SILICON VALLEY-- Sponsored by   TJ & VALETA RODGERS and  CLOS  De  La Tech. Elation, the name of the  30th year edition of THE CINEQUEST  Film & Creativity Festival, recently named "Best Film Festival" by  the readers of USA Today, will celebrate a different program this year which includes dance, comedy, fashion, music, writing, art, virtual reality, actors, performers, directors and  films, 130 of  them World and U.S. film premieres. The Festival will take place in different Theatres in San José and Redwood City from March 3rd to March 15th. 

During those weeks, CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL will attend some events, watch some films and do personal  interviews with  producers, directors, editors, stars and film makers and will publish those that, in out opinion, will be of interest to our readership in Silicon Valley in our website  We are starting with the film "BUTTER"

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> Alex Kersting as Butter in _BUTTER_ _Dir. Paul A. Kaufman_ Image courtesy of ButterΓÇÖs Final Meal LLC_Black and White 3.jpeg
Photos Courtesy: PAUL  A.  KAUFMAN

Teenagers lie to each other for different reasons. The most common is to try to impress their peers showing them something that they have that others can't afford,  or telling others about something  they did, which never happened in reality.  In modern times, with young people communicating with each other through a Blog or website, it is even easier to allow their  "alter ego" to create a completely different person than themselves and impersonate that 'character' when they chat online.

According to psychiatrists, one of the  many reasons why teens usually embellish themselves when describing their looks  to others in the internet, is to conceal their feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem. So, this may be  the reason why "Butter," (the main character in the film) a sixteen year old boy, the only son of a  white upper middle class family, who attends Scottsdale High School as a junior student in Arizona, intelligent,  funny,very talented in music, and drives her own BMW car, may had done what he did on that particular New Year's Night.  

Alex Kersting as Butter in _BUTTER_ _Dir. Paul A. Kaufman_ Image courtesy of ButterΓÇÖs Final Meal LLC_black and white A.jpeg

In the film, we meet "BUTTER" (ALEX KERSTING) staring at his computer conversing, online,  with Anna (McKALEY MILLER). Anna is  the girl he considers the most beautiful girl in his High School. Because they  sit in the same classes, 'Anna  knows "BUTTER" in person, but she knows him as  the  'lonely' boy who sits on a large 'special' desk in the back of the class, eats alone sitting on a bench because he can not fit on a chair, has no friends, (his only friend is home-educated so he does not attend school) and because of his size, is often bullied by  the school's bullies and the butt of all the students jokes for no other reason that he weighs 423  pounds.

But in the internet, under the initials  J.P., "BUTTER" is a completely different person.  When he first contacted Anna, he  described  himself  as  tall athletic man. Wanting to charm her, he plays saxophone for her on the web and even composed Anna, a song he dedicated to her. Since they met online, every night, both spend  hours chatting online with each other, and because the website where they chat  does not show photos of its subscribers, by now romantic Anna is totally infatuated with her 'online "prince charming" which she calls 'handsome."

L to R_ McKaley Miller as Anna and Alex Kersting as Butter in _BUTTER_ _Dir. Paul A. Kaufman_ Image courtesy of ButterΓÇÖs Final Meal LLC_Black and White.jpeg

Based on ERIC LANGE's  novel "BUTTER" the movie, Directed by accomplished Emmy Award Best Director winner and producer PAUL A. KAUFMAN, who has produced 23 movies and among other things directed top-rated CBS television series, and was honored with the  Directors Guild of Canada nomination for Best Director for his highly acclaimed TV movie "Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story"  is a must-see film for young people and their parents.

Its direction of the different characters in the film draw the audience into the world  of a group of  high school students whose main focus in life is  the internet that they use, in their spare time, to gossip about each other,  bully each other and  "chat"  with 'friends' who they will never met. Those students with fragile egos, even depending on  the number of "likes" in their blogs or websites to determine what to do to make others like him or her.

Sadly,  one of the most fragile egos in the movie is the ego of  "BUTTER." Being overweight, he has being always marginalized and rejected by his peers. He has no friends and next year he is facing the possibility that his parents will be sending him away to Chicago to a  FitFab School for obese children to force him lose weight. Feeling down,  a week before Christmas, in a whim,  opens his lap top, names his new website and posts  the following message:

"You think I eat a lot now? That's nothing. Tune in on December 31st when I will stream a live webcast of my meal. Death row inmates get one. Why shouldn't I? I can't take another year in this fat suit, but I can end this year with a bang. If you can stomach it, you can watch as I eat myself to death."

His  message was a cry for help, but the students' response  was different that what he had expected. Some began posting bets on whether the message was real or a hoax.  Others, instead of trying to stop him, asking how he was really going to do this, The completely insensitive ones  even encourage him to do it, even suggesting the food for his final meal. But for once, and for the wrong reason,"BUTTER" was happy. He had attracted the attention that he wanted.

L to R Alex Kersting as Butter and Mira Sorvino as Marian in _BUTTER_ _Dir. Paul A. Kaufman_ Image courtesy of ButterΓÇÖs Final Meal LLC_Color.jpeg
"Butter" ALEX KERSTEIG  and his mother (MIRA SORVINO)

"BUTTER" is an unusual story, but so real in its presentation that watching it on the screen  (The screenplay was co-written by CHRISTINA SIBUL) we can feel the kid's  pain. We can also experience his dilemma as he wondered, should he really kill himself?   Realistic also was the acting of every one of the students, specially those who do the bullying of "BUTTER" in his High School.

As Butter's parents, MIRA SORVINO as his mother made us feel her guilt for allowing his son to get this big with the food she cooked for him,  and her compassion for this unhappy boy  she created, loved very much and still called "baby."  As his dad, BRIAN VAN HOLT impersonates well a business man who unable to cope with this obese talented kid,  opted  for ignoring  him completely. Even leaving the room each time his son started playing  his saxophone.

Another  actor we need to mention in the movie is   MYKELTI WILLIAMSON, who plays the role of "BUTTER's" high school's music teacher , who is the only person who understanding his fragile ego is trying  to encourage  him to join the school band or join  the "Brass Boys"  group of Jazz players. And at the end, recognizing the kid's talent as a musician, to apply to  JUILLIARD's School of Music in New York.  

L to R Alex Kersting as Butter and Mykelti Williamson as Professor Dunn n _BUTTER_ _Dir. Paul A. Kaufman_ Image courtesy of ButterΓÇÖs Final Meal LLC_Color.jpeg
"BUTTER" and MIKELTI WILLIAMSON as his music teacher

For its story, direction, editing and acting we consider  "BUTTER" among  the best films in the Festival. The film is entertaining but its message. It is because of it, that this should be shown in High Schools around the country to teach compassion to the students. But the the real power in "BUTTER," is in what he learned:. That all the "likes" posted in the internet did not make him feel accepted. That the only way one feels accepted, is after we  learn to accept ourselves.

BUTTER will be shown on Saturday, March 7 at 9:30PM at the HAMMERS THEATRE, on Monday March 9 at 6:40 in Redwood City. on Thursday March 12 at 1:45 PM in Redwood City and on Friday March 13 at 2:30 at the HAMMERS THEATRE in San Jose.