Cinequest

The online independent film distribution company Cinequest brings its 18th Film Festival to San Jose February 27 through March 9 with “over 150 films from around the world.” In addition to the screenings, the festival includes four workshops for hopeful filmmakers: one on distribution, one on writing, and two on “Sight, Sound & the Dollar Sign.”

There will be three Maverick Spirit Awards and accompanying ceremonies honoring the careers of actor John Leguizamo, screenwriter Michael Arndt, and producer Bobby Moresco.

But what about the movies? As I write this, I’ve seen one of them, the extremely low-budget but excellent Around the Bay. Sparse and utilitarian, Alejandro Adams’ low-key, dysfunctional family drama tells its story simply and without pyrotechnics. Nothing excessively dramatic happens in Around the Bay, but this study of an emotionally closed single father and the children who can’t connect with him will stay with you. I’ll post a more detailed review when the screening is closer.

Other promising titles include Becoming John Ford (a made-for-DVD documentary that I can’t believe I haven’t seen), the opening night comedy Eden Court, the Hungarian Konyec about septuagenarian armed robbers, and The Silence Before Bach–a plotless celebration of the composer from Spanish director Pere Portabella.

And, in the Snakes on a Plane tradition of artlessly titling a movie with a simple description of the flick’s main selling point, there’s a relationship study called Young People Fucking. They won’t have trouble selling tickets for that one.