19th Annual Cinequest Film Festival

Renowned for a tradition of empowering the Maverick via discovery, distribution and innovation, Cinequest Film Festival 19 delivers the theme Transform. Committed to serving more during times of social and economic change, Cinequest will transform via celebration, innovation, humor, love, provocation, and inspiration. Six hundred artists and innovators will unveil 150 films and forums to audiences projected to exceed 80,000. Events and screenings occur in spectacular venues within a three block radius – in San Jose, California – from February 25 – March 8, 2009. Highlights include:

  • Films starring Robert Pattinson, Brea Grant, Danny Masterson, Jane Seymour, Frank Langella, Elliott Gould, Tom Sizemore, Tim Daly, Tom Arnold, Nandita Das, Jane Adams, Joe Morton, Marcia Gay Harden, Blanchard Ryan, Dominique Swain, Johnny Cash, Larry Norman and Garrison Keillor.
  • 72 U.S., North American, and World Premieres from 40 countries.
  • Hot topic Film & Innovation Forums: The Marriage of Internet & TV and Lights, Cameras, P2.
  • Day of the Writer featuring Richard Walter, Lew Hunter, Hal Ackerman & Maverick Spirit Award Recipient Diablo Cody.
  • An Evening of Film Comedy with Maverick Spirit Award Recipient Kevin Pollak.
  • Maverick Spirit Recipient & Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr.
  • Controversial Silent Cinema: D.W. Griffith’s Birth of A Nation and Intolerance
  • Opening Night World Premiere of Wake with star appearances.
  • Closing Night World Premiere of The Nature of Existence with religious and thought leaders.
  • Transform — Celebration

Cinequest’s Opening Night features the World Premiere of Ellie Kanner’s romantic comedy WAKE starring Bijou Phillips (Choke, Almost Famous), Danny Masterson (That 70s Show, Yes Man), Marguerite Moreau (Beverly Hills Chihuahua), Ian Somerhalder (TV’s Lost, Pulse) and Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers). WAKE tells the story of a woman looking for love at funerals. Post screening party, with star actors and filmmakers, occurs at Mezcal and Billy Berk’s.

Closing Night presents the World Premiere of Roger Nygard’s THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE. After exploring the phenomenon of Trekkies (1998, Paramount Release) Nygard takes on The Nature of Existence. Including luminary figures such as Indian holy man Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (The Art of Living), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind (co-discoverer of String Theory), wrestler Rob Adonis (founder of Ultimate Christian Wrestling) and director Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), Nygard deftly combines an investigative approach with his trademark humor, to create a spectacular view of humanity. E&O Trading Company hosts the closing night party.

Celebration events and screenings include a Richard Ledes’ absorbing film noir THE CALLER, starring recent Academy Award® nominated Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven) and Laura Harring (Mulholland Drive); Jeffrey Goodman’s noir romance THE LAST LULLABY, starring the Golden Globe-nominated Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS); the North American Premiere of Tennyson Bardwell’s supernatural thriller THE SKEPTIC, starring Tim Daly (Private Practice) and Tom Arnold (True Lies); director/actress Nandita Das’ (Earth, Fire) riveting directorial debut FIRAAQ; the Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) executive produced documentary CRUDE INDEPENDENCE; Don Hardy and Dana Nachman’s WITCH HUNT (Executive Produced and Narrated by Sean Penn), a powerful and critical look at the justice system through the lives of parents wrongly accused of crimes and taken from their families.

Also screening in Cinequest’s Celebration events are the World Premieres of Mark Tran’s Vietnamese-American family comedy ALL ABOUT DAD; David Di Sabatino’s look at the life of the “Godfather of Christian Rock” FALLEN ANGEL: THE OUTLAW LARRY NORMAN; plus the United States Premiere of Mary Haverstick’s HOME, starring Marcia Gay Harden (Miller’s Crossing, Pollack).

Transform — Innovation

A unique position in the Silicon Valley enables Cinequest to access latest innovations that empower film making, exhibition and distribution–keeping Cinequest and its communities ahead of the curve. Cinequest Film Festival 19 delivers three days of Film & Innovation Forums to motivate, educate and fascinate both filmmakers and film fans. This year’s forums include:

THE MARRIAGE OF TELEVISION & THE INTERNET: Home entertainment systems remain the preferred means for the majority of film viewing; however, the Internet has made great strides in democratizing film delivery, providing more choices, and making it easier to browse, socialize, select and view films. What if these worlds came together, integrating into one experience we’ll call Internet Television? Could film lovers enjoy the best of all worlds while giving Independent and International filmmakers more audience and more money? Could this be the Holy Grail for Mavericks?
LIGHTS, CAMERAS…P2: At Cinequest, film producers, directors and cinematographers have discovered the latest and greatest breakthroughs to bring their visions to screen. Technologies must serve the story, artistry and the budgets of filmmaking to have impact. P2 (solid state filmmaking) provides many of the best opportunities for filmmakers today. Join an exciting visual and interactive presentation of the cameras, production & post-production workflows for this groundbreaking way to make films better, faster and cheaper.
Transform — Humor

An Evening of Film Comedy with Maverick Spirit Award Winner, Kevin Pollak. Film star (The Usual Suspects, The Whole Ten Yards) and beloved comedian, Pollak will perform specially crafted film-oriented stand-up comedy at Cinequest followed by an interview and award presentation.

Comedy premieres include: HOW TO BE… starring the widely-popular and talented Robert Pattinson (Twilight), is a true audience favorite, focusing on the coming-of-age story of a young man who hires a self-help author to move in with him and his parents to solve the source of his problems. Danny Masterson (That 70s Show, Yes Man), Blanchard Ryan (Open Water), Dominique Swain (Lolita) and Leon (Get Rich or Die Tryin’) star in Julian Kheel’s heist comedy CAPERS: a multi-perspective narrative that cleverly utilizes new technologies to craft a hilarious story of three badly executed heist; all after the same treasure.

Further comedies include CORPSE RUN, featuring Brea Grant from the hit show Heroes; North American Premiere of Kurando Mitsutake’s “sushi western” SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF; and the United States Premiere of an uproarious look at the sport of ROCK PAPER SCISSORS.

Transform — Love

Cinequest transforms the notion of love beyond the standard formula and generic concepts of romance. The films in this year’s program reclaim thoughts of passion, hidden desire, and intimacy including TANDOORI LOVE, which mixes music, love and food for a spicy and infectious concoction; and the United States Premiere of the vibrant HOW AM I NOT GOING TO LOVE YOU.

Transform — Provocation

Controversial Silent Cinema: D.W. Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION and INTOLERANCE. The Stanford Theatre Foundation presents two films that provoked Hollywood; one breathtaking theatre, and the Mighty Wurlitzer organ to transform your film experience.

Shattering the bonds of conventionalism, provocation dares, sometimes misbehaves, and ultimately breaks the rules–deliberately stimulating and shocking film-goers. The North American Premiere of Lionel Baier’s ANOTHER MAN sensually depicts a film journalist’s lustful and sadistic affair with a femme fatale. Movie buffs will pleasure clever cinematic references and powerful sexuality. Further provocative experiences include: the North American Premiere of Murilo Salles’ provocative CAMILA JAM, featuring Leandra Leal (The Man Who Copied); the World Premiere of the dystopian sci-fi experiment CANARY; the North American Premieres of Anton Chekhov’s psychological THE BET; FIRST PERSON SINGULAR, featuring Amy Redford (Maid in Manhattan), Marjan Neshat (Rescue Me) and Annie Parisse (Law & Order); the epic mystery HISTORIAS EXTRAORDINARIAS; and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s controversial JOHNNY MAD DOG.

Transform — Inspiration

Writing provides the inspiration on which all narrative cinema builds. Cinequest’s Day of the Writer, pays homage to writers, while offering mentoring for the new and emerging. Maverick Spirit Award winner Diablo Cody (Academy Award Winner, Juno) headlines. A wonderful group of panelists join to educate, including legends Richard Walter, Lew Hunter and Hal Ackerman.

Legendary (Academy Award Winner, An Officer and a Gentleman) Louis Gossett, Jr. receives Cinequest’s Maverick Spirit Award after a screening of THE LEAST AMONG YOU, based on the truly inspirational story of a young, African-American man sent to an all-white school where prejudice is the enemy. The film co-stars Lauren Holly (Picket Fences) and William Devane (24). Winner of this year’s Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award, HEART OF STONE inspires through the story of a principal who changed gang members through a groundbreaking program. A glorious portrait of the Man in Black and his music, JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON reveals the impact Cash’s music had on the inmates of Folsom Prison and how his fight for prison reform has had everlasting effects on their souls; and RAGING GRANNIES portrays a dynamic band of aging activists.

Get the complete lineup, buy tickets, or download Blackberry and iPhone applications at www.cinequest.org.