San Antonio — San Antonio’s original Latinx film festival returns on July 6 through July 10 at the historic Guadalupe Theater with a large Texas filmmaker presence. Featuring 85 films, including 22 films from San Antonio and 24 films in the Lone Star State, CineFestival San Antonio continues to support local and regional filmmakers while offering a well-rounded program to local audiences that also includes national and international films that highlight artistic excellence and diversity.
“The amazing response that CineFestival San Antonio got this year to our call for entries, receiving a record number of submissions from filmmakers from across the State and the US, local and international, is a testament to the privileged position San Antonio has as a cultural hub, bridging the cultures of South Texas and the state’s borderlands with the rest of Texas and beyond.” said CineFestival Programmer Eugenio del Bosque. “This response means focusing the film festival in local and regional works while reflecting artistic excellence in Latinx and indigenous filmmaking is the right path for a festival with such an amazing history to continue in a relevant trajectory that is meaningful to both audiences and participating artists.”
The 43rd annual CineFestival San Antonio will feature 24 screenings showcasing 12 feature films and 73 short films. The festival will open on July 6 with the San Antonio premiere of PEPE SERNA, LIFE IS ART (Dir. Luis Reyes, 2022), a joyous look at the life and work of groundbreaking Mexican-American character actor Pepe Serna, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas whose hundred-plus charismatic scene-stealing roles paved the way for generations of Chicanx actors in Hollywood and beyond.
The closing night film will be the world premiere of ‘Cuerpo,” directed by San Antonio’s own Mark Zuñiga, an ambitious horror film set in the 18th century San Antonio exploring the culture and clashes between the Spanish colonists and the indigenous people they are trying to convert; a recipient of the San Antonio Film Commission’s local filmmaker grant, “Cuerpo” is a passion project produced and shot in the San Antonio area with local cast, crew, and an original score.
Other feature films include:
- World premiere of the comedy “An Awesome Action Movie,” directed by Luis Antonio Rodriguez and shot in McAllen, Texas, and starring veteran Mexican actor Hector Soberón;
- Sundance acclaimed documentary “Mija” by Isabel Castro;
- Mexico’s powerful documentary “Comala” by Gian Cassini, which has strong ties to San Antonio;
- “A Run for More” by Ray Whitehouse, which follows Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe as the first trans woman to run for city council in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas;
- SXSW laureate Iliana Sosa’s “What We Leave Behind,” a love letter to the El Paso native director’s grandfather and intimate and insightful exploration of her own relationship with him and his homeland;
- The social justice horror film “Madres” by Ryan Zaragoza, co-written by San Antonio native Marcella Ochoa, who will be in attendance and will also offer a master class for registered filmmakers.
- “Jockey” by Clint Bentley, featuring an award-winning performance by Mexican-American thespian Clifton Collins Jr., grandson of Aguilares, Texas native character actor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, most famous for his humorous sidekick roles in the 1950s and 1960s John Wayne westerns.
- “Earth Mother,” directed by Austin’s Brandon Polanco and starring San Antonio’s Annette Mia Flores.
- “Capitol Barbie” by New Mexico native Riley Del Rey is a TV pilot and a new programming line for CineFestival. A Political show about a translatina on Capitol Hill, “Capitol Barbie” deals with delicate and socially pertinent themes, raising questions and opening conversations around racism, homophobia, and transphobia in the workplace. The screenplay is written by trans and indigenous filmmakers Riley Del Rey and Violet Martinez.
The Mezquite Awards will be bestowed in two main categories: Audience Awards for the public’s favorite feature film and Jury Awards for Best Texas Short Film. A panel of industry professionals will be part of this year’s festival jury, who will choose the jury award-winning documentary and narrative films from a collection of 14 short films made in Texas, including works from Austin, Buda, Denton, El Paso, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio.
The ever-popular San Antonio showcase will featuring eight short films made by local artists, including works made by Nathaniel Avila, Guillermina Zabala, Esmeralda Hernandez, Ái Vuong, Samuel Díaz Fernádez, Lisa Salinas Sosa, Miguel Contreras IV, Raymond Ramos, and Violeta de León Dávila.
43 CineFestival San Antonio will offer ten free screenings, including Family Day with the Texas premiere of “Ainbo, Spirit of the Amazon” by Richard Claus and Jose Zelada, a US-Peruvian animated feature in the spirit of “Moana” and “Frozen”; and Senior Cinema, featuring an exclusive reprise screening of the documentary “Pepe Serna: Life is Art” dedicated to San Antonio’s elderly film lovers.
Free screenings will also include short film showcases including the Texas short film showcase featuring works from Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Greenville, and El Paso; a selection of international short films from Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, Spain, and Venezuela; a collection of short films showcasing Latinx and indigenous talent from around the US; and the always eye-opening Youth Day screenings, featuring films made by artists 18 years old or younger which includes works made in San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Dallas, Arizona, Connecticut, Peru, and Spain.
All 43 CineFesitval San Antonio screenings will take place at the historic Guadalupe Theater, located at 1301 Guadalupe Street, San Antonio, TX 78207. The full festival schedule and tickets will be available on June 25 at www.guadalupecutluralarts.org. Individual tickets are $8 and festival passes are $40.
The 43 CineFestival San Antonio is made possible thanks to the continuing support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Antonio Film Commission, the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, and the Ford Foundation.
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