Attendees walk the red carpet at the 23rd annual San Antonio Film Festival at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio Film Festival

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The 24th annual edition of the San Antonio Film Festival (SAFILM) is coming Aug. 1-5 to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s line-up consists of 31 features and dozens of short films.

“We have national and international films as well as world-class documentaries,” said Adam Rocha, the festival’s founder and executive director. “We try to program the Festival so that there’s something for everyone.

“Wow, 24 years – that’s a lot of popcorn!” he added. “It’s still tons of fun, and now we have a lot of interns who run the show. These are future San Antonio leaders whom we are preparing to take over Hollywood.”

Local students and their parents in particular are anticipating the annual High School Shorts Program, which includes several films from area students this year. It screens at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Another block of shorts with a local flavor is entitled “Hometown Heroes,” showcasing films by San Antonio filmmakers. It screens Friday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. Other films are grouped together with common themes and intriguing titles such as “Fast Forward to the Future” (Aug. 5 at 6 p.m.), “Coming of Age” (Aug. 2 at 3 p.m.), “Love Rollercoaster” (Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.), and “Chills and Thrills” (Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.).

All in all, there will be more than 120 shorts from more than 24 different countries screening at SAFILM.

In keeping with tradition, the festival will also provide educational seminars with working professionals that are free and open to the public. The first one scheduled will be conducted by Michael Jablow, American Film Institute professor and film editor (Old School, Throw Momma from the Train) who will guide attendees through his editing and thought processes. It takes place Saturday, Aug. 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Additional seminars will be announced.

The annual awards ceremony will take place that same evening at 7 p.m., when filmmakers will receive honors in 16 different categories. San Antonio’s own Jesse Borrego (Lone Star, Colombiana) will be in attendance to accept this year’s San Antonio Film Festival Legacy Award.

“It’s wonderful to be able to say that I’ve been supporting the local independent scene and the dreamers that come from San Antonio for years,” Borrego told ArtScene SA. “For us, this [festival] is the culmination of many, many years of dreaming and working hard.

The SAFILM line-up is the best of both local and international filmmaking, and “filmmakers from all over the world come to showcase at the San Antonio Film Festival,” he added. Borrego’s feature directorial debut, Closer to Bottom, will screen on Sunday, Aug. 5 at 6 p.m.

Making its World Premiere at SAFILM is writer/director Polly Draper’s (Thirtysomething) new comedy, Stella’s Last Weekend, which stars Draper and her sons, Max and Alex Wolff. Ms. Draper will be in attendance for the screening, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 4, at 9 p.m.

Veteran producer Fred Roos (The Beguiled, Barfly, The Godfather Part II), executive producer of Stella’s Last Weekend, will also make an appearance for Benched, starring Garret Dillahunt and John C. McGinley, which screens Thursday, Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. Additional celebrity attendees will be announced.

The 3rd Annual SAFILM-San Antonio Children’s Film Festival will not be part of the August lineup, and with good reason. “It has been so successful that we have decided to branch off and make it a fall family show that’s not to be missed,” Rocha said. “Stay tuned for more info!” The full line-up of screenings and events, as well as ticketing information, can be found here.

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Kurt Gardner

Kurt Gardner is a cultural critic and digital marketing professional. He reviews film, theater, and music for Blogcritics, ArtBeatLA and ArtSceneSA.