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Cinequest


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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The Maverick filmmaker

In the moments before the press conference kicked off on Saturday, Jens Hussey spoke a little about the term 'maverick'. He explained that the word originated from a Texas cattleman named Sam Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle, preferring instead to let them roam free, not 'following the herd'. This is the main principle of the Cinequest Film Festival, to embrace the maverick filmmaker, to promote new innovations and artistry in film and to present the visions of filmmakers who choose not to follow the herd.

With this in mind, I would like to write about two films which have garnered polar opposite reactions, John Jeffcoat's Outsourced and Steve Staso's Celluloid #1, and argue why I believe that Celluloid #1 deserves to be in the festival, and why Outsourced does not.

Trust me, my opinion on this matter has gotten me into a whole heap of trouble, and don't get me wrong, John JeffcoatJohn JeffcoatOutsourced is a nice movie, well crafted and extremely crowd pleasing. However, in the maverick spirit of originality, I found it hollow and lacking. The clichés were flying thick and fast, reinforcing every tired old stereotype and allowing a comfortable audience in a comfortable theater an opportunity to laugh at the funny ways of Johnny Foreigner. Of course, our everyman hero learns to accept this new culture even though, despite his 'awakening', he still seems mighty pleased to rush back to Seattle. I sat in a packed theater, with an audience roaring with laughter every time someone got the runs from eating the food, and laughed once. The rest of the time I spent counting the minutes until the next, predictable, plot point.

Does this make Outsourced a bad movie? Hell, no. It is a pleasant, colorful, non-threatening romantic-comedy, and is about as maverick as a sheep – forget the cows.

The Celluloid Gang.The Celluloid Gang.Then I watched Celluloid #1, during which a good third of the audience walked out after twenty minutes. From the screeching opening to the grating camera work, this film is hard work, and it is meant to be. Staso allows the 16MM film to run out during scenes, switching formats and challenging the audience to accept what they are seeing; he refuses to follow a conventional narrative and throws images at us like barbed-wire snowballs. Of all the self-reflexive movies I have ever seen, this is the first where the DoP puts the camera down and makes out with the lead actress in frame. Julie Atlas Muz is luminous as a fragile ball-breaker, and Steve Buckley looks like he has just stepped out of one of Jim Jarmusch's nightmares. The film is intense, not audience friendly and different. And that's what makes it maverick.

For every ten Outsourced's, there is maybe one Celluloid #1, and although conventional audiences may breathe a sigh of relief, I welcome the work of artists like Staso like a breath of deliciously ripe air.

This is what gets me in trouble.

 

--Neil Baker 

Comments (2)

Someone calles me a maverick

Actually someone at warner called me a maverick I did n ot know what to think :-)
Some sort of compliment then!
Bruno Chatelin

That's definitely a

That's definitely a compliment, Bruno!

It means you are exciting, fresh and independent of the usual banality churned out by the studios these days - it sounds like I would enjoy your work!

This is a great site, thanks for letting me be a part of it,

Neil.

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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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