Cinequest conquers San Jose

Justin San Diego

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Film festival brings joy and inspiration downtown

For 13 days and 13 nights, downtown San Jose experienced the magic of cinema as filmmakers from around the world gathered to present their films.

The 24th Annual Cinequest Film Festival screened 150 films downtown from March 4 to 16. 57 of those were shorts from Picture the Possibilities.

Picture the Possibilities is an organization that has youth teaming up Silicon Valley leaders to make short, five-minute films that are displayed before a full-length film.

Neil Gaiman, a 53-year-old England native, was the recipient of the Maverick Spirit Writer, the highest honor at Cinequest.

The award is presented to someone who has no limitations and a huge impact in the film industry. Gaiman is a great choice to award because he has written many screenplays for dark-fantasy stories.

Previous recipients include Harrison Ford, Spike Lee and Kevin Spacey.

Gaiman began his career writing for several British newspapers. He created a few comic books before he became a novelist in the late 1980s.

Some of his top accomplishments are “Coraline,” “Stardust,” “Sandman,” “American Gods” and “The Graveyard Book,” all of which are books reworked into screenplays and films.

One of the Picture the Possibilities films is “Frankie’s First Impression.” A Frankenstein-looking character gets ready for a date, scares many civilians on his way to dinner and confronts someone who is obnoxiously talking on the phone at a nearby table.

The film festival is more than just movie screenings; there are several opportunities to get in touch with directors, actors, writers and other professionals.

“Filmmakers supporting each other’s work is awesome,” said director Sarah Smick. “There isn’t a competitive vibe here like at other festivals.”

VIP soirees held at lounges and restaurants offered the chance to socialize and network with the masterminds behind the Cinequest films.

The venues for all the movie screening were the California Theater, the Repertory Theater and Camera 12 Cinemas.