"Manual for Love Stories" and "My Jealous Barber" Bookend Cinequest '05 in San Jose, CA
by Shilpa Mankikar
Cinequest, the San Jose Film Festival, celebrates its 15th Anniversary March 2-13, 2005. The festival will bring over 80 feature films and 70 short films from around the world to Silicon Valley. The US Premiere of the Brazillian romantic comedy "Manual for Love Stories" will open the festival. José Roberto Torero's 7th film charts the making of a romantic comedy from A to Z. Through a narrator's ironic guide, audiences are invited to participate in casting, how the characters meet, and how they jump through the clichés of romance. The festival closes with the Norwegian comedy "My Jealous Barber" at the historic California Theater. Annette Sjursen's charming film shows how hilariously important a haircut can be to a young man. Both films will be followed by Galas. The Cinequest Online festival will stream films and close with a Viewer's Choice Award.
Cinequest will award two Maverick Spirit Awards this year. Academy Award Winner Sir Ben Kingsley will be in attendance at "An Afternoon with Sir Ben Kingsley" on Saturday March 5th at 2pm. Jon Polito will receive the award following the World Premiere of "Charlie The Ox" on Saturday March 5th, as part of a program Jon Polito: American Dynamo. The celebration of master work continues with six Silent films at the gilded California Theatre. On March 11th at 7pm, there will be a double feature of Cecil B. Demille's "Carmen" (1915), starring Geraldine Ferrar, and King Vidor's "La Bohème" (1926), starring the "first lady of silent screen" Lillian Gish. Films will be accompanied by the entrancing sounds of the California Theatre organ.
The Latino Showcase features 7 features and several short films. Highlights include the World Premieres of "Boxers and Ballerinas" (Cuba/USA) and "Maid in America" (USA), and the US Premiere of "Saturday" (Chile). Mike Cahill and Brit Marling's "Boxers and Ballerinas" contrasts the lives of four young athletes -- a young boxer and a young dancer in Havana, Cuba and a boxer and dancer living in Miami, Florida -- each trying to achieve his/her goals in life. Anayansi Prado's "Maid in America" tracks the lives of Judith, Telma and Eva, strong women whose lives have been momentarily sidetracked by poverty and personal problems, but whose determination and courage keep them going in the bustle of L.A. Matias Bize's real-time digital feature "Saturday" captures Blanca avenging her fiancee's unfaithfulness during the hour before their wedding.
The Pacific Basin Showcase will present 2 World and 4 U.S. Premieres. Yan Yan Mak's US Premiere "Butterfly" is an absorbing tale of strong female responsiveness by revealing a woman's evolution from caterpillar to butterfly, symbolizing the strength, determination and pain that comes with breaking out of a life led for others and not for oneself. Manoj Kumar Sen's World Premiere "Dulhan: Made in the USA" is filmed around the Bay Area with a local cast and crew, a lighthearted story of a man and how he changes everyone he meets. World Premiere "Listening to the Voice of a Wind" (USA) is an evocative trio of short stories following three women named Gina who live around the country. The film expertly fuses the stories into one major artistic statement.
Cinequest supports homegrown Bay Area films. This year's program includes six Bay Area narrative features, 2 documentary features, and 8 shorts. Nyla Adams and Laurie Trombley's documentary "Amazing Grace" is an amazing tribute to the phenomenon of Jeff Buckley, a singer with a four-octave voice and a composer with a unique, impossible-to-classify genre whose young, tragic death left his fans reeling. Eli Depres and Kim Roberts' "Wilderness Survival for Girls" is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that explores the rich and intoxicating inner lives of teenage girls when three best friends spend one last weekend together before they go their separate ways.
Set in the heart of Silicon Valley, Cinequest brings technology and cinema together. Its Digital by Digital Program includes five events. Eight feature narratives in the festival have been shot and edited digitally, including "Able Edwards" and "My Big Fat Independent Movie." Graham Robertson's "Able Edwards" is Executive Produced by Steven Soderbergh. Only one man can invigorate a floundering android manufacturing company -- Able Edwards, a charismatic wunderkind, a person who cannot possibly be duplicated. Unfortunately, he is dead. Philip Zlotorynski's "My Big Fat Independent Movie" spoofs the genre, with two talkative hitmen, Sam and Harvey. As in all indie films, they form an unlikely bond. The result, hilarity ensues.
"Digital Effects on a Dime" brings special effects technology to an independent level. "New Distribution and Delivery Strategies" introduces new cost effective marketing and delivery options for filmmakers through new technologies. "From Lens to Lens" presents new and affordable HD cameras from Panasonic. Got an I-Pod or Palm Pilot? "Mobile Videos On Palm Powered Devices" explores the future of cinema on handheld devices.
The Movie Making Forums present 2 days of workshops geared towards filmmakers. Day I focuses on Writing. On Friday March 11th, writers can attend several workshops on Story Development, Script Analysis, and Three Act Structure. The 3 winners of the 15 Cinequest Screenplay Competition Finalists will be announced at the end of the day.
This year's competition received 634 entries. Day II focuses on Producing films. On Saturday March 12th from 10am to 5pm, producers can attend workshops on Distribution and Marketing, Creative Producing, and Digital Production.
[ For more information, please visit: http://www.cinequest.org. ]