Cinequest film fest launches Cinejoy films online

Screenings give viewers chance to see Cinequest offerings canceled in March

Cinequest, the Silicon Valley film festival celebrating its 30th birthday, is back in an online incarnation running Oct. 1-14.

Dubbed Cinejoy, the programming includes two formats. The Showcase has 116 features, shorts and television offerings, with special content, that may be viewed anytime. The Spotlight includes 14 live events at scheduled times.

Most of the movies were part of the two-week Cinequest lineup in San Jose and Redwood City in March, which was shut down midway due to the pandemic.

Noting that this month’s roster has about 25 percent new films, Kathleen Powell, Cinequest co-founder, said of Cinejoy, “It’s really about making sure everybody has a chance to see these films and great artists that were part of March, when we all got hit with COVID — and it’s planning for the future. I think we’ll always have an online component moving forward.”

Among the Showcase programs, available through Oct. 5, is the documentary “ruth weiss: beat goddess,” about the Beat poet who escaped Nazi Germany and died at age 92 in July. Weiss, then 91, accepted a Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award when the film screened at Cinequest in March, and a video of that event is included in the Cinejoy presentation.

Another Showcase film of note, says Powell, is “Port of Destiny: Peace,” about Juan Manuel Santos, the former Colombian president and Nobel Prize winner who risked his political life in efforts to attain peace. The film is accompanied by a talk by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, who has been honored with a Cinequest visionary award, and media executive Pattie Sellers, co-founder of the Fortune Most Powerful Women ranking.

A highlight Spotlight film is the closing feature, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” about the beloved, late Georgia congressman known for more than 60 years of civil rights activism, which streams at 5:30 p.m. Oct.14.

Spotlight shows begin at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 with the documentary “The Reunited States” by Ben Rekhi, which details the varied journeys of optimists on a mission to bridge the current political divide in America. Powell calls it “such a timely movie about what’s ripping our country apart right now.”

Powell remains optimistic about Cinequest’s future. She and the festival’s team are busily working on plans for 2021 and 2022, combing through thousands of submissions and developing community programs that are a vital part of the offerings.

Cinejoy ticket prices range from $4 to $12. To access the programs, register at creatics.org/cinejoy.

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