On Saturday, March 11th, I was fortunate to spend my afternoon with actor/comedian Fred Armisen and actress/comedian Jane Lynch at the California Theater located in the heart of Silicon Valley to accept their Spirit Maverick Award thanks to Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Festival 2017. Maverick, by definition, is Cinequest’s “most prestigious accolade. The Maverick Spirit Award recognizes bold, visionary, and creative forces—the finest in the worlds of Silicon Valley innovation and the film arts.”
The afternoon was nothing short of hilarious with Fred Armisen absolutely solidifying the fact that I indeed to watch all of Portlandia ASAP. If this wasn’t a great introduction to the actor, then I don’t know what is. In my defense, I wasn’t all too familiar with his work other than Saturday Night Live (I just got latched onto it last year) and Late Night with Seth Meyers. The audience sat back to listen to a candid interview about how his unique television characters came to fruition, how he keeps a box of people he is inspired by underneath his bed, and how he actually really loves San Jose. “I’ve been here a few times, and I spent time walking around this morning. It reminds me of Italy.” The best bit? When Jane Lynch volunteered for the Q&A to shower Armisen with compliments and congratulations for his new driver’s license!
A few hours later, Jane Lynch took the stage to accept her award and present her new comedy Writer’s Block. Her interview began with her early start as an actor – way back in third grade during a school play when she was the letter A to spell out the word “Candle” and she recited a poem that she still remembers to this day. Jane knew she loved being on stage; she wanted to be in that little television box. Speaking of boxes, in her version of Fred Armisen’s “inspiration box”, Jane mentioned a few individuals she looks up to such as Fred Armisen, Tina Fey, Zach Galifianakis, and Louis C.K.
From singing to television to movies, what is it that Jane CAN’T do? Well, apparently it’s directing! “As odd as that sounds for an actor to say, I don’t want to direct. It’s so much work. It’s pre-production. Then you’re shooting. You’re worrying about so many other things. Then post-production,” says Jane. “When I’m done, I’m done. […] Like I said, I don’t really have any ambitions or goals.” You hear that? If you
This year, Cinequest brought the comedy to the stage with their Spirit Maverick Award winners – which also included director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air). It was a great way to end the Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Festival which brought in over 130 World and U.S. Premieres, a new virtual reality experience which was an absolute must-try, and gathered creatives from all around the world to connect with one another. We’ll see you next year!