California Theater

By Iride Aparicio


SAN JOSÉ, CA –  It all started on  the balmy evening of March 4th. As pink clouds stretched  lazily on the blue sky making it look stripped, and a beam of golden light swayed from side to side in front of the California Theatre, CINEQUEST 2014 opened its doors to its Film audience dressed in formal gowns, suits, pants, dresses, or jeans and jackets standing in a long line on the sidewalk .  It was Opening Night, and what a night it was!

It included: a concert of organ music, the bestowing of two Awards, a short and a long movie, a long list of visiting celebrities, a party after the show, and food and drinks. But tonight, and all those future days of gatherings, ahead of us,  have a single purpose. They were planned to allow us to CONNECT. To get to know each other, to try to meet "the stranger," any of those people who came from all over the world and who, physically, may look different from us, and even may speak a different language, but in spite of it, will be able to understand us because both our hearts throb at exactly the same beat. A rate increased by our passion for the magic of film.

And tonight was the night when we had a chance to see, for the first time, many of  those people who arrived in San José carrying their dreams as luggage, anxious to share them with us, projected on the screen. They came to Silicon Valley to discover new ideas, to compare their experiences with other film makers, to discuss with each other the art of film. An art that allows us to see it and to hear it at the same time because it has a voice. The art where its subjects move externally, as we are moved internally, and the only art, that is understood  by everybody in the whole world because it speaks a universal language.


Organist JERRY NAGANO gave us a masterful organ concert

The lugubrious sounds of the theme song of Phantom, masterfully interpreted by organist JERRY NAGANO, started the program. The short concert of Broadway’s tunes, also included an imitation in his Wurlitzer or the clattering sound of a train” in his interpretation of  “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and ended, appropriately,  with a vibrant rendetion of “California, here I come”

The concert was followed  by  "RPG OKC" an animated movie with characters from the age of Pac Man,  Followed by a filmed welcome by HALFDAM HUSSEY, the Director and Cofounder of CINEQUEST

Then from the stage, on a brief talk, Mr. HUSSEY reminded the cinematographers of the importance of their art, “Movies make us laugh,” he said, “Inspire us, made us better persons”

He also said that true artists are not people who live isolated from the world, but people who use the world to shape their art. That artists  find ideas in the situations they confront, inspiration in the people they meet, ideas for books, movies of plays in the situations they face, for music, in the different sounds they hear and ideas for pictures in the places they visit,

“The real magic of CINEQUEST,” he said, is that when you meet other folks you may help each other with an idea, so please help me in connecting with each other. Nobody knows when you will find the idea that inspires you.”

Mr. HUSSEY then talked  about those people  who help the public learn about the movies and the importance of the Media, which inspire the CINEQUEST creation of THE MEDIA LEGACY AWARD,  which this year was bestowed to ERIC KOHN, a Chief Film Critic and Senior Editor and manager of their Critic wire Network. The award was given to Mr. KOHN for his INDIWIRE web which had the most impact on independent cinema since it began in l996.

Prior to to Indiwire  KOHN worked with film festivals and reviewed domestic and international  films for numerous entertainment publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the first recipient of the CINEQUEST’s award.


L ERIC KOHN receives his Media Legacy award from Mr. HUSSEY
 L ERIC KOHN receives his Media Legacy award from Mr. HUSSEY

“This Award is given to journalists and Media who do an important work (for filmmakers) because it is these journalists who let others know about those films. So it is a great honor for me to present  this award to you ERIC KOHN.” Said Mr. HUSSEY.

In their on stage conversation that followed, Mr KOHN mentioned  that his travels had often given him the opportunity to talk with other people and learn from other people.

Mr KOHN also mentioned that movies are technology and that it is amazing the things that one can do now with technology. He mentioned that he travels because it is interesting to learn how other people live. That he believes that science education is important but that an education to be rounded needs creativity. He mentioned that he was at the OSCARS® this year and that it is interesting what one see behind the scenes, and that as a critic, he still feel the excitement about his community when he writes.

Following the Award, Mr. HUSSEY discussed PICTURE THE POSSIBILIES, a transformative leadership movement which he described as “how we go around the world  inspiring younger people to create everything, from art to science." He explained that these young people practice this power by making films (with the help of mentors) on content which is vital to the world’s young people. It is “Picture it, and Create,” he said. The pictures they created will be shown during the festival on different dates.

Youngsters who participated in this year PICTURES THE POSSIBITIES
The youngsters who participated in this year PICTURE THE POSSIBITIES

Bsut the annual live experience for these youngsters, will be to come to Silicon Valley to CONNECT with leaders, company employers, and global luminaries to share their creations.

“And now,”said Mr. HUSSEY,  “it is my great pleasure to bring to you our President and co-founder  KATHLEEN J. POWELL.   In a short talk, President POWELL  said that it is so rare in a person's life to be able to change the world, but that  this person (she was going to introduce) had done it, all his life. "He is somebody who has such passion, such creativity," she said  “That he innovates with great power.  So it is our great honor tonight to bring to you the inventor of the cell phone, winner of the MAVERICK INNOVATOR AWARD,  MARTIN COOPER."


               KATHLEEN J. POWELL (center)  and HALFDAN HUSSEY
              Bestow the Maverick Innovator Award to MARTIN COOPER (L)

With everybody standing, Mr. COOPER, known as "The Father of the Cellphone," entered the stage and was greeted by a thunderous applause.

“I can’t tell you how honor and thrilled I am,” he said receiving his award. In his speech afterwards, Mr. COOPEB said: “I am here to talk about creativity, and what is creativity? It is doing things different than anybody else.”

Jokingly, he said that during his life he had met many creative people who had done many creative things, but that now they don’t remember them.” Talking about the future he said that the future is so far in the future that none of us will get there. In a serious vein he added that the reason that he was given "The Maverick Innovator Award” on this night is because his colleagues, 40 years ago, and I invented a phone (the first cellular phone) but that his company (where he was working) wanted it to have a monopoly on the phone (A cellular phone) and wanted it to be used in luxury cars. “And we did not agree with that,” he adds, so we  came out with this (see picture below)

Mr. MARTIN COOPER shows the audience the first cell phone
         Mr. MARTIN COOPER shows the audience the first cell phone

“It weights two and a half pounds” he says, referring to the phone he is holding, "and it has a battery life of twenty minutes, but it is so heavy that you couldn’t hold it up for twenty minutes.”
They built the phone in spite that they were told that nobody would want cell phones.

“They keep improving them and I can tell you that I am not impressed, I will tell the kinds of evolution I want:

  1. Health.  We have symptoms we can cure.  I want these symptoms to be prevented. The doctors always measure something from you, they measure your pulse, your heart beat. We are not too different from each other. We have doctors examinations every year, but how about if we could be able to do a physical examination (using your phones) every minute? You could stop the disease before it invades your body. Virus infections, coughs, you could fight them off. We are developing the means now that will allow you to be connected with doctors and hospitals and probably cured.
  2. Education.  We teach everybody to do the same things in our schools and we have a lecturer.  There is all this knowledge in the world. What is happening in the education system today  is what several Universities and high schools call “The inverted classroom.” So we can provide these kids with all the knowledge in the world. (via computers) Instead of having kids playing “computer games” let’s make them educational. We could create an smarter generation if we allow them access to the world’s knowledge.
  3. And the final one is poverty. We could solve povery by having our national products redistributed. And when we do, we are going to have a much better world. "

Our movie that night was THE GREAT SEDUCTION, direced by DON McKELLAR, and starring BRENDAN GLEESON, TAYLOR KITCH, and LIANE BALABAN, a comedy abpit a whole fishing town who lies to secure the doctor that they need in order to get an oil company to open a petrochemical plant for waste products. It was a great movie, the acting was superb and it kept the audience laughing all night.

Principal actors from THE GRAND SEDUCTION
Principal actors from THE GRAND SEDUCTION
photo courtesy of Entertainment one group.

Mr. HUSSEY said, “Help me CONNECT,  so at the end of the evening, we all headed for the party.

The real magic of the event is that. Every year, the festival allow us to meet new people, maybe make new friends. For thirteen more days, we have many more movies to see, many more parties to attend, conferences to go to lean new things, and peole to talk with and share our ideas. So let's all CONNECT at CINEQUEST.

For more information about CINEQUEST go to or call (1-408) 295-3378