Cinequest returns for its 27th annual film festival from February 28th to March 12th. This year’s theme, “Elevate,” speaks both to the power of film to elevate culture through creativity and community and to the approach that Cinequest takes to challenges that have faced the festival over the years. As co-founder Halfdan Hussey explained at the media launch event this year, Cinequest strives to rise above challenges by doing more, not less. Many have wondered how Cinequest would manage the loss of Camera 12 in downtown San Jose. Cinequest’s response? More screenings at more venues.
Fully utilizing the palatial California Theatre and the newly renovated Hammer Theatre Center for an increased number of screenings, Cinequest will also be expanding to CinéArts at Santana Row and Cinemark Century 20 in Redwood City. Additional event programming will be held at Uchida Hall on the San Jose State campus, Fairmont San Jose, San Jose Stage Company, and Anno Domini, among others.
Cinequest has remained close to its Silicon Valley roots by highlighting and celebrating technological innovations in the film industry. This year, Cinequest turns its focus to virtual reality. In fact, the full name of the festival is now Cinequest Film and VR Festival. The possibilities and challenges of virtual reality as a storytelling medium will be explored in cinema experiences, panel discussions, workshops, and immersive experiences.
Named “Best Film Festival” by USA Today readers, Cinequest is a place to connect with fellow film lovers while enjoying 129 world and U.S. premieres and meeting over 700 presenting artists and innovators. The 2017 Maverick Spirit winners are actress Jane Lynch (Glee) and producer-writer-director Jason Reitman (Juno). Other highlights include the opening night screening of the comedy The Last Word, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried (pictured), followed by post-screening festivities at The Farmers Union and the closing night screening of the beautifully crafted The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring the two-time Academy Award-nominated Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, and Johan Heldenbergh.
The complete line-up, as well as tickets and passes, can be found on the Cinequest website.