San Jose’s annual Cinequest film festival returns March 4-16 to downtown San Jose with hundreds of independent films and filmmakers, parties and presentations.
The festival will feature more than 175 films representing over 40 countries, with 86 of those films world or U.S. premiers, according to Halfdan Hussey, co-founder and director of Cinequest.
The festivities begin with an opening night ceremony at South First Billiards followed by a screening of The Grand Seduction at the California Theatre. The film is a comedy from director Don McKellar about a town that faces ruin if locals don’t convince a doctor to move in permanently.
New for this year, Hussey said the Cinequest leadership council wants to honor those who have had a profound impact on the world and have influenced those in the entertainment or technology industry with the Maverick Innovator Award—not to be confused with the festival’s Maverick award for filmmakers.
“Since its inception, Cinequest has always fused together the worlds of filmed entertainment and technology,” Hussey said. “For the inaugural year, it was obvious who should receive the award: Marty Cooper, the father of the cell phone, as one of the few people on the planet who has transformed the entire world and the culture about how humans communicate and connect. It is our honor to present him with the first Maverick Innovator Award.”
The Maverick award will be presented on March 15 to Matthew Modine, the actor who most recently played Officer Foley in The Dark Knight Rises. Modine, also know for his lead role in Full Metal Jacket, will also give a live presentation of his “appumentary” titled Full Metal Jacket Diary. It’s a smart phone app that chronicles Modine’s personal diary while in production for Vietnam War epic.
Those overwhelmed by the large amount of films presented throughout the festival might check out the “Marquee Spotlight Series” at California Theatre. The series highlights standouts and crowdpleasers in the lineup, usually with a big name actor or director attached. A series includex Words and Pictures directed by Fred Schepisi and starring Clive Owen, A Birder’s Guide to Everything with Ben Kingsley and Breathe In starring Guy Pierce and Felicity Jone, among others.
General admission for each film at Cinequest is $10, with a $5 student discount. All screenings playing Monday-Friday before 5pm will have a special matinee price of $7.
For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the event (and have a lot of time on their hands), a Cinequest movie pass grants access to all regular films and encore screenings can for $145.