WORD ON THE STREET:  NEWS AND NOTES FROM CINEQUEST 15 Image

At a press conference yesterday, Cinequest announced the winners of its Viewers Voice contest, where 20,000 members of the general public screened and voted on movies to be included in the festival’s program; they wound up with four features and four shorts, which will screen throughout the 12-day event. The winners are:

Features:

1. Mission Movie (dir. Lise Swenson, Adriana Montenegro)

2. Freedom From Despair (dir. Brenda Brkusic)

3. Guy in Row Five (dir. Jonathon E. Stewart & Phil Thurman)

4. Vanilla (dir. Joseph Graham)

Shorts:

1. Neck Deep (dir. Todd G. Bieber)

2. The Big Race (dir. Phil Aupperle)

3. Barbara Jean (dir. Mischa Livingstone)

4. A Reasonable Hypothesis (dir. Jack Ferry)

No word yet on whether these films are any good; all I know is the dude from “Guy in Row Five” bears an uncanny resemblance to Dermott Mulroney (or is that Dylan McDermott?) and has been walking around in a leather cowboy hat all weekend.

It didn’t take long to remember that sleep deprivation + hangover + spending six consecutive hours in a dark movie theater with plush recliner seats = ideal conditions for napping through a boring shorts series. But thank god for the Starbucks on every corner – the alertness comes in handy when `trying to read three hours’ worth of Norwegian subtitles.

Film festival people still aren’t sick of movies about movies. This year alone there’s a short about a video store clerk that’s actually an actor in a film within a film within a dream within a film within a play within a TV show being watched in the video store (Stop!); a whip-smart spoof that rips off “Pulp Fiction”, “Swingers”, “Amelie”, “The Good Girl”, “Secretary” and every other big Sundance flick (“My Big Fat Independent Movie”); and a surreal short about a guy trying to escape a pair of tormentors that interact with him through his TV set (Cinequest vet Simon Ellis’ “What The”). I can’t wait to see the documentary documenting the making of “The Making of the Documentary you’re Currently Watching.”

You know you’re at Cinequest if …

… every fifteen minutes, like clockwork, someone somewhere says “maverick.”

… a dozen squad cars pull up at 2 a.m. and police in riot gear seize the streets to usher everybody out of the clubs (and they wonder why the nightlife in San Jose blows).

… at last call at the Paragon, the director of that short asks you to go back to his room and “check out his EPK.”

… you’re never more than 150 feet away from a Starbucks.

… you can’t find a breakfast place to save your life.

… a debate on the merits of shooting on 24P versus Super 16 passes as flirting.

… at every party, there’s a token guy with an accent. He is almost always Eastern European and really, really ridiculously good-looking, and people introduce him as the “composer” or “cinematographer” even if he’s just “the really, really ridiculously good-looking guy I bring to help me get laid at film festivals.” (It’s true, vague accents are total chick magnets.)

Stay tuned for more Cinequest news in the coming week.

Maya Kroth is music editor for SignOnSanDiego.com, a frequent contributor to SF Weekly and a big fan of indie films and the greasy-haired boys that make them.

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