Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Phil attends the CINEQUEST 28 FILM FESTIVAL Opening Night Extravaganza - February 27, 2018

It's that most amazing time of the year! Tonight was the opening night of the 28th Annual Cinequest Film Festival!! Tonight also marked my return to the festival, having last attending it back in 2014. Now that I've return in San Jose, I could not wait to once again cover the greatest film festival of all time! I am expecting to see some of the very best in independent, foreign, and documentaries here for the next thirteen days! Once again I got to see some of my old friends like Jason Wiener from Jason Watches Movies as well as Christopher Garcia, Terra Wood-Taylor, Michael Rabehl, and a few others. At this year's festival I hope to once again make new friends and as well as new memories. Back in 2014, I set an all-time personal record by attending 60 screenings in 13 days! Let's see if I can even bet that record this year!!

The opening night was held once again at the beautiful California Theatre on South First Street. There was the traditional red carpet with numerous filmmakers talking about their films to the press and posing for the cameras. Soon I found my way towards the front of the stage, bouncing in my seat with excitement. Then at 7:15pm, the lights slowly dimmed and the show began!

Now this year's festival started off with a short music video, and it was freaking hilarious! BIGFOOT'S LOVE SLAVE starts off with actress Alice Lee roaming in the forest, lost and confused. With voice over narration, she recalls meeting the legendary Bigfoot - played by Darren Bluestone - and that's when the music kicks in as she sings the most sexually explicit lyrics of all time!! Good lord this was such a funny short! The crowd was laughing hysterically, and it perfectly set the tone for the rest of the night! Click here to view the short!

After the short, Cinequest director and co-founder and Halfdan Hussey came out and greeted everyone and thanked all our sponsors. He then had the theatre screen this year's festival trailer (which I saw at the Cinequest Media Launch Party last month), which was done by SF Bay Area production company Guerrilla Wanders. The audience also got to watch a Cinequest trailer regarding their Picture the Possibilities program and their new VR Experience Lounge.

Afterwards Halfdan then introduced NBC Bay Area News Anchor Charter Boats to introduce the festival's opening night film KRYSTAL.

Rosario Dawson as Kystal in William H. Macy's KRYSTAL.
Directed by the one and only William H. Macy, the film stars Nick Robinson as Tyler Ogburn, your normal, average teenager who has heart condition that pretty much doesn't allow him to live a normal average teenager life. Because of his condition, he lives a pretty sheltered life, but fate steps in when he meets the beautiful Krystal (Rosario Dawson), a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, stripper. She's trying to get her life together for her son Bobby (Jacob Latimore), who's in a wheelchair. He falls head over heels for her, Tyler does whatever it takes to get to know her more, even joining an AA group! Add in Macy as his dad Hyatt, Felicity Huffman as his mom Poppy, Grant Gustin as his annoying older brother Campbell, William Fichtner as the crazy Dr. Farley, Kathy Bates as his friend and mentor Vera, and you have one of the funniest indie comedies I have ever seen!!

Credit goes to screenwriter Will Aldis, who wrote one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud script ever! Filled with eclectic and eccentric characters, romance, and the idea of hope, the script will tickle your funny bone while tugging on a couple of your heart strings. Two big thumbs up for Macy, who did a wonderful job of bringing Aldis' script to life. His compositions and pacing fit the story perfectly. And when you have an all-star cast like this acting in the movie, there's a reason why indie films are so important to the world of cinema. These movies offer something different than the films coming out of Hollywood. Indie films take chances, contain original ideas, pushes the envelope with subject matters that are relevant to today's society, but most importantly, they are made by filmmakers who are passionate about making movies because they love movies. So for those reasons, the film received a thunderous applause from the audience!

After the film, Cinequest President & Co-Founder Kathleen J. Powell came out on stage and introduced William H. Macy and producer Rachel Winter to partake in a intimate interview. The two talked about the making of the film (which was 14 years in the making), how amazing the cast and crew were, how Macy find the balance between acting in the film and directing it as well, Winter's funny stories of her humble beginnings in the film world, and how the movie was a labor of love for them. It was a very informative, funny, and charming interview. Best part of the night was when I was able to shack hands with William H. Macy! Yup, that was the highlight of the evening for me!

After the screening, we all headed over to the lavish after party, which was held over at The Farmer's Union on 151 W. Santa Clara and Sushi Confidential at 28 N. San Pedro Street, where they was plenty to eat, drink, and music to dance to all night long! Drinks were once again provided by Tito's Vodka!! The party was completely off the hook!!

KRYSTAL was the perfect film to kick off Cinequest 28! And there's still 12 days of movie watching left! So what are you waiting for? Now you can partake in this very important film festival event. To view film schedules, information about the festival, and to purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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