Terry Zwigoff Receives Maverick Spirit Award at Cinequest 20

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Each year Cinequest presents its highest honor, the Maverick Spirit Award to people who stand apart from the crowd, willing to create and innovate from a place of personal yet global vision. This year, Cinequest awards this honor to a man who has done just that by expressing great talent in such diverse worlds as string instruments, comic books and film — Terry Zwigoff will receive the Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award on Friday, March 5 at 3 p.m. at the California Theatre.

Past writers who have been presented with the Maverick Spirit Award include Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”), Diablo Cody (“Juno”) and David and Janet Peoples (“Blade Runner”). Zwigoff joins this group of legendary and emerging talents as he headlines the Cinequest Day of The Writer (DOW), followed by an intimate conversation and presentation of the Maverick Spirit Award.

Zwigoff has lit up the silver screen with his irreverent and comical sense of humor for more than 15 years. He traces his film career back to discovering a rare blues recording in 1978 from an “unknown” Chicago musician. The experience of the two years he spent researching this artist, the highly eccentric Howard Armstrong, became Zwigoff's first film project, Louie Bluie (1986).

A fascination for the underground comics scene provided the passion to create a moving and often hilarious portrait of underground comic artist Robert Crumb and the characters of the Crumb family. Crumb went on to become the third highest grossing documentary of all time; and over the years it took to make the film, a friendship between Crumb and Zwigoff developed through a shared affinity for music which in turn led to Zwigoff learning to play the cello and mandolin and later joining Robert Crumb’s string band, R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders.

Zwigoff’s career continued to flourish with his screenplay Ghost World in which he collaborated with Daniel Clowes, the original comic book creator. Ghost World went on to receive Academy and Golden Globe nominations after garnering numerous top prizes around the globe, including awards for its cast; Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi.

Zwigoff’s affinity towards a more acerbic wit, led him to direct Billy Bob Thornton in the now classic Bad Santa, in which he quite literally turns the holiday film genre upside down with its depiction of a con man who poses as Santa in order to rob department stores. His most recent film, Art School Confidential, was based on another story from Daniel Clowes and features John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent and Max Minghella. This film once again looks at a microcosm with a very alternative perspective — this time, his subject being art school students and teachers.

Zwigoff headlines the Cinequest “Day of the Writer” (DOW), which takes place at the San Jose State University Theatre. Attendees can learn from top experts on the art of comedy writing including Lew Hunter, Richard Walter, and Hal Ackerman the genius’ behind hits such as National Treasure, War of the Worlds, Gossip Girl, and The Office. DOW Part I offers writers and students of writing a chance to learn from these masters on Friday, March 5, 10 a.m., at San Jose State University’s Theatre. Part II, 1 p.m., features a dynamic conversation on writing with comedy luminaries Marly Sims (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Home Improvement) and Fred Rubin (Different Strokes, Family Matters, Night Court, Step by Step).

A thought provoking and humorous conversation with Zwigoff will follow DOW Part I and II at the California Theatre. The discussion will be moderated by James Dalessandro, a novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker who devotes himself to telling Bay Area stories and invigorating film and television in the region. Dalessandro’s bestselling novel and screenplay, 1906 is headed for production as Pixar's first live action feature, with Oscar winner Brad Bird directing. In September 2009, Hallmark Channel broadcast “Citizen Jane,” their first true crime Movie of the Week, based on his book and teleplay. His documentary, “The Damnedest, Finest Ruins” won numerous awards, and his feature story “Petrosino vs. The Black Hand” is in the January 2010 issue of Playboy.

Cinequest welcomes DOW headliner and Maverick Spirit Award recipient, Terry Zwigoff, who is sure to inspire and make participants smile through a dynamic and engaging presentation.

Event Details:
Friday, March 5, 2010
3 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: California Theatre
$10 for the Maverick Spirit Event

Cinequest Empowers the Maverick via:

  • Cinequest Film Festival 20, February 23 – March 7, 2010: discovering Maverick films and innovations while connecting artists, innovators and film lovers.
  • Cinequest Mavericks Studio: producing and distributing A-list movies, episodic television and new media.
  • Picture the Possibilities: empowering underserved youth with innovative tools, mentors, and training needed to turn their stories into film, spearheading change in their local community.


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