The festival's opening film, Wake, left Whit and I pretty damn underwhelmed and we both hoped it would be the worst movie we'd have to watch this week. And it was. The next seven days were filled with awesome shorts, incredible docs, and a few stand out features that you all really should keep an eye out for. The first is called Billy was a Deaf Kid, a film that follows Archie and Sophie, a dysfunctional couple who spends a day hanging out with Billy, Archie's dead brother. The second was the official Academy Award Foreign Language film selection from Switzerland. The Friend (Der Freund) deals with mourning over the death of a loved one and the lengths one would go to protect a family. This is really an exceptional film that will probably get distribution before long. The third is called Blue Road, a quiet and introspective road movie about relationships and just what it takes to make one work. It takes about twenty minutes to get into the film but once it grabs you, you'll be hooked until the end credits roll.
This was my first year at Cinequest as press but my seventh as a film lover. I gotta tell you, going as press is better. Not only did we get free hotel stay, but we also got free food, free passes into any film we wanted, and the chance to meet numerous filmmakers and even have lunch with Mike, the head programmer, and Kathleen Powell, one of the festival's co-founders. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay through the first half of the festival but Jessica Trainor, the most helpful person in California, is mailing us ten screeners to help us see as many as possible. Whitney and I have been posting our reviews here so go check them out.
So, now that our week of celebrity is over, it's back to real life. This was the best Cinequest yet, for myself, at least. I'll be writing reviews for weeks now but that only means that the dream's come true. Directors are sending us their films hoping to have us write about them! We came home to seven SXSW screeners to add to the pile. Hooray for film festivals!