CINEQUEST: Casualty of Coronavirus

Arts & Entertainment
Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival Co-founders Kathleen J. Powell (Left) and Halfdan Hussey (Center), address the media at California Theater in San Jose, CA on Saturday March 7, 2020. Photo Credit: Jose Posadas

Jose Posadas

El Observador


Looking grim and defeated under the bright lights of a camera set up on the Red Carpet of the California Theatre the co-founders of Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival broke the not too surprising news: the film festival will be cut short due to the public safety concerns we now live under in the time of COVID-19.

Co-founders Halfdan Hussey and Kathleen J. Powell spoke to the small gathering of media to notify the community of Cinequest fans and sponsors that the films and events scheduled for this coming Monday, March 9 through the following Sunday, march 15, will not take place.

“We want to make clear that our very first concern is for the health and well-being of all our audience members, our artists, and our own staff. In keeping with the health safety directive from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, and the concerned request from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, we are rescheduling the second week of this, our 30th anniversary festival, to occur August 16-30.”

However, the films and events planned for both today, Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8 will continue as planned.

Even before coming to this decision the attendance during the first week of the festival was noticeably short of past festivals.

“The coronavirus news hit hardest just as our annual two weeks of revenue began. A big drop in our expected box office revenue occurred immediately. We’re aware we cannot replenish our costs associated with rescheduling and re-producing what took us a year to bring together in the first place. That’s why we’re so grateful to our sponsors and Cinequest ticket buyers who are helping us out by not asking for refunds.”

Ending on a hopeful note, Halfdan Hussey asked for the support of benefactors of the arts to consider making a donation to Cinequest to offset the financial hit it will take as a nonprofit due to this unforeseen situation.

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