Silicon Valley’s annual film festival Cinequest is back this year with a strong focus on Virtual Reality (VR). Rebranded as Cinequest Film & VR Festival the festival has expanded beyond its traditional downtown San Jose area. This year film screenings will be held in various parts of San Jose and in a new location in the Peninsula – Redwood City.
We talked to Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest about this year’s festival.
For ticket and information to the film festival and VR events check the website of Cinequest.
Academy award winners Damien Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz talk about La La Land, a film that pays homage to Hollywood musicals and French filmmaker Jacques Demy.
Chazelle and Hurwitz were room mates at Harvard Univeristy and they moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dream of making films. While at Harvard they worked together on Chazelle’s first film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. They next worked on Whiplash and then La La Land. Chazelle is a trained musician and was deeply involved in the creation of the music for La La Land points out Hurwitz.
La La Land stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, John Legend and others.
LISTEN: OSCAR WINNER DAMIEN CHAZELLE & JUSTIN HURWITZ ON “LA LA LAND”
La La Land had 14 Oscar nominations and won 6 Oscars. Chazelle won an Oscar for best director, while Justin Hurwitz won 2 Oscars for score and original music. Emma Stone won the best actress award. La La Land won an Oscar for production design and cinematography.
This interview was recorded in San Francisco and aired on TV in the USA.
This year’s San Francisco’s Mostly British Film Festival (Feb 16-23) has a rare treat in store for film buffs. On Tuesday, Feb 21st you catch the legendary film editor Anne Coates in conversation with film historian David Thomson at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco. This will be followed by the screening of A Murder on the Orient Express at 9.30 pm. For tickets and information about the event check Mostly British Film Festival’s website.
Coates won an Oscar in 1962 for her work in David Lean’sLawrence of Arabia. She went on to win 4 Oscar nominations for Out of Sight, In the Line of Fire, The Elephant Man and Becket.
In 2016 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors Coates presented an honorary award to Coates in recognition of her work and contribution to the film industry. Coates began her career in the film industry in 1947 when she worked as an assistant editor for The Archers directed by Derek N.Twist. She next worked for Director Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes. The Pickwick Papers (1952) directed by Noel Langley was the first feature film Coates edited. And 10 years later in 1962 she won an Oscar for her work in Lawrence of Arabia. The last film Coates edited was Fifty Shades of Grey released in 2013..
Director Ritesh Batra of The Lunchbox fame is back with a new film The Sense of an Ending. The film is based on Julian Barnes’s novel by the same name that won the Man Booker prize in 2011. The compact novel as the New York Times Book Review put it is ” a mystery of memory and missed opportunity.”
For the past 2 years we have produced a special TV series on Women in Science & Tech. Our sense was that this series would resonate with our audience in the San Francisco Bay area. Happily we got very encouraging feedback from viewers and programming folks from various TV stations. And then we expanded our footprint and ventured outside of our comfort zone in SF Bay area. Happily we got very encouraging feedback from the programming folks from various markets in the USA. All this encouraging feedback means that need to produce more episodes in 2017.
Guests featured in this series share their story of how they got interested in math and science, and how their parents helped develop their interest. Not all of them had an easy time at school and a couple of them did not pursue math and science in college, and yet they ended up working in the tech industry. Tune in to find out their stories.
This series on Women in Science and Tech is sponsored by Zoho.
I sit down to talk with John Turner director of Korla, a documentary that takes you on a fascinating journey on Korla Pandit’s music and life. Pandit was a talented musician, who was the person to perform live on American TV. Pandit performed on KTLA in Los Angeles in 1949. He was eventually replaced by Liberace.
Pandit relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, where he lived until his death in 1998. Pandit appeared on KGO TV and continued to play in concerts and release records.
So, who was Pandit? Why did he love from New Delhi, India to the USA? What was his story? Tune in to find out.
Korla will air on PBS during the Black History Month.
Running Time: 78 minutes
Status: Released Feb 2017
This interview aired on TV in the USA. You can watch our weekly TV show in the US. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning film The Salesman (Forushande in Persian) centers around the notion of love, friendship, trust, revenge and forgiveness. If you have seen Farhadi’s previous films like About Elly or The Separation you know they leave you with more questions than answers. In The Salesman Farhadi skillfully peels layer after layer and leaves you with what is essential to any relationship – trust, love and forgiveness. The film also give us a view of modern day Iranian society and the toll that censorship takes on a society.
Central to the film is the relationship between Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidosti) a husband and wife, who are passionate about theatre. The couple along with their friends are in the process of staging a Persian version of Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman. The couple’s happy life is rudely interrupted one night when they discover their apartment building is collapsing. They leave their home and have no idea how and where they will find a new home to rent. As luck would have it their theatre colleague helps them find a new apartment. When they move into their new place the couple discover that one of the room contains the previous tenant’s possessions. For some inexplicable reason the previous tenant (a woman) appears to have vacated the apartment in a hurry. Emad and Rana treat it as a minor & temporary inconvenience that they don’t have access to the previous tenant’s room. They settle down to resume their life and the rehearsal of their play.
One evening Rana hears the bell ring just as she is going in for a shower. She unlatches the front door for Emad and slips into the bathroom. That is the first twist in the narrative and changes into a whodunit film. Turns out it was not Emad who rang the bell, but a stranger, who sexually assaults Rana. When Emad comes home that evening he discovers what happens to Rana he is devastated. Why was Rana assaulted and by whom? Could there be a connection to the previous tenant, who left behind her belongings? This is when the film becomes interesting as we follow Emad’s painful journey to track the culprit that ends on a rather unexpected note.
In 2012 Farahadi won an Oscar for his film The Separation. In 2o17 The Salesman won an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category and is a strong contender in this year’s Oscar race. Farhadi along with his cinematographer Hossein Jafarian was planning on attending the Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Due to the recent US travel restrictions on citizens of Iran Farhadi will not attend the Oscar awards ceremony. He issued an official statement saying that he will not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in February.
The Salesman released in the San Francisco Bay area on Feb 3, 2017.
San Francisco Bay area fans of filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch are in for a treat at Stanford Theatre. From now till March 25, 2017 you can catch Lubitsch’s silent and talkie or sound films. Lubitsch was known for his witty and elegant films like Trouble In Paradise, Ninotchka and The Shop Around the Corner.
Lubitsch started his career in Germany, which is where he was born. He later moved to the USA and worked in Hollywood, where he became a prominent filmmaker and for a while was head of Paramount. Lubitsch’s influence on young filmmakers was enormous. Filmmaker Billy Wilder worked for Lubitsch and paid homage to his mentor when he said: ” I’d think, How would Lubitsch do it?”
You can catch Lubitsch’s films at the Stanford Theatre. Check their website for information and timings.
I sat down to speak with Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest Inc, a Silicon Valley-based organization. Every year they host an annual film festival that features films, workshops, conversation and spotlights the latest technology for content creators and filmmakers. They also have a program for youths called Picture The Possibilities.
Hussey talks about the philosophy behind their Picture The Possibilities initiatives and what is new in this year’s film festival. Hussey is a film maker and an author and he shares how his interest in films developed and what propelled him to write.
The opening night film on Feb 28, 2017 is director Mark Pellington’s The Last Word starring Shirley MacLaine & Amanda Seyfried. The closing night film is director Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh & others. Jane Lynch and Jason Reitman will be at Cinequest to receive their Maverick Award.
Cinequest Film and VR Festival takes place in San Jose and Redwood City from Feb 28 to March 2017. For tickets and program schedule visit Cinequest’s website.
Meet Devika Chawla, Engineering Director at Netflix and a music composer and singer. I sat down with her to find out how she developed and nurtured her interests in science, especially computer programming and music from a young age.How did her parents help shape her interests? Why did she elect to study computer engineering at George Town University? What brought her to Silicon Valley in the 1990s?How did she get to work with Hans Zimmer for Apple’s iMovie app? How does she balance her passion for computer engineering and music?
Chawla is trained in Indian classical (Hindustani) music. She has released a handful of music records and worked with various musicians like Bohemia, a San Francisco Bay area rapper and Amaan Ali Khan & Ayaan Ali Khan, sarod musicians from India.