cinequest: an unlikely love

cinequest is here again! my annual (and one and only) cinematic crush has returned and i fully intend to blow a big chunk of my paycheck on tickets to as many films as i can get my little hands on.

are you confused by that? you should be. if you know me at all, you know that i don’t really like movies. i usually find most them predictable, boring, and much too long for my very very short attention span–much to the chagrin of every guy i have ever dated. i usually see a grand total of four movies a year. but oddly enough, i LOVE cinequest. my feelings for san jose’s film festival (pretty much our only great cultural event) are kinda serious. i don’t love it as much as hockey or boys with floppy hair… it’s closer to my affinity for diet cherry coke. but it doesn’t make sense at all.

maybe it’s because i like the emphemerality of it. i cannot tell you the name of any films i have ever seen at cinequest, nor have i ever seen any one of them ever again. i don’t even know the name of the film whose director i questioned during a post-screening Q&A about the significance of his soundtrack choices; he later thanked me for picking up on that nuanced element. i think the idea of impermanence (a concept that trapped me after seeing a film at cinequest in 2004 or 2005) makes them so much more enjoyable, like little one-night-stands with a film. wham, bam, thank you ma’am!

maybe it’s because i’m a total hipster? hipsters love film festivals. today someone told me i looked like the fairy godmother of hipster girls, zooey deschanel (to be entirely fair, it was my friend’s mom, which doesn’t add to my hipster cred very much). you know who would love cinequest? zooey deschanel.

cute coat: check. hair flower: check. cinequest tickets: CHECK.

maybe it’s the fact that it’s so damn nichey. i had this conversation today:

me: i’m going to see a movie this weekend that has my favourite hungarian actor in it.
friend: you have a favourite hungarian actor? what’s he been in?
me: hungarian films! he doesn’t speak english.

one of the films i am looking forward to most is a horror film set in 1665 new france (that’s quebec, people) called The Hair of the Beast (Le Poil de la Bete). the tagline is “It’s going to take a priest to save a village…from werewolves.” how could you not want to see that!?! how could you even think up that concept?! and since it’s at cinequest, i know it’s not going to be overproduced. it might actually be good!

actually, i know what it is that makes me love cinequest. it’s because i like what cinequest stands for. cinequest is all about the maverick, which i think is code for “people who have given up everything to make their dreams come true”. the people who write, produce, direct, and act in the films at cinequest are students, professional filmmakers in countries with barely an economy to speak of (yet somehow boast a burgeoning film scene), established hollywood actors who take on special projects they believe in, documentarians devoted to opening minds, and overall, dedicated artists. the people involved with the films at cinequest have to make huge sacrifices in order to see their vision realised, and who are kinda like…me. and you. people who want to do great things, and work hard to do them. this is their chance to shine and to be recognised for all their hard work, and i truly enjoy fêting them.  i cannot wait until i can see my friends at cinequest running their own post-screening Q&As, watching their names appear on the screen (or perhaps even mine), seeing their dreams come true. (i just teared up at that…but you knew that was coming. i cry at the postseason montages at sharks games, too).

so cheers to you, cinequesting folks. i’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve made for us.

for more info, check out, or my friend morgan’s blog, cinequesting.


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