Cinequest opens late February

I have yet to attend CineQuest, despite it being one of the three major Bay Area film festivals. The problem is geographic. I live just north of Berkeley, and I really hate getting to the Peninsula. It’s a long drive, usually through bad traffic. Public transportation options aren’t great, either.

But for those who live closer to San Jose, or are more willing to fight the freeways, CineQuest seems to be an excellent way to get your cinema fix. The festival runs from February 27 to March 11. Over those 13 days, it will screen 74 world premieres and 55 US premieres (I assume many of these are considerably less than feature length). 98 of the films were directed by women. Most of the venues are in downtown San Jose.

Krystal: Opening night film

As one would expect from a festival set in the heart of Silicon Valley, CineQuest celebrates technology as well as cinema. The schedule includes 29 virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) movies, experiences, and games. The VR Cinema Programs will provide non-theatrical, immersive, short, movie-going experiences. One of the programs, Speed Kills, stars John Travolta and runs 24 minutes.

Travolta will also attend the festival in real reality (as opposed to the virtual kind) for an award presentation; I don’t know what award, and the time has not yet been announced. Other guests include Andie MacDowell, Peter Fonda, Piper Laurie,  Hilary Swank, and William H. Macy, who directed the opening-night film, Krystal.

Pick of the Litter

The festival closes with Brothers in Arms, a documentary on the making of Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning Vietnam War movie, Platoon.

There’s at least one film on the program that I’ve seen: Victor Seastrom’s The Wind, an MGM Lillian Gish vehicle from 1928. I saw this silent movie a very long time ago, at the UC Theatre of blessed memory, and it blew me away. This time around, Dennis James will provide musical accompaniment on the California Theater’s Wurlitzer organ.

The Wind

Among the films I haven’t seen that look interesting are Pick of the Litter, Submission, The Last Movie Star, and Risking Light. Among the events – as opposed to the feature films – that seem interesting are Poets N Film and a selection of VR Workshops.

Who knows. Maybe this year I’ll actually go to San Jose.

One thought on “Cinequest opens late February

  1. This year the split looks to be 50/50 between San Jose & Redwood City for film screenings. 3 single screen venues in San Jose vs. 4 dedicated auditoriums in a Redwood City multiplex. I prefer Redwood City because it is a) close to CalTrain, b) the movie theater has a parking garage in the basement and c) significantly closer to residence than San Jose. Also, attendance was less crowded in Redwood City last year. On the other hand, the prestige events will be in San Jose.

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