresses and censors herself with her poetry while keeping her work raw, authentic and real.

The Velvet Underground Played at My High School: An animated short film when The Velvet Underground perform at a New Jersey high school in 1967, narrated by one of the students who was there. I wonder if Lou Reed was wearing shiny boots of leather that night.

And folks, there you have Day Seven of Cinequest 28! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends Cinequest 28: Day 7 - March 5, 2018

Hello everybody and welcome to Day Seven of my trip to Cinequest 28! So my life is full of surprises, and the biggest surprises I received was I started my BRAND NEW JOB TODAY!! Yes, I am very excited about it! However, because I started today, it meant that I wouldn't be able to reach my goal of 60 films this year. So I'm just going to try for a personal best for myself. And after my first day of work, I headed back to the festival and saw two films today, reason being is that I have to get up early for work. now. So let's get this show on the road, shall we?

The first film of the night was the Spanish film CYGNUS over at the California Theatre. The movie follows astronomer Fabian, who receives a signal from an unknown object near the Cygnus constellation 37,000 light years from Earth. But he's not the only one that wants to know what the signal came from, as he soon discovers that the signal wasn't the only thing that came down to Earth.

Mexican cinema focuses on only four genres: musicals, comedies, romance and action/adventures. Filmmaker Hugo Felix Mercado, producer Hugo Espinosa Juarez, and Carlos Alvahuante Contreras saw that there was a hole in Mexican cinema, that being science fiction films, and decided to rectify that problem. This movie is a pure sci-fi film, featuring real science, fiction, space monsters, and intrigue. All three were there at the festival to take part in a Q&A session. This was a big surprise for me at this year's festival and a rewarding one at that!! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!!

I stayed at the California Theatre to see THE LAST MOVIE STAR, my second film of the day. Legendary actor Burt Reynolds stars as Vic Edwards, a washed-up, has-been actor whose glory days a long behind him. When I he accepts to attend the Dallas Film Festival, he is paired with the organizer's eccentric sister Lil (Ariel Winter), who takes him on a trip down Memory Lane, only to discover what it means about growing older and coming to terms with your past.

I absolutely loved this movie!! Mainly because I related so much with it. Even though I'm only 45 years old, I find myself longing to return to the past to right my mistakes, while coming to terms on growing older, feeling like my best days are already behind me. Like his character Vic, Reynolds is in the same situation as well. His performance was just incredibly poignant, remarkable and all-too real. And the film was written and directed by Adam Rifkin!! I have been a fan of his for years!! He started off making low-budget B-movies and horror flicks like THE INVISIBLE MANIAC and PSYCHO COP RETURNS before helming the cult classic DETROIT ROCK CITY and his segment "Wadzilla" in the horror anthology CHILLERAMA. This, for me, marks his return to the mainstream and a turn in his career. If you didn't get the chance to see this at the festival, don't worry! The movie will be released by A24 to theaters on March 30th! My favorite spotlight film of the festival!! 5 out of 5 stars!!

And folks, there you have Day Seven of Cinequest 24! So far it's been a fun-filled festival!! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!