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Feb 13th
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The Festival Queen

Thefestivalqueen1Jane Sullivan

To call Jane Sullivan a pioneer might be an understatement. As director of the Santa Cruz Film Festival, she’s a wild ball of energy. And, in the seven years she’s presided over the local film festival, she has managed to pull off phenomenal feats on a very big scale. It hasn’t been without plenty of hard work, too many volunteers to mention and probably a headache or two.

While this year the fest promises to be bigger and better than ever before, the backstory of how it arrived to where it is today is noteworthy.

Back in August of 2001, Sullivan and her friend Johnny Davis attended a screening of student films at California State University Monterey Bay.

“There was good work coming out of there … [so we thought] let’s start a film festival,” Sullivan says.

It was as simple as that. Then reality sank in. “We didn’t have any idea what Johnny and I were taking on,” Sullivan adds. By the spring of 2002, the first Santa Cruz Film Festival was born.

“It’s changed each year and has a different flavor,” she adds. “It grows every year … and is [more] recognized on the festival circuit. It takes a lot more time than you think it will and a lot more work.”

This year’s theme for the festival is “The Big Picture.” According to Sullivan, “When you look at the big picture, we’re focusing on documentaries this year and [talking] about how one’s life fits into the big picture. Documentaries [can] take on a corporation or social problem, or document the way of how everyone fits in to the world at large. [We have] films from African hip hop to poetry in East San Jose. ‘The Big Picture’ is literal and figurative; to get people off their laptops and see the way films are meant to be seen— on the screen in the big picture. [To get] them enveloped in that delicious scene, that juicy, sensuous, colorful celluloid or tape.”

Getting people into the theaters has not only been advantageous for audience members, but it’s had an impact on revenue in the county. “It (the festival) has brought in $1 million in six years,” she says. “Close to 90 percent [of the filmmakers attend the festival] and their families and crew. [It affects] the hostesses, the restaurants, and where they shop. This is an economic boon to the town.”

Over the years, the fest has attracted myriad big names like Christopher Coppola and David Arquette, among many others. It continues to draw an array of headturners, covering every topic imaginable. Highlights this year include the opening night film One Fast Move or I’m Gone, by documentary filmmaker Curtis Worden, which chronicles the emotional tailspins of genius Jack Kerouac. Look for Ripple Effect to generate buzz as well. (Get the lowdown on GT’s top fest picks on page 56.)

“Civic participation [in the festival] is getting people more involved in the ‘bigger picture’ of your life,” Sullivan says. “Then, when we get back together in the world, it helps us become more realized human beings.”

 

The Santa Cruz Film Festival runs from May 9-17 and boasts more than 140 films. The movies will be shown at theaters and other venues in town. For more information, to view trailers, or for ticket information, visit santacruzfilmfestival.com . See trailers from the film fest at gtweekly.com .

 

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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