Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival 2020 Preview – Princess Picks

What time is it? It’s nearly time for Cinequest  time (March 3 – 15)!  I’ve ordered a fresh parallel universe with lots of extra hours and a veritable plethora of coffee to keep me fueled for a fantastic 2 weeks of film being squeezed in between actual adulting! Below are my “Princess Picks” also known as films I’ve chosen (as I do every year) via the relatively arbitrary method of flipping through the festival guide and seeing what sparks my interest.It’s as good a system as any and has served me relatively well in the past. This year, while the festival theme is “elation” the films I am being drawn to most appear to have a thread of reflection, education and self realization/care/analysis. In no particular order, here are the Princess Picks…

Tom of Your Life

I have very often seen films who highlight a person living forever or for a long time and all the complications associated with that. Never have I seen a film where a baby is born and ages 4 years every hour. Brilliant. Potentially hilarious. Definitely dramatic/poignant. The concept is to tight, I am compelled to see if the end product is the run away festival hit I think it could absolutely be. So much potential. My fingers are crossed, I can’t see this one soon enough to be honest.

Where Is Nancy?

This film almost certainly will be the front runner for my personal tear jerker film of the festival. A vivacious woman with early onset Alzheimer foes missing….there’s a lot a hate about that, but as we know art can be cathartic. There’s some hope in this Documentary though teased at at least. It’s a topic I think more and more folks are becoming personally acquainted with and I think there is healing in sitting in an audience of folks intimate with the subject. With loads of trepidation and hope, I’m in for this journey.


This film from Norway hints at a style and aesthetic of 2014’s PERSONAL FAVORITE ” Kiss Me You Fucking Moron! I am nearly always very entertained by the film’s Cinequest hosts out of Norway. I haven’t been able to articulate way, but something in their humor is extremely amusing to me. I’ve never been shy about a coming of age story either, despite plots being very redundant and predictable. Still, I’m excited about this film and what twists and fresh angles it may present.

Ms. Diagnosed

most every year there is a film at Cinequest where I literally say out loud “huh, I never thought of that” and then I proceed to be schooled. Such was this film’s description “Almost all medical research is performed on men, even though genetic differences between men and women can matter greatly when it comes to healthcare.” Aside from a very clever title which I very much appreciate, I couldn’t help but wonder what else I could learn in this film and how it could personally effect me as a woman and as my mother’s primary health advocate.

The Longest Wave

This past year I started training (swimming, core strength, balance etc.) in order to fulfill a dream I have had since I was 12. At 44 I decided I wanted to finally learn to surf. It’s an experience I have long, long wanted to try and have always found obstacles to trying. If I am honest, I think I’m drawn to this film specifically because in my life, at this moment, I want to know what it feels like to be in the arms of the ocean. But I’m also taken by the idea of obstacles and overcoming them in every sense of the word. This may be a film heavy on the inspiration porn, but I’m hoping for more substance as it follows Robby Naish through is successes and setbacks.

Faraway Eyes

I haven’t gone on an actual date (that I know of)  in about a decade. I’m generally perturbed by the way people date these days and how the think they have to find each other and how poorly people read body language and how no one seems to understand romance and commitment and… well… I could go on, but that’s probably why in part, I’m happily single. I was more than a tad bemused at this film’s premise on being forced to date when you’re dead as a way to reach to the next level. Even dead you can’t escape the limbo/purgatory of trying to connect to people that don’t seem to bring out one’s better self … it resonated. It’s a comedy. It has my attention. Maybe I can find a date to come with me for this one.


I did not know Marcel Marceau helped to save thousands of children orphaned at the hands of Nazis. I stopped reading there. I already want to see this movie. Simple as that. Sure they are also giving Jesse Eisenberg a Maverick Spirit Award before this closing night selection screening, but honestly… I’m just loving that story-line… and sometimes that’s all it takes.

The Whale and the Raven

The two most memorable tragedies of my childhood were the Challenger  shuttle explosion and the Exxon Valdez. With regard to the latter, images of oil clogged shores and struggling animals are burned into my brain. despite the significance of that event and the impact it had on the environment, I don’t know how much (if any) the spill actually changed business. Aside from traumatic memories, I don’t know how much damage oil actually does. This film promises to explore the relationship of Canadian oil tankers and the environment as well as the native people of the Douglas Channel. It seems an opportunity for a more educated outlook on a global industry, community, traditions and the natural word. I’m also a sucker for a raven, so I’m hoping for some literal views and not just metaphorical when it comes to the title.

Born to Be 

I think unity is on our minds a lot these days. Especially with a country so loudly divided on so many levels, I actively look for opportunities to  understand different perspectives and experiences. As a straight, cis woman, I can’t authentically empathize entirely with those who have more complex or even just different gender identity challenges, but I find it fascinating and I admire those that are dedicated to making transitions easier for those that need them. We have the technology, the psychology, and every improving support for individuals looking to reassign gender and this film takes a look at the people on both sides of those complex procedures.

Opposite Direction

I’m not sure I know what this film is about from the description. It seems to have a lot going on. What I do know is that big screens and Venezuela peak my interest. South American landscapes are some of my favorite and I’m up for a visual travel excursion even if the themes and plots aren’t my cup of tea. This is likely going to be a film to just feel along and think deep later… take in the beauty and poetry and then try to decipher the meanings out of the abstract afterwards.

My Year of Living Mindfully

As one of strong mind and also of a strong sense that while control is great and mind over matter is incredible, we all have very little control when it comes to our health. There are so many different paths to healthy and I’ve always been intrigued by the developments in mind-body medicine. The placebo effect. The power of zen. The science behind why meditation, movement, and mystical methods work. This Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award recipient looks to be a great way to spend 96 minutes!


AS suggest by the write up on this film, I can relate to this twisted comedy by way of my strong – nay nearly herculean – aversion to impoliteness. My list of ways in which I would like to punish  those lacking manners, consideration, compassion and common sense is long. I’m not sure this film will deliver, but some cathartic justice would be just the thing if it does what I think it will. Death to jerks, bullies and narcissists! I’m taking my 80 year old mom to this, we can grumpy fist wave together maybe.


Finally, a film that addresses some of the problems of time travel.  Not just the butterfly effect things, I’m talking the whole “we can’t handle the truth” mental and physical effects of things much larger than our brains can comprehend and endure. This one is going to be dark I fear, but I thin it’s worth a look at for different approach to one of my favorite sci-fi genres.


Every year I make sure to see at least 3 of the shorts offerings. It’s always a treat to get to see so many stories told in so many ways in a single sitting. These films are short on time but long on lasting impression.  My picks I make a point of squeezing in typically include Animated, Comedy and Docs, and this year is no exception. I am ESPECIALLY excited to see Sam Frazier of The Ghost Pepper Eating Contest of Jefferson County fame (2014) with his latest comedy short The Tall Bike Joust!

Silent Cinema – The Mark of Zorro

Every year I’m genuinely thrilled to experience the epic beginning of film, surrounded by the best accompanist your generous donations can buy and the gorgeousness that is the California Theatre.  It’s a culmination of all that is right. Preservation of talent, physical film, music, architecture. A perfect storm of awesome cinematic geekery and craft. This year, super excited to see the 1920 classic The Mark Of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks. i’m ready for a Swashbucking good time! Meet me in the Balcony for my birthday celebration – Masks welcome, leave your swords at home!  You really don’t get this type of opportunity on this scale but once a year. Bonus: Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. will be shown before!

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