Thesp will join moderated 'Edmond' conversation

William H. Macy has joined the lineup of guests for San Jose film festival Cinequest.

He’ll appear March 14 for a moderated conversation in support of “Edmond,” the David Mamet-derived feature that preemed at Telluride last fall. Fest’s 16th edition runs at various downtown San Jose venues March 1-12.

Thesp received a Maverick Spirit Award here in 2003. Chief recipient of that honor announced so far for 2006 is actor-director Edward James Olmos, who’ll be given a career-achievement tribute on March 10.

Sked is bookended by two forthcoming Fox Searchlight releases: Official opening night selection is Jason Reitman’s satire “Thank You for Smoking”; closer is Deepa Mehta’s India-set Canadian production “Water.”

As usual, program between places heavy emphasis on “discovery” titles, with 29 world, North American and U.S. premieres including numerous fresh-out-of-the-lab indie features.

Off-screen, a much-expanded Filmmaking and Technology Forum will host five full days of panels and workshops spotlighting screenwriting, post-production, cinematography, distribution and producing by turn.

Always connecting to its Silicon Valley environment via cutting-edge tech emphasis, fest is increasing the range of filmmaker-supportive exposure it provides via free, secure feature-film downloads on Cinequestonline.org (projected viewings for ’06 may reach 400,000) and its own recently launched DVD label. This year it will debut some programming on mobile vid platforms including Palm Pilots, iPods, wireless laptops and video-ready mobile phones.

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