Now in its 23rd year, the San Antonio Film Festival continues to provide a showcase for local and international filmmakers. The festival also brings working industry professionals to San Antonio for discussions and presentations with aspiring filmmakers.
The week-long event, which takes place from July 31-Aug. 6, will showcase 39 features and dozens of short films. More than 20 countries will be represented, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Korea, Canada and the Netherlands. Also scheduled is the 2nd Annual SAFILM Children’s Film Festival and additional discussions with industry professionals.
The festival’s opening night on July 31 will feature a 6 p.m. screening of A Classy Broad, a documentary about San Antonio-born producer Marcia Nasatir, winner of last year’s SAFILM Lifetime Achievement Award. She was one of Hollywood’s first female executives and the first female vice president of production at a studio.
On Friday, Aug. 4 at 9:30 a.m., Darrien Michele Gipson, the National Director of SAGindie, will hold a Q&A about the ways that filmmakers can use professional actors in their films, regardless of the budget.
On Saturday, Aug. 5 at 9:30 a.m., Marcia Nasatir will return to the festival to talk about her career in show business. At 11 a.m., Anne Goursaud, director of A Classy Broad, will discuss the differences between editing narrative features and documentaries. Finally, at 11:30 a.m., a conversation will be held with legendary producer Harry J. Upland, who worked on the film The Last Temptation of Christ.
“We always have top-tier people coming out and giving these presentations,” said Adam Rocha, the San Antonio Film Festival’s founder. “We’ve been proud to provide them for free for years. It’s one way that we support the city’s film community.”
Several feature films will be making their world or local premieres at SAFILM. The Hawaiian mystery, Kuleana, will mark its North American premiere at 7 p.m. on Aug. 1. The film’s director, Brian Kohne, and its executive producer, San Antonio native Susan Naylor, will be in attendance. Wind River, the new film from director Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), will have its Texas premiere that same night at 8 p.m.
Ric Osuna’s The UnAmerican Struggle makes its world premiere at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, with the director in attendance. Blow a Kiss, from San Antonio’s Not So Sane Entertainment, also makes its world premiere on Aug. 2 at 9 p.m., with director Brett Mauser in attendance.
The Texas premiere of Steven Wallace Pruitt’s The Tree takes place on Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Two other world premieres are Matthew Thornton’s Silverfish at 9 p.m. on Aug. 4 and Justin Chon’s Gook on Aug. 5 at 9 p.m.
Celebrity appearances by actors whose films are screening at the festival are also on the schedule. Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side) will attend the screening of My First Miracle on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. Wes Studi (Avatar) will attend the screening of From Ashes to Immortality on Aug. 4 at 3 p.m. The film’s director, Eric Hyde, will also be in attendance.
Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba) will be on hand for the Texas premiere of Created Equal along with the film’s producer, Thada Catalon, on Aug. 5 at 3:30 p.m. More celebrity appearances will be announced.
Presented in partnership with the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, the SAFILM 2nd Annual Children’s Film Festival will take place on Aug. 2 through Saturday, Aug. 5. At 10 a.m. each day, an hour of short films will be screened, preceded by a puppet show at 9:45 a.m.
On Wednesday, a block of seven films entitled Loot Bag Junior will be screened, which is recommended for children ages 6 and up. Thursday’s 15-film block is called Kid Flix 1 and is recommended for children ages 3 and up. Friday’s program repeats Loot Bag Junior and Saturday’s eight-film block, Kid Flix 2, is recommended for children ages 8 and up. Tickets are available online for $10 per program.
“These are award-winning, independent films for kids you can’t see anywhere else,” said Rocha. “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Pearl and TIFF Kids once again this year for this special event.”
Local filmmakers also will be well represented at the festival, as more than 30 local films are scheduled to screen. A “Local Flavor” block, consisting entirely of local productions from San Antonio and Austin, will screen on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. The works of many San Antonio high school and college filmmakers also will be seen throughout the festival.
“We have a lot of Austin filmmakers coming down,” Rocha said. “I think they’re trying to find a new route for exposure, and they’re making the San Antonio Film Festival that route.”
On Aug. 5 at 7 p.m., the SAFILM Awards Ceremony will be held with filmmakers and Mayor Ron Nirenberg will attend.
All films will be screened at the Tobin Center’s Carlos Alvaraz Studio Theater, Feik Family Rotunda and East Rotunda, with the exception of the opening night screening and the children’s film festival, which will be held at the Pearl Studio. A full line-up of screenings and events can be found here.