2004: The Garcias
...a.k.a. Cinequest: The Christopher J. Garcia Awards
for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Maverick Filmmaking
Excellence, but as a title for an article, it took up just
too much space.
Cinequest, the San Jose Film Festival, is now over, and fellow
FanboyPlaneteer Jason Schachat is sleeping it off as I type
this. The entire festival was fantastic, with amazing films,
incredible people, and a series of parties that my body will
be recovering from until early May. And so, with all that
in mind, here are Christopher J. Garcia's Best of Cinequest
Party- Closing Night Gala at Blake's Steakhouse.
Here's a cool formula: take a classy restaurant, rent it out
and have Hometown Buffet provide food. The food was good and
the conversation was even better. Lively singing, an incredible
amount of booze, a ton of startling comedic bits, and everyone
went home having had a good time. My favorite part of these
parties? Cleavage ahoy!
Performance- Live Musical: Patrice Goodman of the short
film Eden's Wake. Closing Night Party, I'm there with
a ton of my running mates, and Patrice comes and has a seat.
She mentions she was a singer, and I press for a song, recommending
Fly Me To The Moon, and Patrice obliges. Mary, Sweet Mother
of God, that girl has pipes. She put out a fantastic rendition,
right on table side and blew me way out of the water, along
with the rest of the table who were allowed to enjoy my personal
song. The drunken hammering of TV themes that followed was
Performance- Feature Film: Jason rambled on about
the film, but Kevin Howarth of The
Last Horror Movie was absolutely riveting in his role
as the man in close-up for the fine British film. A big hand
to the man for being able to pull off what few actors ever
get to even try: talking to the camera and keeping it interesting.
Incredibly Short Performances in a Short and a Feature: Kate
Kelton in Eden's Wake and Ham & Cheese.
The unbelievably adorable Kelton had small roles in both these
Canadian entries, but alas, not a line in either. She did
work wonders with the make-up brush in Ham & Cheese,
Next Best Thing to Porn: Arakimentari by Travis
Klose. A documentary on the controversial photographer
Nobuyoshi Araki, Arakimentari could be called the Film
of a Thousand Vaginas. They're everywhere through the
film, but still, it remained a highly watchable, and quite
funny, work of non-fiction.
Must-See Film: Awful Normal by Celesta Davis. This
was a powerful piece of work. Davis and her sister were both
molested in 1978, and as a part of Celesta's therapy, she
made a film in which she confronted the man who abused them.
This is a powerful documentary. There were better films at
the fest, but none of them had as much power as Awful Normal.
A raw emotional experience that everyone should see. This
is the film that I would most like to see get distribution.
Short- Animated: There are so many choices, but the
obvious one for me was Bid 'Em In by Neal Sopata. A
beautiful piece of animation based around a song by Oscar
Brown Jr. It's a sledgehammer, putting a slave auction into
two powerful minutes. It's a must see. You can find more info
Short- Live Action: Rent-A-Person by Kurt Kuenne.
Kurt Kuenne is a legend from DeAnza College's film department,
and he has made several great films. In this short, we are
treated to the story of a restroom attendant who starts a
company to provide ride-along passengers to allow commuters
to use the LA Carpool lanes. The comedy is great, but it's
also a musical and it stars Angelina Jolie's brother!
Documentary: One Man Show: A Musical Documentary by Ira
Rosensweig. There were tons of great docs, with Aging
Out and Imelda being two of serious note, but One
Man Show takes the cake as the top in my eyes. Documenting
the life of New York Lottery Winner and Cabaret performer
John Falcon, One Man Show is a look at Falcon's life both
before and after the win. Though brilliantly shot and amazingly
edited, the star of the show is Falcon.
awesome renditions of classics in his one man show A Short
Puerto Rican Guy Sings Songs of Angst, to his dinner with
an obvious mooch, Falcon is amazingly entertaining. A great
Narrative Feature: Dorian Blues. The World Premiere
of this hilarious film was held at Cinequest and was introduced
by the maid from Will & Grace. It was a great coming of
age story about Dorian Logatos, a stereotypical gay teen struggling
with a Dad who can't seem to come to grips with whatever his
son chooses. It's funny, it's sad, it's touching. It's the
type of film that can get away with having a hooker with a
heart of gold who also does dead on imitations of Billy Holliday
and Patsy Cline. Wonderful.
all from another Cinequest. Keep an eye open for news from
the Sonoma Valley Film Festival the first week of April, and
for reviews of shorts and docs from around the world.