An intriguing new musical drama by Luke Shirock (who also stars as the title character), "Tommy Battles the Silver Sea Dragon," will receive its world premiere at Cinequest, screening Friday, March 2, and Thursday, March 8, in San Jose; and Sunday, March 4, and Sunday, March 11, in Redwood City. The surreal fantasy involves a man struggling with guilt over the death of his mother and locked in an imaginary courtroom populated by his own inner demons and is set to an intense, original rock soundtrack.
A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's beloved novel "Little Women" starring "Back to the Future" and "Switched at Birth's" Lea Thompson as the March family matriarch, will screen on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday March 4 in San Jose, and Tuesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 8 in Redwood City. The film tells the story of the close-knit bond between four sisters whose father is away serving in the U.S. military and the challenges the family faces as the sisters mature and experience love and loss.
Sure to bring about the warm fuzzy feelings in audience members is the documentary "Pick of the Litter," which follows five Labrador puppies from birth to adulthood as they are raised by volunteers and trained to become Guide Dogs for the Blind. Only the top dogs will make the cut to become full-fledged service animals. The film won this year's Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award, given to a film that is deemed inspirational, life-affirming and exemplifying the health care organization's "thrive" initiatives. "Pick of the Litter" will screen in San Jose on Saturday, March 3, and Friday, March 9, and in Redwood City on Sunday, March 4.
Cinequest has also partnered with Lunafest, an all-women travelling film festival, which will present a slate of short films "to, by and for women" on Wednesday, March 7, in San Jose, and Sunday, March 11, in Redwood City.
Stanford University MFA in Documentary Film graduate students Elivia Shaw and Paloma Martinez's 2017 short documentary "The Shift" was chosen to be part of the festival's program of works by high-school and college filmmakers. The film, about 911 dispatchers in San Francisco, spends an overnight shift with these emergency responders and was screened on campus last March.
Shaw and Martinez were inspired to make the film after reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about how the city's emergency-dispatch centers were understaffed.
"It's such a difficult job that most people don't make it through their first year, but there are also veterans who have been doing it for 30-plus years," Shaw wrote in an email to the Weekly. "The public generally thinks of 911 dispatchers as a faceless voice on a phone while their identities and workspaces are shrouded in mystery. We loved that the dispatchers never leave the darkened call center, yet their split-second decisions reach every corner of San Francisco. Our own curiosity led us to try to understand the space of the call center and how the dispatchers make it through each day."
"The Shift" will be screened on Thursday, March 8 and Sunday, March 11, in Redwood City and Saturday, March 10, in San Jose.
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