Cinequest returns this summer with a personal festival

Cinequest returns to downtown San Jose in August, more than two years after the film festival was halted midway through its final in-person event at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it will be a great experience,” said co-founder and festival director Halfdan Hussey. “The great thing about Cinequest is that you get people from all walks of life together to experience film. It will be fun and joyful to be together again.”

I’ve often said that going to Cinequest every year is like going to a movie nerd family reunion, and you should expect it to feel even more so – even with some new twists. With the event August 16-29, this marks the first time in 32 years of Cinequest to be held in summer, and the festival takes advantage of the climate by adding an outdoor beer and wine garden.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNI - MARCH 4: Cinequest founders Kathleen Powell and Halfdan Hussey discuss the history and future of the festival, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in San Jose, California (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Cinequest founders Kathleen Powell and Halfdan Hussey at the festival’s final in-person event in March 2020. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

The festival will also make use of well-known downtown San Jose venues – the California Theater, 3Below Theaters and the Hammer Theater Center – but the final five days of screenings will be at the Pruneyard Cinemas in Campbell, which includes the opportunity to see encore shows. and make the scene in the Cedar Room lounge.

But one thing that remains the same is Cinequest’s core mission to introduce new movies and filmmakers to Silicon Valley audiences. Hussey said the festival really wants to emphasize how special it is to see the 56 world and US premieres this year. And there will also be filmmakers and stars in person back, including the winners of this year’s Maverick Spirit Award: comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan will be honored after the premiere of his film ‘Linoleum’, while actor Alison Brie will receive her award 17. August along with the screening of “Spin Me Round,” which she co-wrote with director Jeff Baena.

Hussey says COVID-19 is being managed well enough today that he doesn’t expect a repeat of 2020, when the festival pulled the plug after its first week — and well before Santa Clara County was shut down. For the past two years, the public has remained engaged with Cinejoy – a virtual spin-off of Cinequest that Hussey says will continue as its own separate online event. “I’m very proud that before it became mandatory, we made the decision to protect our community,” he said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Tickets and passes for the festival are already on sale and the program is on www.cinequest.org

VEEP VISITS LOS GATOS: There was quite a bit of commotion in the southeastern hills of Los Gatos on Thursday, caused by a column of police cars and motorcycles and SUVs bearing American flags – followed by news reporters, of course. That’s what happens when Vice President Kamala Harris comes through town. She was on her way to a big fundraiser hosted by Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott and his wife, Shannon.

Los Gatos resident Marguerite Padovani watched it all pass and waved to Harris, who immediately waved her back. The vice president no doubt feels much better in the friendly atmosphere of the Bay Area than Washington, D.C.

CELEBRATE IN THE MISSION CITY: Santa Clara’s All-City Picnic returns to Central Park for July 4 this year, featuring food trucks, games and live entertainment from the Santa Clara Performance and Elite dance teams, as well as music from the Cocktail Monkeys and the Pop Rocks. The International Swim Center is also open if you want to buy a day pass to cool off. The fun starts at 12:00 PM and lasts until 5:00 PM. And that early finish means no fireworks show this year there’s plenty in the valley to choose from, including shows at California’s Great America, San Jose’s Almaden Lake Park, and Discovery Meadow.

COMMON MISSION: Via Services, headquartered in Santa Clara, will partner with peninsular-based AbilityPath to create a new, combined, nonprofit organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities. The new organization will be based in Redwood City, but will have 15 locations across the Peninsula and South Bay.

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