CQFF25 Wrap and Award Winners

Cinequest Named USA TODAY Best Film Festival
Cinequest 2015 Award Winners and Highlights

Cinequest Film Festival has been voted the Best Film Festival by USA TODAY Readers. This follows the wrap of Cinequest Film Festival (CQFF) 2015; Award Winners and Highlights included:

FUTURE OF FILM debut: Cinequest, Silicon Valley’s creativity and film institute, keenly focuses on the exciting possibilities the future holds. Cinequest’s unique nature and aggregate impact result from a powerful fusion of creativity, filmmaking and technological innovation—transforming our future in thrilling and provocative ways. Continuing this legacy, Future Of Film 1.0 brought a new way of making and watching films to artists and audiences and showcased the impressive work of high school and college students.

  • Barco Escape movies and experience: Cinequest audiences and artists experienced an exciting new three screen cinematic experience. Artists used the screens in profoundly different ways. Film highlights included comedy (The 9th Hole), immersive drama (Withdrawal), documentary (Burning Man) and live event (Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in concert).
  • Cinequest’s new High School Film Competition and expanded College Film Competition brought a deepening commitment to the filmmakers of tomorrow.

Maverick Spirit Award Recipients: Cinequest’s most prestigious accolade, the Maverick Spirit Award recognizes bold, visionary, and creative forces—the finest in the worlds of Silicon Valley innovation and the film arts. This year’s recipients:

  • John Boorman
  • Rosario Dawson
  • Dennis Lehane
  • Mike Medavoy
  • Lawrence Kasdan

Past Maverick Spirit guest recipients include Harrison Ford, Neil Gaiman, J.J. Abrams, Kevin Spacey, William H. Macy, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sir Ian McKellen, Edward James Olmos, Alec Baldwin and Sir Ben Kingsley. For clips of previous Award winners’ comments, please visit Cinequest’s Maverick Voices video.

"I think the most important thing about Cinequest is it's definitely the first time I've ever come to a festival where my immediate reaction is, 'What do I have to do to be invited back?' and that's not normally my reaction. It's a perfect film festival in a glorious place." - Neil Gaiman, Maverick Spirit Award Winner

Media Legacy Award Recipients: Spotlighting writers who discover and follow cinematic art and innovation, Cinequest’s Media Legacy Award recognizes the pivotal role journalists play in connecting audiences to films and technologies, providing insight into artists, technologists, and the collaborative nature of both disciplines. This year’s recipients:

  • Anne Thompson
  • Richard von Busack

Previous Media Legacy Award recipients include: Eric Kohn of Indiewire, Harry Knowles, founder of Ain’t It Cool News, and Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times. Please watch Cinequest’s Media Legacy video.

Film Premieres and Cinequest Award Winners: Ninety-one (91) World, North American and U.S. Premieres from 50 countries unveiled in the palatial California Theatre and state-of-the-art festival venues including opening night sensation Batkid Begins and closing night enchanter 5 to 7 starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek). The following films won Jury and Audience awards:

  • Best Feature Narrative, Drama: CORN ISLAND Director: George Ovashvili
  • Best Feature Narrative, Comedy: THE ANNIVERSARY Director: Valerie Buhagiar
  • Best Documentary Feature Film: ASPIE SEEKS LOVE Director: Julie Sokolow
  • Audience Award, Narrative Feature: TRACES OF SANDALWOOD Director: Maria Ripoll
  • Audience Award, Documentary Feature: BATKID BEGINS: THE WISH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD Director: Dana Nachman
  • Kaiser Thrive Award: CRESCENDO! THE POWER OF MUSIC Director: Jamie Bernstein
  • New Vision Award: ASTRAEA Director: Kristjan Thor
  • Global Vision Award: APPLES FROM THE DESERT Directors: Arik Lubetzky and Matti Harari
  • Best Narrative Short Film: SLAP Director: Nick Rowland
  • Best Animated Short Film: GERMAN SHEPHERD Director: Nils Bergendal
  • Best Documentary Short Film: LUCHADORA Director: River Finlay
  • Best College Short Film: RATTLEFLY Director: Min Ding
  • Best High School Short Film: GUMBALL Directors: Kris Theorin and Kurtis Theorin

Cinequest Screenplay Competition Award Winners:


  • Sainte Chloe by Stacie Shellner (1st Place)
  • Hooked by Allen Wolf (2nd)
  • Art Brut by Michael Immerman and Benjamin The Great by Scott Ruane (Tied 3rd)


  • The Yard by Eugenie Carabatsos (1st Place)
  • Rocketship by Alfred Thomas Catalfo (2nd)
  • Storm Fear by Eli Edelson (3rd)


  • Awareness by Sean Corrigan (1st Place)
  • Corner King by Mono Ghose (2nd)
  • Frat Lines by Jay Gormley (3rd)

Cinequest Film Festival 2016 occurs February 23 – March 6 in the Silicon Valley.

CQFF Partners: Applied Materials (NYSE: AMAT), City of San Jose, Barco, Kaiser Permanente, Knight Foundation, Harmonic (NYSE: HLIT), Synaptics (NYSE: SYNA), Quantum (NYSE: QUAN), National Association of Broadcasters of America, Canon (CAJ), Yellow Pages, Panasonic, Hint Water, NBC Bay Area, Metro, KGO 810, KFOG 97.7, Cisco (NYSE: CSCO), Dolby (NYSE: DLB), Stella Artois (NYSE: AHBIF), Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Adobe (NYSE: ADBE), eBay Foundation (NYSE: EBAY), Macy’s (NYSE: M), The Fairmont San Jose (NYSE: FHR), Seagate (NYSE: STX), VTA, and Agile Ticketing Solutions. Picture The Possibilities Partners: Kaiser Permanente, The Hearst Foundations, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Capital Group, Hewlett Packard Workstations (NYSE: HPQ), Brett Company, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), Liquid Agency, Seagate (NYSE: STX), Litepanels, Cisco (NYSC: CSCO), AudioTechnica, Media Center, Adobe (NYSE: ADBE), Eddie Lira, GlideCam, CreaTV, Rhino Camera Gear, Manfrotto, Red Giant (NYSE: REDG)