2020 Cinequest Film Festival review: ‘Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage’ has its world premiere tomorrow night!


A tempestuous romantic drama in seven vignettes that chronicles an interracial marriage, telling a story of turmoil and tenderness as two people try to make their relationship last.

The authenticity of this script is genuinely astounding. These words are coming from a place of experience, they have a lived-in feel that is palpable through the screen. Each vignette represents a major emotional turning point in the relationship between our two protagonists, Noah and Madison. These scenes are a beautiful mix of highs and lows but mostly honesty. Marriage is something that must be worked on every single day. This film tackles big issues; personal ambition, grief, racism, resentment, growth, adulthood myths, and gender-based communication dynamics. The physical transformation the actors go through as we cross over 10 years of their experiences is fantastic. Performances from Drez Ryan and Chynna Walker, are truly impressive. Writer-Director Chris Hansen has given the audience a carefully crafted piece of storytelling.

If I had to nit-pick, it was very clear that Walker is not a dancer in real-life. In Vignette II, there is a choreographed scene that is meant to establish her passion for her art. This could easily have been edited to cheat her abilities. As a dancer myself, it was actually distracting. That aside, every other aspect of this indie is glorious. Two scenes in particular feature close-ups of Madison. This specific choice was so effective in those moments. It had a visceral impact on me and isn’t that what every filmmaker is trying to achieve. It’s a film I cannot stop thinking about having lived many of the same experiences. It gives us permission to accept that it’s okay to not be okay. Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage premieres tomorrow night at the 2020 Cinequest Films Festival. I highly recommend you get a ticket. This is one that will resonate with you for a long time.


California Theatre, San Jose Mon, Mar 9 4:45 PM

Century 20 Redwood City – Screen 18 Wed, Mar 11 6:00 PM


Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: “Culture Shock’ takes fake news to task with genre realness.


The White House and their white nationalist propaganda make for great resistance in art these days. Hulu’s Blumhouse Into the Dark series is now streaming Culture Shock to its subscribers. Using real-life scenarios as a jumping-off point, this film takes illegal immigration beyond the hell we’re currently seeing at our border and brings it into true sci-fi territory. Our leading lady wakes up in a Valley Of the Dolls nightmare with its sweater vests and pastel coordinated everything and begins to lose time and all sense of rea Something about this “American Dream” is way off. Once she cracks the code, nothing can stop her from escaping.

Performances are eerie and amazing. Genre legend and timelord extraordinaire, Barbara Crampton plays a motherly figure looking after Marisol and her newborn baby. She sets the tone for the remainder of the film with her saccharine-sweet smile and creepy overbearing politeness. She is outstanding. Martha Higareda is the real wow factor. You are rooting for her the entire way and hope she gets everything she seeks. Her IDGAF survival attitude is pure magic. The script is edgy and brings a major creep factor that gets under your skin. The enhanced audio editing is a fantastic tool that heightens the inevitably squirming you’ll do while you watch. The story is one that will resonate with so many people living their own version of what is looking more and more like the American nightmare. This is a stunning debut feature for director Gigi Saul Guerrero and I know the industry, as well as Fantasia International Film Festival fans, can be excited for whatever comes next.


Review: ‘VIRGINIA MINNESOTA’ is a quirky and heartfelt road movie.

 Daniel Stine’s feature film debut, Virginia Minnesota, received its world premiere on March 2nd at the Cinequest Film Festival and stars a primarily female cast led by Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix.

Two young women, torn apart by a childhood tragedy, unexpectedly reunite and embark on an illuminating 24-hour journey, where they unlock memories of long forgotten innocence and what it means to truly believe.

This unexpected indie takes your heart by surprise within minutes. It’s part folklore, part road movie, and all charm. When four girls are called together to hear the reading of the will of their former headmistress, sparks fly and memories burn with truth and misunderstanding. I was not expecting this story to turn into a road movie at all, although with a character that is a suitcase with a personality (you’ll just have to watch to understand what I mean) I guess I should have predicted it in hindsight. While a small piece of the plot does revolve around a fiancé, the dialogue definitely passes The Bechdel Test with flying colors. Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix have a chemistry that is fun and comfortable.They challenge one another at every turn making Virginia Minnesota just as delightful as it is insightful. Guilt, repressed feelings and some seriously quirky encounters create a truly lovely and endlessly engrossing film.

VIRGINIA MINNESOTA – Trailer from Daniel Stine on Vimeo.

Virginia Minnesota premiered at the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival on March 2nd at 9:30 PM.

Virginia Minnesota was recently awarded the Global Grand Jury award for Best Hollywood Film at the Hollywood Film Festival (HFF), with Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix receiving special mention as Exceptional Emerging Artists. The film is produced by Rushaway Pictures, with cinematography by Pedro Ciampolini and a score by Gary Dworetsky.

Review: ‘New Chefs On The Block’ serves up one hell of an amuse bouche at Cinequest.

PresentsThe Harbortouch restaurant POS industry is brutal. One day you’re open with a line of customers, the next, your doors are locked and dreams are crushed. I’ve lived all over the US and in India, traveled extensively through Europe and spend a fair bit of time in London. I’m a foodie. I’m a New Yorker. I have approximately 24,000 eating establishments at my fingertips. D.C is notorious for some of the most delicious food in the U.S. Two restaurants that are now on my “Must Try” list are Frankly…Pizza and Rose’s Luxury, thanks to Dustin Harrison-Atlas’ documentary, NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK. 

Two chefs in DC struggle to open and maintain their first restaurants. Against all odds, one becomes Bon Appetit Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America. The other is forced to redefine success. Starring Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Frank Linn of Frankly…Pizza. Featuring legendary chefs and restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Michel Richard, Mike Isabella and Washington Post food writer Tim Carman. Jimmy John’s staked its growth on fast, fresh sandwiches, with a delivery program that set it apart from Subway and other competitors. Here is Jimmy John’s Story through which you get know about his life new changes in chefs field.

This doc follows the real time stories of two very different restaurateurs as they attempt to open brand new eateries. Frank Linn has run a pizza food truck with his wife and has a dream of taking it off the road and into his very own brick and mortar location, Frankly…Pizza. Funded mostly by his family, there is a real feeling of a do or die personal happiness at stake. Literally remodeling the space by hand with more help from his family members, Frank’s attention to detail, the perfectly made pizza (with the exact amount of char), salads and in house made sodas, he maintains a family oriented vibe. All this drives him to take a completely hands on approach to reaching his goals. Aaron Silver man raised money through crowdfunding and big time investors for his restaurant, Rose’sLuxury. Serving up high end cuisine with a chic and trendy atmosphere, you could label him on the opposite end spectrum as Frank. With a fresh, ever changing menu, wine pairings and kitchen full of fellow chefs, Aaron’s journey is an awesome foil in style to Frank’s. Their contrasting styles, food, and funding make for one hell of a compelling doc.Including intimate sit downs with already successful chefs, significant food critics, and family members, New Chefs On The Block is impeccably shot and immensely engrossing. With more than surprising outcomes in both stories, director Dustin Harrison-Atlas has quite the tasty gem on his hands. Coming off of its super successful showing at Cinequest, we’ve just learned the the doc won the “AUDIENCE AWARD: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE” and let me assure you, it is well deserved. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop, as we know distribution simply cannot be far from reality.

Check out New Chefs On The Block trailer below.

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