The first film up was a film that I wanted to see during the festival but didn't have time. COME AS YOU ARE (HASTA LA VISTA) tells the story of three friends Jozef, Philip and Lars, who all go off on an exciting road trip to lose their virginity. Now this may sound like your typical, average "guys losing their virginity" flick, but it's not. First off, our three guys are handicapped. Philip and Lars are in wheelchairs and Jozef is blind. Didn't see that one coming, did you? The guys are dependent on their parents to take care of them 24/7. But when they hear of a Spanish brothel that caters to people "like us," they convince their families to let them go on vacation (not knowing their true agenda). However, their driver/caretaker ends up being a big, scruffy looking women who only speaks French. But this only heightens their bond with each other as they head off on a trip the guys will never forget.
As I said, I didn't get a chance to see this, so I was glad that it was part of Encore Day. The film was funny, sad, rambunctious, and bittersweet. The three leads were very convincing in their roles, but what surprised the hell out of me was that they all were not handicapped. Now that's method acting people! The film was directed by Geoffrey Enthoven, whose other film The Over the Hill Band played at Cinequest back in 2010. The film also recently won the Grand Prize of the Americas and the Audience Award at the Montreal World Film Festival. You can check out the film's official website at www.hastalavistadefilm.be/.
The second film I saw was JASON BECKER: NOT DEAD YET. The film was still powerful, moving, and inspirational the second time around. There were two reasons why I wanted to see this documentary again. The first being it was an amazing film. The second was that Jason Becker himself was there live in person. Along with his family and his caretaker, Jason participated in a funny and informative Q&A session. I was fortunate to meet Jason after the screening as over. This was a very special moment for me. Now I grew up during Jason's rise to stardom and I had heard his music, so being a fan already and realizing that even though he was told he only had five years to live, the fact that he's still here twenty years later is astounding to his will to live and to continue making music. You can learn more about the film by visiting the website at www.jasonbeckermovie.com. There is still no cure for ALS, but you can help find one by making a donation on the ALS website at www.alsa.org.
Film number three was SUNFLOWER HOUR. This was my third time seeing the film, so you know if I've seen it that many times, it's a funny, funny film! So to learn more about the film, where it will be playing and see cool pics, check out the film's official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sunflowerhour.
The last film I saw on Encore Day was the hilarious Norwegian comedy KING CURLING (KONG CURLING). I laughed so hard when I first saw this film and I did again today! Now both this and SUNFLOWER HOUR were my two favorite comedy films at this year's festival. Both of these films don't have a distributor yet, so I thought to myself when will I see my two favorite films back to back again? Not ever, so I wanted to see this film one more time. Also you can check out the film's official Facebook page as well by going to www.facebook.com/kongcurling.
Well folks, there you have it. My first Cinequest back since 2010 and my first as a film reviewer. I have to say that this was THE best Cinequest Film Festival ever! What made it so great were the films, the filmmakers, the audiences, the afterparties, the whole vibe was intoxicating. Sometimes during the festival I thought it would never end, but it did. And I can't wait for next year's festival. Overall I attended 56 screenings in 13 days! A new record for me! So let's see if I can break it next year! 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 Cinequest. 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 or on DVD. And to all my friends and followers who read my blog during the festival, thank you! Have a great week everybody, and I'll see you all again soon!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!