Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Phil attends the CINEQUEST MEDIA LAUNCH EVENT at the Hotel De Anza in Downtown San Jose - January 22, 2019

Today was a day that I was very much looking forward! I've waited to for week and now, it was time!  This past Tuesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the CINEQUEST MEDIA LAUNCH EVENT here in Downtown San Jose! The event this year was held at the historic De Anza Hotel, a beautiful  10-story art deco building that has been opened since 1931. I got to see all my old friends like fellow blogger Jason Wiener (Jason Watches Movies), Terra Wood Taylor and Michael Rabehl from Cinequest as well as several people from the media. After some cocktails and meeting old friends and making new ones, the event began and I was very excited to see what what was planned for this year's festival.

Started in 1990 by co-founders Halfdan Hussey and Kathleen Powell, the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival has grown to epic proportions over the years, bring new visions and voices from up and coming filmmakers while bringing new technology and films to the masses. Now in its 29th year, the festival shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to bringing the very best in independent, foreign, and documentaries to film lovers.

Cinequest Publicity Manager Gabrielle Whelan kicks off the event.
The event began with Gabrielle Whelan, the Cinequest Publicity Manager. She welcomed everyone and thanks all those who took time out of their schedules to attended the media launch event. She discussed how big this year's festival and there is something for everyone. She then introduced the one and only Cinequest co-founder and director Halfdan Hussey.

Cinequest Co-Founder Halfdan Hussey announcing the festival's theme.
Hussey revealed this year's theme for the festival: THE UNEXPEXTED. Then we were all shown a great video with Hussey telling us how Cinequest has reached out on a global scale to influence the idea that YOU can go out a create your film and have it been seen by people, who will then in turn become transformed by your film. A great message for all future filmmakers! Once again, The California Theatre, 3Below Theaters, and the Hammer Theatre Center will be hosting the festival, along with the Century Downtown 20 in Redwood City.

Hussey also announced that this year's festival would have a total of 132 world premiers from over 56 countries, and 100 films by female filmmakers! Also, the festival will have 10% more films screened than last year's. These are staggering numbers folks! Once again, Cinequest is leading the charge of equality, diversity, and change to the film world, and it begins again here in Downtown San Jose!

He then talked about the opening night film that will kick off the festival. MANTO is a biopic chronicling the life and work of India's most controversial writer Saadat Hasan Manto. After the screening, there will be a conversation with the film's writer/director Nandita Das, who will also be receiving the Maverick Spirit Award. Afterwards, the celebration continues over at the Glass House on South Market Street for the big after party! Also, it was just announced that Bill Nighy will also be receiving the Maverick Spirit Award as well!

Again, the festival will have numerous world premiers from all over the world, and will offer 100 new films by female filmmakers. Some of these films include AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS directed by Deanne Foley, BLOOD PARADISE from Swedish filmmaker Patrick von Barkenberg, the Swahili drama OUR MADNESS by Joao Viana, the epic action film SHADOW from Chinese director Zhang Yimou, and GRIND RESET SHINE from Margarita Jimeno are just a few examples of what audiences can expect to see, along with ten percent more films than last year!

Other special screenings Hussey mentioned was the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award Event taking place on Thursday, March 7th at 7:15pm at the historic California Theatre.  This year's film is CLOWNVETS, a documentary about Patch Adams, the founder of the Gesundheit! Institute, leading his group of humanitarians on a mission to Guatemala. Plus, Patch Adams, himself, along with the film’s artists will be part of the screening as well! Also at the California Theatre, the festival, along with the PACKARD HUMANITIES INSTITURE, will be the 1928 silent film STREAMBOAT BILL JR, starring silent film comic genius Buster Keaton. On hand playing the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ will be none other than the great Dennis James. This screening takes place on Friday, Mar 15th at 7pm.

 The festival will also once again have their Spotlight Films program featuring big time Hollywood names in thoughtful, provocative, and interesting titles and will be screened at both the California Theatre and Hammer Theatre. This year's films include titles like FREAKS starring Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern, HOTEL MUMBAI featuring Anupam Kher, Dev Patel, and Armie Hammer, and THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT with Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard, and Salma Hayek just to name a few. While these films will be released theatrically, film lovers will be able to see them here at the festival.

There's so much more that I haven't even talked about! There's the Virtual and Augmented Reality programs and lounge, there's the new Television & Webisodes program, and also new this year is the Poets N Film program that celebrates, "the power of the spoken word in poetry, music, and film!" And not to mention Creativity at Cinequest program, featuring the aforementioned Television & Webisodes program, Creativity Summit, and Moving Stories!

 The festival concludes on Sunday, March 17th at the California Theatre with a film that I cou;d not believe! This year's Closing Night Film is none other than THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, the latest film by the legendary filmmaker Terry Gilliam! The movie stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko, and Joana Ribeiro and if you haven't seen the trailer yet, holy crap!! If your a fan of Mr. Gilliam and would like to see his latest masterpiece on the big screen in a classic movie theatre palace, then make a date to come here!!

With the Picture the Possibilities, VIP Soirees, Maverick Meet-Ups, and VR Cinema Programs, there's something for everybody at this year's Cinequest!! So don't waste anymore time! The 29th Annual Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival will be held from March 5 - March 17, 2019. Tickets and passes are now available so make sure you get them now because they are already moving fast. To learn more about the festival, film schedules and events, volunteering, and to buy your tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in Downtown San Jose for Cinequest!  

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