Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Batkid Begins: Opening Night at CINEQUEST 25

It's been a few busy weeks since the opening night of CINEQUEST 25, and I've just now had a moment to download my iPhone photos and drum up a few fun links to share from our crazy evening opening the Cinquest Film Festival in San Jose, California.

What an EPIC time. Sweet damn, was it ever epic.

We started the evening standing in the beautiful February air in San Jose, basking in the glow of the Marquee: "Cinequest 25 Film Festival", ready to head in and open the festival with Batkid Begins.

Here we gooooo!!! Batkid Begins kicking off the 25th CINEQUEST Film Festival!
Ted (who owns "the" Batmobile from the Batkid Day), arrived in style :)
Welp, this is exciting
After a short wait, we all headed inside and began to crowd around the Red Carpet. We took some photos and a few of us did some interviews. That rocked. This documentary is such an excellent platform to further spread the message of banding together with other determined people to make your community a better place... I gladly took the opportunity to continue spreading our message!

Me, Rob (Animation), Jake (Cinematography), about to walk the red carpet
Dana knocking interviews out of the park
Let the games begin!
Me, talking animatedly about... something :)
"Rock and Roll": Ted, Patricia and Me
Patricia showing off the Bat-Clutch
You know, doing our thing!
I don't have the CBS 5 KPIX interview, but here's some video from The Daily Quirk of Patricia and I chatting about the Batkid day:

After some photos and chatting with some interviewers, we headed into the wondrous and beautiful California Theatre just in time for CINEQUEST founder Halfdan Hussey to introduce the 25th Season and our Opening Night Film: Batkid Begins.

The opening night of CINEQUEST 25
The sold-out 1200-person screening was an amazing success and it was just a pleasure to watch it with such a large crowd -- a crowd much larger than anyone I'd seen it with prior (including Slamdance). People were incredibly gracious and kind afterwards and it was a really great experience.

After the screening, Cast and Crew all went up on stage and answered some questions.

Cast and Crew on stage after the screening
Sold out crowd!
Cast and Crew
Laughing with Patricia and Don
And of course, back to the red carpet to fool around and have fun with the cameras, but also to do some more serious chats and take some more photos.

CBS 5 KPIX interview with Patricia
Looking on in awe at the living legend, Patricia Wilson :)
A little blurry, but good :)
Selection of Batkid Cast and Crew: Dave, Dana, Me, Kurt, Naomi
And that was that! An amazing opening night and a really stellar crowd of filmgoers. From there, we all headed over to the After Party at The Farmers Union. It was incredibly well organized, the food was glorious, the drinks were flowing... and most excitingly, the people were just SO jazzed about the message in the movie. That, to me, was the most exciting part. Lots of folks came up and were keen to chat, but not just to take selfies... but to actually chat about what the Batkid day means, if other cities could follow San Francisco's lead, how community service has been changed by social media. I had a stack of wonderfully inspiring conversations with inspired, smart, passionate people. Isn't that just exactly what the Bay Area is ALL about?!!

And... time for a beer
Batkid Begins Cinequest Opening Night After Party
 And then, of course, the After-After Party...

...and then Joe and I took a Lyft to a Jack In The Box drive-through for 2am dinner. Dave very psyched about the curly fries.
What an incredible evening and I am so grateful that CINEQUEST chose the film to open the festival. It was a real joy and a pleasure to be there and to take part, and the audience really was top-notch, as evidenced by all the conversations with folks afterwards. CINEQUEST, take a bow!

Sal Pizarro from San Jose Mercury News posted an awesome article following the evening (where he introduces me as "an exuberant engineer at Lucasfilm" -- haha):

IndieWire also mentions the film:

And perhaps my favourite article was this review by Artsalot:, showing just how much people in the Bay Area "get it", and understand exactly the message I think the movie portrays so powerfully. I love this city!

​What an amazing and truly crazy time. I was so honoured to have been there with the (majority of the) cast and crew. What an experience to all have together as we continue to share this beautifully captured moment-in-time with the world. :)

This was my third time seeing the movie in a theatre and I'm still overwhelmed with feelings of "being there"-- it really does transport me back to the big day and the visuals and editing and music and sound effects and animation all play so perfectly together. I can't imagine any possibility of anyone telling this story more eloquently than Dana and Kurt did.

Thanks again to CINEQUEST and to Dana, Liza, Kurt and Ian and the rest of the cast and crew for making this a night to remember!

To tie a bow on an already perfect gift... on  March 10th, CINEQUEST announced some more epic news...
The votes are finally tabulated…and the AUDIENCE WINNERS for Cinequest 25 are:

Traces of Sandalwood
Director: Maria Ripoll

Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World
Director: Dana Nachman


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