The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (PJIFF) on Feb. 27 announced its full film lineup for its 2023 edition.
This year’s festival—which will screen at venues in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista—will take place April 12-19.
The complete PJIFF program includes features, documentaries, short films and panels, says a press release from Poppy Jasper International Film Festival.
The feature films on the 2023 schedule are “Antarctica,” about two life-long friends whose lives get flipped upside down as they hit senior year; “Bolan’s Shoes,” starring BAFTA-nominated British actor Timothy Spall, tells the story of the journey from the height of T. Rex mania in 1970s Liverpool to the present-day poignancy of what would have been Marc Bolan’s 75th birthday; and “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game,” which tells the story of Roger Sharpe, the GQ journalist and real-life pinball wizard who in 1976 single-handedly overturned New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball machines.
This year’s documentaries are “The Creative High” that follows nine artists in recovery from addiction and how they are transformed by creativity in their turbulent search for identity and freedom; “Roots of Fire,” about five award-winning musicians who push against stereotypes of the American South and move the music of their ancestors forward; and “Jack Has A Plan,” about a man who had a terminal brain tumor for 25 years and decided to end his life, while his friends and family struggle with the decision.
“We are honored that this year we can continue to bring the best of global cinema to our community to shine a light and celebrate these talented filmmakers,” said Festival Director Mattie Scariot. “From drama, horror, animation to comedy, we have a program that has something for everyone.”
The comprehensive shorts programs offer a variety of films from around the globe including Brazil, Iran, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The festival will be showcasing the short films “The Outing” from the United Kingdom starring Elizabeth Rider and Julie Hesmondhalgh; Iran’s animated short films “Fobi” by director Elham Aminian and “The Sprayer” directed by Farnoosh Abedi; and “Chipper” starring Brad Carter from “Yellowstone” and Jayson Warner Smith from “The Walking Dead,” among others.
The festival will open with its Youth and Student Festival Day on April 12, showcasing student films from across the world, followed by the local filmmaker showcase on April 13.
The “legendary” Poppy Bash will be held April 14 at Capos Event Center in Gilroy, says the press release. The evening will include a musical presentation by Grammy Award winner and President of Paramount Worldwide Publishing and Music artist Randy Spendlove.
“Each year our film festival acknowledges local and regional community members, as well as distinguished artists, actors and writers for their contributions. By giving out Icon awards we identify leaders in the film community with the hope that they will continue to inspire others,” said Scariot.
Kat Dyson, award-winning guitarist and composer, will be awarded the PJIFF Icon Award during the April 14 evening event. Dyson has shared the stage with artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Natalie Cole, Mick Jagger, Sting and Stevie Wonder to name a few.
On April 17, the festival will have its Mexico Day, where films will be showcased that celebrate the language and culture of Mexico as well as presenting its Icon Award to producer, actor, screenwriter and costume designer Lupe Valdez. As one of the founding members of El Teatro Campesino, Valdez has been a key participant in the evolution of Chicano film and theater for over 50 years.
April 19 is the festival’s LGBTQ+ Day, which will showcase the short films “After Sunset, Dawn Arrives,” directed by Andy Yi LI; “Boifriend” directed by Rebecca Marquardt; “Promise” directed by Lane Michael Stanley; “Make Me King” directed by Sophia Olins; “You’re Alright Hun” directed by Katie-Ann McDonough; “Tiny Mad Animals” directed by David Maybrick; “BoyCam” directed by Rodrigo Sena, Arlindo Bezzerra and Emani Silveira; and “The Tendency” directed by Mobin Pekand.
Also this year, five local breweries—representing each of the hosting cities—are working together to craft a special beer to mark the occasion, says the press release from PJIFF. The breweries participating include Brewery Twenty-Five, Kelly Brewing Co., Settle Down Beer, Promised Land Brewing Co. and Mad Pursuit Brewing Co.
Award-winning British actor Ian Puleston-Davies, who stars in “Bolan’s Shoes,” will attend the 2023 festival and will participate in the Q&A after the screening on April 15.
Tickets and passes are now available on PJIFF’s website (pjiff2023.eventive.org/passes/buy) with a special super early bird price available until March 10.
The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival is an award-winning regional festival based in Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista. The festival’s mission is to promote inclusion, diversity and women empowerment through film, music and art by inviting independent filmmakers from all cultures to explore major issues of the day through the power of film, says the press release.