Guy Lee Thys’ new feature Mixed Kebab and Geoffrey Enthoven’s award-winning Come As You Are have been selected for the Cinequest Film Festival (28 February-11 March) in California. Three shorts also made it to the pioneering fest's final line-up: Kevin Meul’s The Extraordinary Life of Rocky, Boris Sverlow’s Shattered Past and Nicolas Daenens’ 27.

Boris Sverlow's Shattered PastMixed Kebab, which will premiere internationally in the Global Landscapes Competition of the festival, is praised by Cinequest’s Terra Wood for the way the ‘electrifying and multicultural cast brilliantly captures courage, tolerance and the beauty of love conquering hate’. In the film, Flemish-Turkish Ibrahim chooses young and handsome Kevin over marrying his cute Turkish cousin Elif, while kid brother Furkan converts to Islamic fundamentalism. Sharing the major parts are Cem Akkanat, Lukas Dewolf and Karlijn Sileghem.

Geoffrey Enthoven returns to Cinequest after his previous feature The Over the Hill Band was presented as part of the 2010 edition of the fest. Michael Rabehl of Cinequest describes Enthoven's latest, Come As You Are, as a ‘brilliant new comedy, which deservedly won the Grand Prize of the Americas and the Audience Award at the Montreal World Film Festival’. Earlier this year, Come As You Are screened at Palm Springs. Starring are Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Gilles De Schryver, Tom Audenaert and Isabelle De Hertogh. Pierre De Clercq worked on the script, Philippe Ravoet was in charge of editing and Gerd Schelfhout took care of cinematography.

Kevin Meul’s The Extraordinary Life of Rocky, which grabbed the Meeting Point Award for Best Short Film at Valladolid last year, is invited to the Short Film Competition of Cinequest. The short will screen in a programme of nine films titled Comedy Favorites. Rocky is a production of Steven Dhoedt for Visualantics. Nicolas Karakatsanis (Bullhead, The Loft) was in charge of cinematography and Tom Denoyette handled editing. One of the main roles is played by actor Kenneth Van Baeden, known for his role in Felix van Groeningen’s The Misfortunates.

Boris Sverlow’s Shattered Past also grabbed a spot in the Short Film Competition. The animated short will screen in the Animated Worlds programme. Director Sverlow recently won a VAF Wildcard, an award aimed at giving recently graduated filmmaking talent the chance to embark on a first professional project. In Shattered Past, a man is writing down his memoirs when he suddenly suffers a stroke. This catapults him back into his childhood during the Russian revolution and his family’s ensuing escape.

Nicolas Daenens' short 27, produced by Savage Film (Bullhead, Empire of Dust), receives a special slot at Cinequest. The short will precede screenings of the Romanian documentary Close To Heaven by Titus Faschina. 27’s pitch ominously starts with: ‘27 is a dangerous age. And it's clear this young man doesn't want to be bothered.’

In 2010, Caroline Strubbe’s Lost Persons Area won the Award for Best Debut at Cinequest and last year the festival in San Jose invited Koen Mortier’s 22nd of May, Hans Van Nuffel’s Oxygen and Gust Van den Berghe’s Little Baby Jesus of Flandr.

According to Variety, Cinequest, set in the heart of Silicon Valley, 'manages to straddle two worlds – film geeks and financial barons – with remarkable alacrity… Eager to emphasize its maverick stance, the fest has positioned itself at the cutting edge, as a showcase for new technologies and champion of the more DIY end of US and global indie film businesses, with programming that routinely eschews the typical fest fare.'

Mixed Kebab is produced and directed by Guy Lee Thys for production company Fact & Fiction (Suspect). Come As You Are is a Mariano Vanhoof production for Fobic Films (The Only One, Happy Together). Most of the films mentioned in this article were supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund.

Published on Wednesday 8 February 2012

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