Cinequest Film Festival

Cinequest Film Festival
Location San Jose, California, United States of America
Founded 1990
Language English

The Cinequest Film Festival is an annual independent film festival held in San Jose, California. As one of the top discovery film festivals, this annual event highlights the work of new and existing filmmakers and the film technologies that effect film making, exhibition and distribution. Cinequest serves Maverick film artists, movie lovers and students. Each year, the festival awards its "Maverick Spirit Award" to honorees selected by the festival's organizers.

Cinequest, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 institute, produces the Cinequest Film Festival, Cinequest's Picture The Possibilities, and its distribution label, Cinequest Mavericks Studio LLC.

The next festival will take place from February 28 to March 13, 2016.

The twenty-fourth annual Cinequest Film Festival took place from March 4, 2014 to March 16, 2014. With over 2000 film submissions to Cinequest Film Festival 24, they presented 175 films from 43 countries, including 86 World, North American, and U.S. Premieres.[1][2]


Filmmakers Halfdan Hussey and Kathleen Powell founded Cinequest in 1990. The festival occupied a single theater (the Camera 3 Cinemas in San Jose) and showed 60 films during this debut event. In subsequent years, the festival has grown to a thirteen-day event, showing over 150 films and attracting over 100,000 attendees.[3] Presently, the festival screens at the California Theatre and Camera 12 Cinemas.

Cinequest Film Festival has gained a reputation as a true discovery event: Chris Gore’s Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide said you “find the future of film at Cinequest".[3]


Cinequest offers several awards during the festival season. The Maverick Spirit Awards, the Maverick Innovator Awards, and the Media Legacy Awards highlight notable individuals in film and technology. The Maverick Individual awards are given to films at the conclusion of the festival via jury and audience voting.

Maverick Spirit Awards

The Maverick Spirit Award is given to influential individuals who embody the independent and innovative mindset. It is the most prestigious award given at the Cinequest Film Festival. Over the past 24 years, Cinequest has honored the following artists:

Year Honoree
1990 Jon Jost
1992 Lena Stolze
1993 Paul Bartel
Carl Franklin
1994 Russ Meyer
Werner Herzog
John Waters
1996 Luis Valdez
1997 Jennifer Jason Leigh
1998 Kevin Spacey
Elmer Bernstein
Jackie Chan
Walter Murch
John Schlesinger
Barry Sonnenfeld
1999 Gabriel Byrne
Rod Steiger
2000 Robert M. Young
Dario Argento
Alec Baldwin
Wes Craven
Peter Fonda
2002 Lalo Schifrin
David Strathairn
Lili Taylor
Ian McKellen
2003 Stephen Frears
Lupe Ontiveros
William H. Macy
Val Kilmer
James Woods
2004 Arnold Schwarzenegger
Kurt Miller
2005 Blanchard Ryan
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Ben Kingsley
Jon Polito
2006 Edward James Olmos
2007 Stewart Copeland
Minnie Driver
Christine Vachon
J.J. Abrams
Christopher McQuarrie
2008 Michael Keaton
Danny Glover
2009 Kevin Pollak
Louis Gossett Jr.
Diablo Cody
2010 Benjamin Bratt
Deepak Chopra
Terry Zwigoff
2011 Bethany Hamilton
John Turturro
Alyson Stoner
2012 Terence Davies
Philip Kaufman
Elliott Gould
2013 Harrison Ford
Salman Rushdie
Chuck Palahniuk
2014 Neil Gaiman
Christopher Meloni
2015 John Boorman
Rosario Dawson
2016 Rita Moreno
James Franco

Maverick Innovator Awards

The Media Innovator Award honors technologists whose thoughts, methods and innovations have significantly advanced their industries, their careers, and the world.[4] Cinequest has honored the following people:

Year Honoree
2014 Marty Cooper
Matthew Modine

Media Legacy Awards

The Media Legacy Award honors film journalists, "the champions who provide audiences and, thus, life blood for artists and films".[5] Cinequest has honored the following people:

Year Honoree
2014 Kenneth Turan
Harry Knowles
Eric Kohn
2015 Anne Thompson
Richard von Busack
2016 Owen Gleiberman

Film Awards

There are several awards handed to exemplary films on the Closing Night of the festival. Films are selected either by a panel of judges or audience surveys and votes.
The most noteworthy awards are:
Top Film - Awarded to the best film in any category.
Best Documentary Feature
Best First Feature - Awarded to a director's first feature-length film they created.
Best Short Narrative Film
Audience Favorite Narrative - Awarded to the most popular narrative film by audience surveys and screening attendance.
Audience Favorite Documentary - Awarded the most popular documentary film by audience surveys and screening attendance.

Listed below are all of Cinequest's awards:

Maverick Film Competition
•Maverick Spirit Award (Feature Film)
•Best First Feature
•Best Documentary Feature
•Best Short Narrative
•Best Short Animation
•Best Short Documentary
•Best Student Short

New Visions Program
•New Visions Award (Feature Film)

Global Landscapes
•Global Vision Award (Feature Film)

Screenplay Competition
•Screenplay Award (1st, 2nd, and 3rd places recognized)

Audience Award
•Audience Award Narrative Feature
•Audience Award Documentary Feature
•Audience Award Short Film

Cinequest "Firsts"

Cinequest consistently innovates and succeeds in new ventures. Some Cinequest firsts include:

• Cinequest led the surge for the digital film making, exhibition, and distribution revolutions, showcasing and implementing technologies such as QuickTime and 24P HD cameras prior to industry adoption.
• First film institute to provide a comprehensive U.S. distribution solution for festival films – encompassing DVD, Internet, TV, and select theatrical releases.
• First independent distributor to engage in direct Internet-to-TV distribution.
• First in the world to enable online DVD/HD-quality experience of feature films.
• First festival to present coinciding live and online experiences for their audience, allowing film lovers worldwide to view festival presentations in real time.
• First festival to bring short films to handheld mobile devices.
• First festival to create and to implement its own server system for digital content.
• First festival to accept ALL digital film formats with digital projection on ALL screens.
• See Notable Debuts below for a list of actors, directors, and films that debuted at Cinequest

Notable Debuts

Independent films that premiered at Cinequest that went on to further distribution by a major movie studio:[6]

Year Films
2001 Maze
The Adventures of Barry Ween
2002 Blue Car
2003 Hukkle
Robot Stories
2004 I.P.O.
The Agronomist
The Praying Mantis
One Man Show
The Story of the Weeping Camel
2005 Accordion Tribe
The Civilization of Maxwell Bright
2006 Edmond
Thank You for Smoking
Midnight Clear
The Hamiltons
2007 The Namesake
A Dog's Breakfast
Blood Car
On the Doll
Monster Camp
2008 Dear Zachary
Sherman's Way
The Village Barbershop
The Sinking of Santa Isabel
The Art of Travel
Tokyo Sonata
El Camino
Critical Condition
Witch Hunt
Family Inc
2009 All About Dad
Billy Was a Deaf Kid
Blue Road
Heart of Stone
Historias Extraordinarias
The Nature of Existence
The Skeptic
2010 Anyone You Want
Cost of a Soul
The Desert of Forbidden Art
Gabi on the Roof in July
Hell is Other People
Kill the Habit
The Real Revolutionaries
Tercer Mundo
To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen's Journey
Invisible Strings: The Talented Pusker Sisters
2011 Mimesis
I'm Yours
2012 The Village Barbershop
The Sinking of Santa Isabel
Portrait of a Zombie
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X
Forgetting the Girl
The Harsh Light of Day
Bel Borba Aqui
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

Oscar Nominees

Several short films shown at Cinequest have received nominations for Academy Awards. In recent years, these have included

Year Films
2004 (A) Torzija
2005 Ryan (Won)
Little Terrorist
2006 Cashback
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
Our Time is Up
2011 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Won)
Wild Life
2014 "Mr. Hublot (Won)"


Daily, G. (2004). Cinequest's Maverick Approach to Streaming. Emedia—The Digital Studio Magazine, 17(6), 10-12.

External links

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