Creativity, innovation, and the power of film was unleashed at Cinequest 23 this year. And to celebrate the end of 13 days of film, friends, and inspiration, Cinequest held its annual closing night film screening at the majestic California Theatre.
Before the screening of the amazing film, “Midnight’s Children,” based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, co-founder of Cinequest, Halfdan Hussey, introduced the people who made this year’s film festival possible, along with the winning films and their creators. Hussey also introduced three artists whose task was to capture the essence of Cinequest in art-form, and for the first time in Cinequest history, two dedicated volunteers were rewarded with lifetime achievement awards for their perpetual passion and contribution to making the festival one to remember each year. Then, it was on with the evening’s main event.
“Midnight’s Children”, written by the immensely intelligent and talented author Salman Rushdie, is the incredible story of Saleem and a band of children who were born at midnight on India’s historic day of independence from Great Britain. The majesty of this film and the themes that unfold throughout, including how a simple twist of fate—two babies being switched at birth—can shape the destinies of the people involved forever, makes it a truly imaginative and captivating film.
After the film, Salman Rushdie was presented with the Maverick Spirit Award, and sat down for a Q-&-A session to discuss his incredible life and the film adaptation of his book. Mr. Rushdie was asked about his life and the process of adapting his novel for this incredible film. He discussed how his time working in advertising taught him how to use the “economy of words” to skillfully and concisely get a powerful message across through an impactful manner.
He went on to explain that he did not seek financial help from a big production company to produce the film with co-writer and director Deepa Mehta, because they wanted to keep the integrity of the novel’s version in the film as much as possible. As such, they had to have a vision of how the film would develop, because once they knew what they wanted and how they would tell the story on screen, that would allow them to hone in on all the details they wanted to include. This took, as he continued, “a lot of work before we began shooting the film, as we went scene-by-scene in order to get it [film] just right.”
As Mr. Rushdie disclosed, it took 17 grueling days of principal photography shot in 62 locations. But even with this tight schedule, they were able to capture all the footage on budget and on schedule; a grueling task in-and-of-itself. And although the film is an adaptation of his novel, he gives immense credit to director and co-writer Deepa Mehta who collaborated with him on the production of this film.
Upon the cessation of the talk, Cinequest participants were invited to the closing-night after-party held for the second year at the Tech Museum. There, they were able to mix-and-mingle with some of the films’ creators, reunite with old-and-new film-lovers, and enjoy some drinks and hor d’oeuvres. Guests also had the freedom to roam the museum and explore what the Tech has to offer.
Various Silicon Valley businesses were also at hand to show patrons the exciting products they are developing and selling—like TechShop, a workshop where members can use various machines like a 3D printer to bring their ideas to life.
A DJ and several bar tenders were dispersed throughout the museum to help guests celebrate with some bubbly and other tasty concoctions. Guests then danced the night away.
A fun ending to a magical 13 days and nights of film.
For more information about Cinequest, please visit: www.cinequest.org
Event Review and Event Photos by Sophia M. Papadopoulos