Cinequest 25 Film Festival Preview: Feb. 24 – March 8, 2015

Cinequest’s mission is to create, innovate and empower people in the film industry by helping up-and-coming artists, and enabling breakthrough technology through the art of cinematography.

25th Annual Cinequest FIlm Festival. Image: Mike Gendimenico

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 14, 2015 – For two weeks, San Jose, California will be taken over by the 25th Annual Cinequest Film Festival, which features 200 movies, 700 artists and 100,000 fans all rubbing elbows in the name of film, art and innovation.

Cinequest’s mission is to create, innovate and empower people in the film industry by helping up-and-coming artists, and enabling breakthrough technology through the art of cinematography.

This year’s theme is “the power of creating,” and there is no doubt that festival-goers will be blown away with the films and events in this year’s line-up.

Batkid Saves San Francisco
Batkid Saves San Francisco

Opening Night: The festival kicks off Tuesday night, February 24th at the California Theatre with the heart-warming presentation of “Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World.”

Those of us from the Bay Area are familiar with this touching story that spotlights 5-year old Miles Scott, his wish to be Batman for a day, and the transformation of San Francisco into Gotham, and a virtual Gotham around the world.

Film: 5 to 7 Image: Cinequest
Film: 5 to 7
Image: Cinequest

Closing night ceremonies take place on Sunday March 8th at the California Theatre with the feature film presentation of “5 to 7”, as well as the closing party at The GlassHouse.

5 to 7 is a Rom-Com that cleverly blends sexy, playful, funny and serious, starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), Berenice Marlohe (Skyfall), Olivia Thirlby (Juno), Glenn Close, Eric Stoltz (Caprica) and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon).

Cinequest Maverick Awards
Cinequest Maverick Awards

 The Maverick Awards

Every year Cinequest awards the Maverick Awards to those artists they feel exemplify the very core of this festival. This year’s recipients: Rosario Dawson, Lawrence Kasdan, Dennis Lehane, Mike Medavoy and legendary director John Boorman.

Film festival-goers will have the opportunity to experience sit down sessions with these stars while they are interviewed and entertain questions from the crowd. These exclusive events typically also include a screening of a film that is showing at the festival. A few highlights include:

  • John Boorman Presents Queen and Country: February 26, 7:30pm, California Theatre. Director Boorman (Deliverance, Hope and Glory, Zardoz, Excalibur, Where the Heart Lies) showcases his latest masterpiece Queen and Country at CQFF2
  • An Evening With Rosario Dawson: February 28, 7:30pm, California Theatre. A screen sensation (Top Five, Sin City, He Got Game, Do the Right Thing), singer, comic book creator, philanthropist, social activist, the multi-talented Rosario Dawson is a creative force as well as a dynamic advocate for social justice. A not-to-be-missed conversation with Ms. Dawson, moderated by Jennifer Siebel Newsom (Miss Representation), will follow the Maverick Spirit Award presentation.
Cinequest VIP Soiree Parties. Image: Mike Gendimenico
Cinequest VIP Soiree Parties. Image: Mike Gendimenico

VIP Parties

There are 11 total VIP Soirees that take place nightly from 5:00pm – 7:00pm. These are happy hour gatherings at various locations all around downtown San Jose.

Here you will be able to check out the best bars and restaurants in the area while mingling and mixing with artists, innovators and other film-goers. Small bites and various cocktails are served.

These parties are exclusive to VIP All Access pass holders.

Maverick Meet-Ups

If the late night scene is for you, be sure to check out the Maverick Meet-Ups that take place nightly from 9:30 pm – midnight. These follow a similar style to the VIP parties, except they are later and possibly with a bit more alcohol.

Cinequest Film: Clouds of Sils Maria
Cinequest Film: Clouds of Sils Maria

Cinequest Anticipated Films:

  • Champs: A riveting and inspirational look at the lives and dreams of boxing’s heaviest hitters: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins.
  • Clouds of Sils Maria: Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Kristen Stewart (Twilight) star in Director Olivier Assayas’ (Paris je t’aime) multilayered tale of the interwoven lives of three women
  • Dermaphoria: adaptation of the best selling novel, starring Joseph Morgan (The Originals), Walton Goggins (Justified), Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy), and Ron Perlman (Hellboy).
  • Gemma Bovery: Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) stars in director Anne Fontaine’s (Coco Before Chanel) charming reimagining of Gustave Flaubert’s classic Madame Bovary.
  • Kill Me Three Times: Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), and Alice Braga (Elysium) star in a sun-drenched, blood spattered Australian comedic thrill
Cinequest Film: Kill Me Three Times
Cinequest Film: Kill Me Three Times
  •  L’Atalante: a special screening of this 1934 classic from director Jean Vigo. Followed by a conversation with Richard von Busack.
  • Queen & Country: Imbued with humor, romance and nostalgia, legendary director John Boorman’s powerful post-war drama will be one of the most talked about films of the festival.
  • Slow West: Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, ParaNorman) and Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Shame) star in this elegantly crafted, modern-day western.
  • Wild Tales: produced by Pedro Almodovar (Volver, High Heels), a wild Argentinean masterpiece depicting six tales of vengeance with hilarious and catastrophic results. Screening followed by conversation with Anne Thompson. 
  • Shorts 7: Comedy Shorts – the sometimes elusive comedy genre makes a strong appearance through these short films from the US, EU and South America. 
  • Escape Program One: Shorts – this thrilling and fun series of short films will take you into new worlds in new ways. These shorts are sure to entertain all who attend.
Cinequest at the California Theatre in San Jose. Image: Mitchell Weinstock
Cinequest at the California Theatre in San Jose. Image: Mitchell Weinstock

Cinequest Tickets and Passes

Cinequest films and activities are all conveniently located in and around downtown San Jose, providing easy walking to and from activities.  If you enjoy film and are looking to be inspired, to laugh, to be thrilled, love, weep, or all of the above, there is something for you at Cinequest.

The Festival runs February 24 – March 8, 2015. Visit the Cinequest website for more information and to purchase tickets and event VIP All Access passes. Regular screening tickets start at $11 per film ($8 matinee & $6 student), and festival passes for all films start with the Film Lover Pass for $155, Maverick Pass for $250, VIP All Access Pass for $500, and express line access for another $100.

Special events, such as the opening and closing night screenings and parties are $50 and are included in some of the passes.

Audiences this year are expected to exceed 100,000, so get your tickets early, get in line early (you can purchase an express line pass) and if possible, purchase the VIP passes to ensure you will get to see every movie on your list.  You can learn more about Cinequest by watching their video trailer, or head to the Cinequest website to view the movie trailers.

Link to the PDF printed Guide


Related Story: Napa Valley Film Festival Guide

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