Best Local Filmmaker
Subject of the Feb. 22 cover of Metro and maker of the “It ain’t gonna work” trailers for Cinequest, Sean McCarthy has been a working filmmaker ever since he got out of high school. McCarthy brings his own Sam Raimi-esque sense of humor to tales of battle between hell-creatures, odd schizophrenics and punk-rock girls. His recent Boxed Up was a local answer to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Raging Cyclist, stolen off the bike trails of Silicon Valley, concerns a sinister two-wheeled “Devil Hunter” who is pursued to a climactic battle of good and evil at Castle Rock State Park. And Superhero displays unforced hilarity in a story of a would-be righter of wrongs who is wronger than he looks.
Best Place to Watch Campy Movies
288 S. Second St., San Jose. The first time I saw the movie The Room, I wondered simultaneously if I had just seen the best and worst movie ever made. What can you say about a film that recycles a sex scene, dubs its main character’s lines, never finishes a plot point and entices theatergoers to finish characters’ lines because they’re so awfully memorable. Camera 3 is the premiere spot for movies like this, whether it’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Best Showcase for Short Documentaries
The United Nations Association Film Festival
It seems like everyone knows what “fracking” means now: hydraulic fracturing using a witches’ brew of proprietary (i.e., secret) chemicals to knock natural gas out of the rocks. But it took Jasmina Bojic and the United Nations Association Film Festival to bring us the short documentary that first sounded the alarm about fracking, Gasland. A nonprofit group aiming to aid the U.N. conducts the festival. Oscar contenders are common at this traveling event held every year in the fall, with a stop in Silicon Valley; last year, UNAFF received 600 submissions, winnowing them down to more than a week’s worth of international and local offerings. One can learn more here about the precarious state of the world than at any other film festival in the Bay Area. No wonder Stanford University declared Bojic a “community treasure.”
Best Film Festival
With the exception of a beach crowded with bethonged starlets, Cinequest has just about everything Cannes does, and it’s a lot closer. The festival presents a canny mix of indies, world cinema, documentaries, big names (Philip Kaufman and Elliott Gould, for instance, in 2012), parties and red-carpet premieres.
Retro Dome Weekend Revivals of Classic Films
San Jose Short Film Festival