Friday, March 21, 2014

Jason goes to Cinequest--Closing Night

Breakfast was at 9:00 am. And I had a beer (or several) with that breakfast. Then I left to my room to actually do a little bit of my day job before I had to check out. As a result, I missed hanging out more with Matthew Modine, who showed up just as I was leaving. Oh, well.

Anyway, I was back to the lounge soon enough for a little bit of a rest more drinking as I skipped the first showings of Encore Day (the one film I had not seen in the first time slot was EAST SIDE SUSHI, which I heard great things about but I'm already planning to see at CAAMFest)

And I had a drink with my final filmmaker of Cinequest. That is, the final time I applied my "drink with me and I will see your movie" (and the third time this rule forced me to miss out on the Patrick Stewart starring HUNTING ELEPHANTS) The winning filmmaker was a producer of SLINGSHOT, so I saw this excellent documentary on the life and work (mostly the work) of Dean Kamen. If that name is familiar at all, you likely recognize him as the inventor of the Segway. But he's been an inventor for a long time, with big, big ideas. While the Segway became the butt of several jokes, he's actually still pretty proud of it (I've never actually ridden one, so maybe it is actually really cool.) He also invented the iBOT mobility wheelchair. And he founded FIRST--For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology--to get kids interested in science. And his most important project right now--and the title of the movie--is the Slingshot, a water purification device based on vapor compression distillation (i.e., evaporate water and make it rain in a tank.) The name comes from the story of David and Goliath, with the Slingshot delivering the blow that takes down either the Goliath of large government/corporate control of potable water or the Goliath of water-borne pathogens being responsible for half the illnesses in the world. Bill Clinton, incidentally, seems pretty fond of telling the story of how Dean filtered the dirtiest water he had ever seen through the Slingshot, and he enjoyed the pure, delicious water out the other end. It's a really cool story of an inspiring guy and the persistence of fighting for his invention for 15 years (and counting.) It's also a story of how corporate partnership (in this case, Coca-Cola) can sometimes work well to get things done. Now I know that Coca-Cola has not had a great record in the past with managing water resourced, particularly in their third world bottling plants. But if it comes down to a choice between partnering with an 'Evil Corporation(tm)' or not distributing your life-saving devices, I'm on Dean Kamen's side. Partner with whoever can get the job done.

Anyway, then it was time for more drinking. So I went back to the lounge and discovered that the VIP Soiree at Gordon Biersch was moved up to 4:00 (normally they start at 5:00.) So...it was more drinking their beers instead of Stella Artois (and actually, drinking margaritas was more the order of the day.)

Then finally the closing night event. I have to say, I kind of miss something they did in past years, which was to bring all of the filmmakers who were still in attendance up on stage for a standing ovation. That was back when they announced the award winners there, but this year they did that the previous evening. I can dig wanting to get to the film as quickly as possible, but this was something I always looked forward to. Anyway, I did get called out by board member Carlso Montalvo, so that was pretty awesome!

And then the movie, SMALL TIME. Al Klein (Christopher Meloni) owns a used car lot with his friend Ash Martini (Dean Norris.) He is also the proud father of a recent college graduate, Freddy (Devon Bostick.) Freddy lives with his mother (Bridget Moynahan) who is divorced from Al. And rather than go to college, Freddy wants to come work for Al at the car lot. Which for a guy who constantly feels inferior to his kid's stepfather (Xander Berkeley) that's pretty cool. And Freddy is actually pretty good at selling cars. In fact...too good. He kind of reminds the audience (and Al) of all the bad stereotypes of used car salesmen. And looking in the mirror like that, seeing your son becoming you, seeing a side of yourself you have kind of buried...that forces Al to take a tough look at himself and make some tough decisions. More importantly, this is a comedy. It's funny, especially the scenes where All and Ash are bullshitting with their friends (where Kevin Nealon has a small role) or the tricks they use to lure in a buyer. But beyond the comedy is a pretty serious and poignant story.

And then more drink. The closing party was simultaneously at neighboring bars The Farmer's Union and La Pinata. Drink drink drink, hug so many filmmakers, staff, friends. And that was finally that. I'll just end on these final words:

BEST CINEQUEST EVER!!!!

(until next year, when I'll find a way to make Cinequest 25 top it!)

Total Running Time: 192 minutes
My Total Minutes: 358,486
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