FilmFilm News

The 45th Annual CineFestival Starts Thursday, July 11


Celebrating its 45th year, the nation’s original and longest-running Latinx film festival continues to support local and regional filmmakers.

CineFestival offers a well-rounded program that includes national and international films highlighting artistic excellence and diversity. San Antonio’s original Latinx film festival runs Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, 2024, at two special screening locations — the Little Carver Civic Center at the Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Park North, 618 Northwest Loop 410.

75 Films To Be Highlighted

Highlighting approximately 75 films, the program includes nine features and 32 other films made in or related to Texas. 20 are nominated for the Mesquite Award for Best Texas Short Film. The Mesquite Award Nominees are at the heart of the festival’s program, including a collection of eight documentaries and 12 fiction films, all related to Texas.

These are some of the best and most innovative short films made by filmmakers based in Texas in the past three years. They represent some of the greatest talents working in the Lone Star State today. The competition includes films from San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Dallas/Fort Worth and the Rio Grande Valley, along with filmmakers from Texas, Mexico, Austria, Costa Rica, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Peru.

Local Filmmakers Featured
Vistas de San Antonio

In a nod to local filmmaking, the festival begins with a full slate of films by San Antonio filmmakers. During the afternoon on Thursday July 11, the Little Carver will host two showcases of local short films. These include works by students from San Antonio universities as well as local interest documentaries made by professional producers. In the evening, screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Park North will kick off with a show of the strength of the San Antonio Latinx community, featuring Suena La Educacion: the Story of Belle Ortiz (Dir. Gabriel Redondo). Wrapping up the first day for the festival will be the locally grown family comedy Tamale Season (Dir. Isaac Rodriguez).

Vistas de San Antonio is a program section that includes 23 films made in San Antonio. The consistent output of local filmmakers continues to positively reflect in the commitment of CineFestival San Antonio to support local filmmakers. This section includes something for everyone including mid-length documentaries about local history and events; student films from filmmaking programs at major local universities; and independent short films ranging from comedy and horror to documentary and experimental films.

New and Special Features
…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him

Topping the selection of films made by San Antonio artists is a special presentation of …And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him, directed by Severo Perez. The screening commemorates the film’s 30th anniversary with the director in attendance, who will also present his new book “A Filmmaker’s Journey” at the Guadalupe Latino Bookstore.

Born in the Westside of San Antonio in 1941, the acclaimed filmmaker moved to Los Angeles in 1972 to pursue a career in the motion picture industry. His films have won many awards, including five CINE Golden Eagles. Perez is also an accomplished playwright and novelist. “A Filmmaker’s Journey” offers valuable insights into the life and work of this influential and visionary artist.

The Estrenos section of the program includes big screen releases of new feature films with filmmakers in attendance. These include a strong collection of feature documentaries including Iliana Sosa’s God Save Texas — La Frontera; the long-awaited local premiere of The In Between, directed by Robie Flores; Kumbia Net: Un Estilo Bien Diferente, directed by Alvaro Parra; M20: Matamoros Ejido 20, by Mexican director Leonor Maldonado; and The Strike, by JoeBill Muñoz and Lucas Guilkey. The comedy A Little Family Drama, directed by Nadia Zoe, will close the festival on Sunday, July 14.

The program will also include three short film showcases. The Texas Showcase will feature work by filmmakers from all over the Lone Star State; the US Showcase presents a small selection of films made by Latinx and indigenous filmmakers all around the country; and the International Showcase offers a small sample of films made in Latin America.

Last, but not least — the always innovative Youth Film section will include films made by artists 18 years or younger working in San Antonio and beyond.

“I am looking forward to CineFestival being on the road this year to reach new audiences” said CineFestival director Eugenio del Bosque. “I am really impressed with the amount of work being produced locally, and with the quality of some of the films submitted in general. We have had a tough time curating this program due to our limited screen time this year, yet I trust that our selection process will also encourage artists to keep learning and getting better.”

“With the film industry continuously going through major changes in the past few years, I think Latinx and Chicanx movies are more important than ever, and cultivating local stories is something that CineFestival will stay committed to because we want to be part of the positive development of a creative ecosystem that offers real opportunities for film artists in San Antonio and Texas at large.”

The full program and screening schedule will be available Monday, June 17 at the Guadalupe website. Individual tickets are $8 and festival passes are $45.

Photos courtesy Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.