Shhh... the festival’s about to begin.
Cinequest returns for its 33rd year next week, from Tuesday, Aug. 15, through Wednesday, Aug. 30. Expect a packed lineup of 300+ films — with 84 US and world premieres — festive afterparties, and panels featuring directors from 55 countries.
Now accessible at three theaters: California Theatre, Hammer Theater, and ICON Theatre in Mountain View — learn what Cinequest has in store for us this year.
The 2023 Cinequest theme is “Energized.”
“We’ve all gone through the pandemic, and it wasn’t just the health issues,” explained co-founder and CEO Halfdan Hussey. “We’re talking about global politics, wars [...] a lot of people have been drained physically, emotionally. So we’re here to celebrate [...].”
We’ll see the “Energized” theme play out through many of the thoughtfully picked features this year — think: more comedic, thrilling, and inspiring films. While we can’t name all 300 of them, Halfdan has shared a few that he’s looking forward to:
- “Egghead & Twinkie” | Thursday, Aug. 17 + Thursday, Aug. 24 | A girl embarks on a road trip to meet her online crush after coming out to her parents, and her best friend joins her on the rocky ride.
- “Share?” | Saturday, Aug. 19 + Monday, Aug. 21 | This sci-fi thriller follows a man through his discovery of realizing that he’s the main character trapped in a computer network with an unseen audience.
- “East Bay” | Sunday, Aug. 20 + Monday, Aug. 28 | Starring Constance Wu, this comedy explores the pursuit of happiness and success, and whether or not those are the ultimate goals for humans.
- “Tabula Rasa (Kora Kagazz)” | Sunday, Aug. 20 + Saturday, Aug. 26 | Meet: Divya, Vivek, and Sandhya, three individuals whose paths cross under unexpected circumstances and are challenged to fight their personal demons.
Along with the full-length films, there will also be 12 different themed programs featuring a variety of shorts about letting go, artistic creation, the future, and more.
So, where are the parties at? There will be two afterparties following the opening night of “Fresh Kills” on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 7:15 p.m., and the world premiere of “Breakwater” on Saturday, Aug. 19, 7 p.m. These two events can be purchased with your screening ticket for $30, and take place at the City View Plaza (125 S. Market St.) immediately following the screening.
There will also be two “meetup” opportunities where you can enjoy a champagne toast with artists and fellow audience members at Mountain View Showplace ICON Theatre Kitchen + Bar. These will happen after the first screening of the film “Sometimes I Think About Dying” on Thursday, Aug. 24, 7:15 p.m., and the closing night film “Story Ave” on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m.
Tickets + passes
Are you fully convinced to attend? Awesome. Here’s the ticket breakdown:
- VIP All Access Pass ($500) — enjoy all film screenings, afterparties, the Maverick Spirit Event, and a VIP lounge.
- Film Lover Pass ($179) — access all film screenings only
- Individual films ($14) — all priced the same, except for the opening night of “Fresh Kills” ($15)
We’ll leave you on one last note from Halfdan: “When you come to Cinequest, you’re going to see a quality of content that is far greater than what is currently being made and distributed en masse and in the United States [...] [it’s] such a uniquely powerful experience for people.”