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A vanguard organization set in the Silicon Valley, Cinequest’s uniqueness and impact result from being ahead of the curve in the powerful integration of creativity and technology. Cinequest fuses the world of the filmed arts with that of Silicon Valley’s innovation to empower youth, artists and innovators to create and connect - driving transformations and a better tomorrow. Cinequest does this through Cinequest Picture The Possibilities and Cinequest Film Festival.




Meet the Filmmakers - Shorts Program #1 - Thursday, March 1st

Despite every good intention, it is not always possible to attend all the screenings during the ten days of Cinequest (due to real life getting in the way), so it was late in the evening when I finally swooped into Camera 12 to view the first of the short film programs, an eclectic group called 'Mirror, Mirror'.

As I sat in the darkness, my face contorting into expressions of extreme joy or complete bewilderment, I marveled at the beauty of the short film format.

There's a lot to be said for limiting yourself to twenty two minutes or less, something we should all strive to employ in our every day lives especially when looking at computer screens or shopping for shoes. The eleven short films on display this evening ranged from introspection to open gregariousness, taking in memory loss, Fellini and skinheads along the way. Of the eleven films, two in particular drew the greatest admiration from the weekday crowd, and in a touch of sublime serendipity, both films were represented by their creators.

Firstly, I managed to chat with Amy Belling, the producer of Regarding Sarah. The director, Michelle Porter was also there, and I aim to catch up with her later on. Regarding Sarah is a profoundly moving short film about an elderly woman, Sarah (played beautifully by Gina Stockdale), who is losing her memory. In desperation, she begins to videotape every last detail of her day to day life, eventually becoming obsessive about doing so. The story unfolds with wry touches of humor and is balanced with extremely moving thoughts from Sarah, and when I feel myself welling up, then I know a film has worked.

Amy told me that the film was shot using the DVX 100 A and B cameras (See? Listen to me!) and is a Compact Films production, being their first entry into Cinequest. Their film has enjoyed considerable success around North American festivals, and is also playing in Jaipur, India. She also let on that she would be attending tomorrow's Day of the Distributor forums, noting that many filmmakers are great at telling stories, but not always so great at getting them seen - I wholeheartedly agree! If you would like to know more about their work, go to

Next up was Kurt Kuenne, whose film, Validation, premiering at Cinequest, drew a huge round of applause from the audience, and it was easy to see why; what a crowd pleaser! I found myself grinning throughout the whole story and considering the importance of smiling in the film this became quite an immersive experience.

Kurt is no stranger to Cinequest, Validation being the seventh film he has promoted here. In fact, Validation is an accompanying piece to his short, Rent a Person, which played the festival three years ago. Kurt claims that he will eventually make four films in the series, which can only be a good thing.

He is now hard at work on a documentary entitled Dear Zachary. You can find out more at

Kurt is a son of San Jose, but now lives and works in LA, although he was reminded of the easy-going nature of filming in the Bay Area when he came to shoot some pick up shots for another project. Needing a shot of a police car, he merely took his camera into the police parking lot and started rolling. As a police car drove by, the window descended and the officer waved his hand in the air, calling "Action!". In LA he would have been busted before he could say 'guerrilla style'.

Independent filmmakers. Everybody loves us.

by Neil Baker

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About Cinequest

Colon Antonea

CINEQUEST is a vanguard organization that fuses creativity with technological innovation to empower, improve, and transform the lives of people and communities.

CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL: February 28 - March 12, 2017

United States

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