2005: The Garcias
...a.k.a. Cinequest: The Christopher J. Garcia Awards
for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Maverick Filmmaking
Excellence. This marks Garcia's third year handing out these
awards, and if any of you attended Cinequest this year and
brought your family of billy goats, we apologize for any
siblings Garcia may have devoured.
This year’s Cinequest was a great time, a great crowd
and a great fest. I can’t say I’ve been to a
better one in my five years. While there were significant
differences from previous years for myself, including seeing
only 3 total documentaries and having a film showing, it
was still a hugely entertaining time at the movies.
of that, now let’s get down to the Unofficial stuff
Movie Promotional Materials
Let’s start with a tie. In every introduction bag
a simple bottle, exactly like a prescription pill bottle,
lay among the coffee and instructions. The bottle was full
of mints and was labeled to promote the film Side Effects.
Producer Holly Mosher is a Cinequest veteran and knows the
tricks of the trade. The other great premium had to be the
duck call given out by the makers of the film Duck.
Wonderful sounds of joy were made with these little calls.
Sadly, I got no duck call to call my own nor a chance to
see their film.
While I exchanged a few words with Laura “No, Jack
Black didn’t come with me” Kightlinger, I did
get a chance to chat with the lovely Sara Rue. Her film,
Barbara Jean, was a Viewer’s Voice winner
and was a good little flick. We talked about my upcoming
book, Friday Night with Popcorn, which opens with
a line of Sara’s from Can’t Hardly Wait.
Protests. Two films, The Search for The Captain
and Missionary Positions, attracted protestors.
Missionary Positions, the documentary about xxxchurch.com
and the anti-porn crusade of two friends, was small and
average. The Search for the Captain, the story
of a statue that was shelved for 15 years due to protests,
attracted another pair of protests. The film I produced,
The Chick Magnet, showed with The Search for
the Captain, and we heard that there was gonna be a
protest, so we hijacked it the first time and held up signs
that mocked the real political discourse. It was my best
idea ever. The signs read everything from ‘Goth’
written in black on a black posterboard, to ‘I’m
Not Protesting’. We were far louder than the real
protest and the second round for the real protestors brought
out an accordion player and a few folks to put on a little
entertainment, just in case we decided to repeat our smart-assery.
Closing Night Gala always wins this one. Lots of filmmakers,
tons of people mingling, great food and lots of booze. This
year had the highlight of my announcement to run for Mayor
of San Jose on the platform of rebuilding the city’s
legendary Light Tower.
now the real movie awards...
Performances in a Feature Film
Patrick Warburton and Marie Matiko in The Civilization
of Maxwell Bright
Patrick Warburton is the brutally sexist and abrasive Max
Bright. Matiko is his Chinese Mail Order Bride. Max goes
through hell and gives a performance that is not Bad Guy
Made Good, but likable Bad Guy Made Real. Such a great film
and two of the strongest performances I’ve seen in
Short Narrative Film
The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and his Little Friend.
Jason Winer’s film is a fantastic comedy that
tells the story of a pair of friends who have incredibly
different lives though they are best friends. There is also
the hottest half-geek chick in it which made it even better.
A beautiful comedy.
This Swiss film is hilarious on several levels. The story
is so brilliant: a guy is mistaken for a famous Argentine
filmmaker and falls for an actress and then decides to make
a film to get close to the actress and has another group
of film students follow him making a documentary. They play
with the form and make some good references along the way.
Strong strong film.
Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth.
Director Phil Di Fiore made a documentary about the P-Funk/Talking
Heads keyboard player Worrell and it was nearly the top
documentary over-all in the fest. Featuring interviews with
David Byrne, Mos Def, William “Booty” Collins,
and producer Bill Laswell, Stranger is an amazing tale of
a guy who has changed music with his mad scientist approach
Norway comes through again with this story of David, an
employee at a local gym who runs afoul of his bosses and
the local Pakistani mob. This is brutal at times, and touching
at moments. The whole film just powers through the emotions
of the audience and leaves no question as to the impact
that it has on the viewer. Star Aksel Hennie also directs
and proves that he’s the Norwegian Orsen Welles.
Wow. A documentary this good should be in every art house
around the world. Accordion Tribe is part-Tour
Film, part-love letter to the instrument. This Accordion
Tribe consists of five accordion virtuosos and composers.
Led by New Yorker Guy Klucevek, the five of them all have
different styles and passions. The highlight is Otto Lechner.
This blind Jazzbo is so deep and interesting that he takes
over any time he’s in frame. Plus he’s a throat
singer! The soundtrack is perfect too, as long as you can
tolerate the reedy sound of the accordion. This is a wonderful
film that you must see if you get the chance.