Monday, March 4, 2013

Phil attends CINEQUEST 23: Day Five-March 2, 2013

Greetings and salutations and welcome to Day Five of my  trip to the Cinequest Film Festival. Today was big day for me, as I saw six films! Yup, I go all out during Cinequest! So let's not waste any more time and let the fun begin!

My first film of the day was ROUTE OF THE MOON (RUTA DE LA LUNA). When Tito, an albino loner, decides to travel one thousand kilometers through Central America in order to compete in a bowling tournament; his ill and stubborn father César insists in coming along and supporting his son for the first time in decades. Things get even more interesting when César offers a young woman named Yadia a lift. Soon their trip from Panama to Costa Rica will test them all as they confront old ghosts from the past.

A short was screened before the film entitled 'TIS IN MY MEMORY LOCKED. While a young Spanish woman studies for her role as OPHELIA, she begins to get lost in her role and loses her sense of reality.

Director Juan Sebastian Jacome does a damn fine job of creating a film that is both serious and humorous about confronting issues of being and looking different, neglect, loneliness, and examining the strains of growing old. All three main actors pull off an incredible job of portraying their respective characters with humility, pathos, and vulnerability. With just of pinch of dry humor thrown in for good measure, the film came as a complete surprise to me and I found it very entertaining. The film will shown again on Saturday, March 9th at 4pm. Also check out the film's official website at as well as their Facebook page.

The second film I saw this morning was the amazing documentary RUNNING WILD: THE LIFE OF DAYTON O. HYDE. Directed by Suzanne Mitchell, the film tells the life of one of the last great cowboys of all time, Dayton O. Hyde. From losing his father at a young age to cattle drives, from personal setbacks to protecting our natural resources, the documentary shows us how Hyde established the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota to protect the threatened wild horses and the land of the American West and reminds us all that you're never too old to become an activist.

Suzanne Mitchell does an outstanding job creating a very powerful and emotional film that connects us all on a deep, personal level. We have all fought for what we believe in, and in the process have suffered losses. Hyde is a man who's been through a lot in his lifetime, and we the audience are treated to remarkable story. Hyde is a man who is both a fighter and a man at peace, with wisdom that we all wish could possess. The film was thoughtful, funny, and awe inspiring! One of the best documentaries a this year's Cinequest! After the screening, singer/songwriter Steve Poltz came out to sing the film's main these song. Then director Suzanne Mitchell and Dayton O. Hyde came down to participate in a fun and informative Q&A. Afterwards, there was as autograph session where Dayton was signing posters of the film! Yours truly also got Suzanne and Steve to sign my poster as well! My top documentary pick to win this year! The film will shown again on Wednesday, March 6th at 4pm. Also, check out the film's official website at as well as their Facebook page. Also check out the Black Horse Wild Horse Sanctuary website at

The next film I saw was the world premiere screening of CHAPMAN. When a disturbing letter arrives at his job, a young locksmith named Alex returns home to the mountains of Colorado, where he is forced to revisit the past and confront the ghosts that have been haunting him since that summer twelve years ago which involved his best friend Paul and Maria, the girl that he loved.

Beautifully directed by Justin Owensby, the film is unlike your typical love triangle story. Tragedy, heartbreak, and betrayal are just some of the emotions that is translated upon the screen, thanks to the amazing performances by all three leads: Jesse Johnson, Christopher Masterson, and Caitlin Thompson. We have all been involved in a love triangle at some point in our lives. I am no different. I saw a lot of myself in Alex, who only wanted to have Maria to love him that way that he loved her. The third act is just so intense that this reviewer was fidgeting in his seat, anticipating the film's outcome and conclusion. After the screening, Justin, Jesse, Caitlin and some of the crew participated in a Q&A session. Just a riveting, heartfelt film that really strikes a chord! Go see this! The film will be screened again on Monday, March 4th at 9:15pm and on Wednesday, March 6th at 2:15pm. Also check out the film's official website at You can also follow the film on Facebook and Twitter.

The fourth film of the night was SOMEWHERE SLOW. Written and directed by Jeremy O'Keefe, the movie's about Anna Thompson (Jessalyn Gilsig), a Forty-something, bulimic, chain smoking woman who suffers from very low self-esteem. When she gets mixed-up in a convenience store robbery, she makes a decision to walk out of her life, not knowing where she's going. Along the way she meets teen runaway named Travis (Graham Patrick Martin), who's also on his own journey of self-discovery. The two form an unlikely bond which develops into something much more, but eventually Anna realizes that she can't runaway from her old life.

All I can say is wow! What a powerful and amazing film that tackles the topic of a female mid-life crisis, which we don't see too often. But a closer examination of the film tells us that we cannot run away from our problems. However, sometimes you need to step out of your life and see what's wrong with it and how you can fix it. Anna steps out of her normal routine and begins a journey to which she doesn't set out intentionally, but along the way, she learns about herself and discovers that you need to go back home to remind yourself of who you are. After the screening, most of the cast and crew (including Jeremy, Jessalyn, and Graham) participated in an informative Q&A. Highly recommended! The film will be screened again on Monday, March 4th at 9:15pm and on Friday, March 8th at 4:30pm. Also visit the film's official Facebook page as well.

The fifth film I saw today was the world premiere of CITY BABY. Set in Portland, Oregon, the film focuses on a young Twenty-something named Cloey, who is having a rough time in her life. Her childhood best friend Paige is moving away to New York, her father cuts her off, and her relationship with her boyfriend Jesse is on the rocks. Things get even more complicated when she meets business man and yuppie Michael, and then Paige meets and falls in love with a southern boy named Jay. Cloey's little party world is shaken to its core, forcing her to become an adult.

The film was made by power couple David F. Morgan and Cora Benesh. Both wrote the screenplay, with David directing and Cora the lead. I found the film very interesting; commenting on the stage in your life where you're in your twenties, still trying to find your way in the world while still relying on your parents and friends. David does a terrific job of directing the film and capturing the Portland life; featuring live concert footage from  bands Glass Candy and Starfucker, a very cool cameo by Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, and the cool, hipster kids and their lingo. You can't help but fall for Cloey; sweet, sexy, but suffering from low self-esteem. Cora is just amazing in the film, which by the way, does contain some nudity ans sexual situations. So if these offended you...well...tough! This is a great movie that examines the "playground for semi-adults, revolving through the lives of cool kids." So go see it! The film will be shown again on Monday, March 4th at 9:30 pm and on Wednesday, March 6th at 5pm. Also visit the film's official website at Don't forget to also check the film's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

The last film I saw today was the midnight screening of the horror film YEAR OF THE LIVING DEAD. Directed by Rob Kuhns, the film examines and chronicles the making of director George Romero's 1968 horror film classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, it's importance in the horror genre, and its lasting impact on society and pop culture.

The film was preceded by a short entitled THE MEETING. This British short's about Jack, a seasoned Police Inspector, is summoned to a meeting by his former subordinate and protégé, Michael. The meeting, however, doesn't go too well and both men's lives are forever affected by this one meeting.

Rob's documentary is filled with cool movie trivia, with Romero himself detailing all the facts about how the film was made. With commentary provided by film historians, horror fans, (and again Romero), this is a horror fan's wet dream come true. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is regarded as one of the most important horror films ever made. If you want to learn more about the film, how it was made, or if you've never seen the film yet, then you must see this documentary. After the screening, Rob Kuhns participated in a fun Q&A session. The film will be screened again on Monday, March 4th at 5pm and on Friday, March 8th at 9:45pm. Make sure you check out the film's official website at

Another night of movie magic here at Cinequest! Remember the festival will be running till March 10th so there's plenty of time for you to join in on the fun here in San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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