Film festivals give filmmakers, actors and screenwriters the opportunity to show their talent to an audience ready to see something unique— for a local film festival, it is important to give them the exposure.
The 22nd annual San Antonio Film Festival (SAFILM) is ready to reel in at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts July 25 through July 31. There will be many opportunities including 145 feature-length and short films in downtown San Antonio.
“We have people from the film industry flying from France, Italy and Yugoslavia, slowly making this an international film festival,” Executive Director of SAFILM Adam Rocha told La Prensa “We had over 1,000 entrees from the film industry who wanted a slot in our festival. There is two rounds, so the films are seen by several judges around the country through an online submission process.”
The festival will kick off on Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Pearl Stable with a free screening of the documentary “Brewed in the 210” open to the community. The local documentary, which focuses on the San Antonio handcrafted beer world, will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.
Throughout the week, the festival will also screen a local student’s animated short “Dark Chocolate” and the short film “Get The Hell Out,” leading up to the premiere of “Hell or High Water” on Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Tobin Center. Texas Rangers and their horses will attend the special opening night’s red carpet event.
Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges is joined by Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham in “Hell or High Water.” The film is set in West Texas, where distinction between men and outlaws has blurred beyond recognition.
High profile red carpet events will take place Tuesday through Saturday nights for all badge and ticket holders. The festival represents a milestone for Rocha, who explains that not only will it screen films with a Hollywood touch, but will help the city gain recognition for understated projects.
“Like everybody has been saying, San Antonio is a city on the rise in film. This year, we have selected 29 filmmakers from San Antonio that will be screening,” Rocha expressed. “That is the largest number of films we have screened at this festival. The community is growing, and we are blessed to launch film careers. We are blessed to be chosen as the city to premiere “Hell or High Water.”
SAFILM is not only premiering high quality films, they are also opening the doors for the first time to a Children’s Festival that will take place on Wednesday, July 27 through Saturday, July 30 at the Pearl Studio, located at 200 East Grayson St. Another new addition this year is a screenwriter’s contest with a cash award for the writer of the winning screenplay.
To wrap-up the festival the proper way, there will be free workshops covering all aspects of filmmaking, from how to use music to post-production and distribution. It is free and open to the public on Friday and Saturday starting at 10 a.m. The Third Annual Awards Brunch takes place on Sunday, July 31 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at O’liva.
SAFILM has ultimately built their festival up in 22 years, striving to make San Antonio a bigger platform for many in front and behind the camera. This is the year to attend where you can expect an improved experience.
“The festival has gotten better with age… It’s a celebration of movies. It is a joyous occasion where you appreciate independent filmmakers, a great time with the family, all for a low price at the heart of downtown,” concluded Rocha.
To see the complete schedule or purchase the V.I.P badge, film badge or screening tickets, visit SAFILM.com or tobincenter.org.