The visual feast prepared for the 2022 Cinequest is sheer gluttony—but what a glorious way to overindulge. Two hundred in-person screenings over 14 days, covering all types of moves. Animation? More than 40 titles to choose from. Eleven different programs of short films. And the 16 titles grouped under the promising category of “Inspiration” call out for attention.
For instance, there’s Come Find Me, a drama about a Latinx mother and daughter struggling to build a relationship as adults with very different beliefs and values. In a blog post, writer-director Daniel Poliner says of Sol Miranda, who plays the mother, “She’s probably best known as Donna Maria on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I just knew if she were given a lead role she would be incredible.” Come Find Me screens Aug 17 at 4:30pm, Aug 22 at 9pm and Aug 25 at 5pm.
A standout drama making its world premiere is Montréal Girls, the directorial debut of Patricia Chica, a Canadian-Latina who tells a story set in the multicultural milieu of Québec’s largest metropolis. A Q&A session follows the screening on Aug 20 at 6:45pm, and the movie plays again on Aug 22 at 2pm.
Making its Bay Area premiere is The Grand Bolero, a queer romance loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. Director Gabriele Fabbro’s first feature film, set in Italy during the first coronavirus lockdown, screens Aug 23 at 9:35pm, Aug 26 at 12:15pm and Aug 28 at 4:45pm.
Another drama making its Bay Area bow is You Resemble Me, worthy of note alone for its triad of executive producers: Spike Lee, Spike Jonez and Riz Ahmed. In French and Arabic with English subtitles, it tells a tragic story of two sisters. The Hollywood Reporter review describes it as an “absorbing experimental film (which includes documentary elements toward the end)” that tells a story of dislocation and belonging. It screens Aug 24 at 9:30pm and Aug 29 at 7:30pm.
Eight titles offer something for fans of fantasy and sci-fi. Distant Thunder, written and directed by Takayuki Ohashi, tells parallel stories of three sisters at various cosmically significant times: 1999, the year Nostradamus predicted the end of the world, and 2020, when a comet threatens to annihilate Earth. Distant Thunder can be seen Aug 21 at 10am and Aug 27 at 3pm.
Those looking for a comedic palate cleanser can choose from 21 different amusements. In director Milos Ajdinovic’s Goodbye, White Guy, said Caucasian heads to India on a mission to corral an errant employee so that he can impress his boss, who is also his future father-in-law. But things don’t go according to plan. The movie screens Aug 19 at 9:15pm (followed by a Q&A session) and Aug. 22 at 1:45pm.
Nine movies, both narrative works and documentaries, also fall into the LGBTQ category. Little Sky is directed by Jess X. Snow, who describes their work as “genre-defying inter-generational stories from a queer, non-binary Asian immigrant lens.” The short film follows the journey of Sky, a Chinese-American pop star who returns to the city they were raised in to confront their estranged immigrant father. Little Sky is part of the Shorts 11: Student Shorts program on Aug 27 at 9am.
The documentary Out in the Ring, also highlighted in the Inspiration category, examines queer identity in professional wrestling, starting in the 1940s and ’50s and continuing to the present. The filmmakers and members of the cast will be present for a Q&A session after the first screening, which is on Aug. 21 at 2:50pm. Out in the Ring also screens Aug. 25 at 2:45pm and Aug. 27 at 1:45pm.
In addition to Out in the Ring, 13 other documentaries are on the schedule at Cinequest, giving audiences a chance to explore unfamiliar worlds. One such place is in A Crack in the Mountain, which descends into Hang Son Doong (“mountain river cave”) in central Vietnam, the largest cave system on the planet. Rather than just a nature documentary, it is a story of a natural wonder threatened by greed. It screens Aug. 16 at 2pm, Aug 28 at 4pm and Aug 29 at 2:30pm.
With This Breath I Fly explores the travails of two different women who are imprisoned on charges of “moral crimes” by an Afghan justice system. Film Threat praised the 2021 documentary, encouraging “anyone with a beating heart and inquisitive eyes to watch it as soon as possible.” It plays Aug 16 at 4:45pm, Aug 27 at 2:45pm and Aug 28 at 2pm.