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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.

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Meet the Filmmakers - Wednesday, February 28th

There is always an expectorant buzz surrounding San Jose's Cinequest Film Festival, and this 17th outing is no different. Following Halfdan's rabble rousing, and Mira Nair's stunning The Namesake, it was off to the Paragon for the opening salvoes of vodka laced networking.

As a Brit, happily transplanted to California, I am especially interested in the European content on show here this year and, combining this with my love of short films, actively began my hunt for interesting filmmakers. My first catch of the day was the delightful Nicola Clayton, producer of Free Range and newly arrived to promote her short film. Free Range is accompanying Long Pigs, and as both films deal with the gastronomic delights of cannibalism, I was eager to learn more. Free Range is directed by Steve Friendship and both he and Nicola hail from the British Midlands, Leicester and the Peak District respectively. Free Range was shot in Sheffield, which some of you may remember was the backdrop to The Full Monty. The short was co-financed by The UK Film Council and EM Media, and filmed using the Panasonic DVX 100 (my DV camera of choice). I'll be reviewing both Free Range and Long Pigs later in my blog.

In the mean time, I asked Nicola for her first impressions of the festival. She was blown away by the friendliness of the folks in attendance, and the positive atmosphere virtually lighting up the town. Nicola, along with everyone else I spoke to, thought the California Theater was a beautiful venue for an opening night film, and that the festival has uniqueness to it. She also mentioned how good the cheese was. I was inclined to agree, as I snatched yet another stick of meat from a passing server, and chewed over the idea of a cannibalistic double bill.

This is going to be a fun festival.

Free Range and Long Pigs are playing on Friday March 9th at 10:00Pm and Saturday March 10th at 12 midnight.

As the night danced on into the late evening at the Paragon, I was lucky enough to bump into Shelly Prevost, the award winning director of Isn't it Obvious?

Shelly's short film dealt with the real life case of the murder of Gwen Araujo, a local transgender woman. Following on from her success with this short film, Shelly has directed the documentary Trained in the Ways of Men, which further investigates the crime, the following court case and the effects on all families involved. Trained in the Ways of Men will be playing on Saturday 10th at 7:45 PM and Sunday 11th at 4:45 PM and promises to be an engaging and powerful film. Shelly told me that Gwen's mother and family are expected to attend the premiere screening on Saturday, and this will be their first time viewing the film.

Shelly was assisted on this feature by Heidi Valaine who provided the cinematography and Lars Hidde who composed the original score. Lars and Heidi will be familiar to regular Cinequest goers, and this year Lars has scored no less than three of the films on exhibition this year.

If you would like to learn more about Trained in the Ways of Men, please go to www.reelfreedom.com; Shelly welcomes any comments you would like to leave at the bottom of her website page.

by Neil Baker

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About Cinequest

Colon Antonea
(Cinequest)

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


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