The March 8–15 events have been postponed to Aug. 16–30 due to coronavirus concerns. For more, see here.
The watchword at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival (March 3–15 at several South Bay venues), from its inception 30 years ago up to and including this year’s quirky bash, is “independent.”
The vision’s the thing at Cinequest, and the artist, the author, the auteur is king/queen. That doesn’t mean a program of wall-to-wall art films, mind you, as one deduces from the picturesque titles Uncle Peckerhead (Matthew John Lawrence’s heartfelt saga of a punk band with a cannibal roadie) and Fried Barry (Ryan Kruger’s frantic Cape Town travelogue, as experienced by an extraterrestrial who takes a trip inside a drug addict).
Where most programmers seek out the top films from the international festival circuit, Cinequest’s team beats the digital-video bushes for the most iconoclastic. That means an extraordinary number of world premieres, most of which will never screen again in the Bay Area. (Because they lack stars? Or aren’t commercial for other reasons? Or aren’t entirely successful? Yes.)
Cinequest’s generous audience, though, is on board for the risk and reward of checking out new, and often raw, talent. (The theme of this year’s Cinequest is “elation,” which includes the thrill of discovery.) Expect a crowd at the world premiere of Adam Mervis’ The Last Days of Capitalism, a no-holds-barred roundelay of class, power and passion between a wealthy man and a sex worker that unfolds in a Las Vegas penthouse suite. Ditto for Andre Welsh’s Disrupted (another world premiere), though moviegoers primed for an inspiring tech primer will be surprised by an Oakland parolee’s journey through the past on the trail of his wife’s killer.