The Houston Cinema Arts Festival is a tease. They know they’ve got some great (as in GREAT) programming to delight you with at HCAF15, their seventh annual cinematic celebration of all things by and about artists. They’ve already announced five upcoming releases that will make their Houston premieres at the festival November 12-19th, including the Weinstein Company’s Carol, an early Oscars contender starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, directed by Todd Haynes. Carol (image above) made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where Mara won the Best Actress prize.
There’s also Fox Searchlight’s Youth starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Youth’s Oscar bragging rights include director Sorrentino’s 2014 Academy Award for The Great Beauty, and three Oscar winners in Caine, Wiesz and Fonda.
If documentaries are more your thing, then we already know that the festival will feature a special tribute to Gordon Quinn and Kartemquin Films, the groundbreaking Chicago media production center behind internationally acclaimed documentaries such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters.
Then there’s The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and The Course of Country Music with guest director Beth Harrington, an upcoming Argot Pictures release that chronicles the Cash and Carter dynasties and their influence through generations of musicians – with interviews, archival discoveries and performances by the likes of June Carter Cash, George Jones, Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crow.
And there’s more coming! But we have to wait to find out what. So, mark your calendars: On October 20, HCAF15 announces the full program for their eight-day film fest.
Attending a film festival is unlike the normal movie-going experience, HCAF Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz told us. “Most films have guest filmmakers doing introductions and Q & A sessions, and there are also a lot of events where film is blended with live theater and music. Oh yes, and there’s also a lot of partying!” Several directors rooted in Texas who are making a big splash in the film world are coming back for this year’s festival, added Herskowitz. “Their films should not be missed. They include Patrick Wang, Trey Edward Shults and Katie Cokinos. Katie will be joined by the producer of her project, the great Richard Linklater.”
Herskowitz has three tips for getting the best out of your HCAF15 experience:
- Read the “highlights” sections of the website and catalogue to learn about the various themes running through the festival. They’ll help you navigate through the program.
- Take advantage of the online blurbs, reviews and trailers for each of the films. They’ll help you choose what you want to see.
- Take off Friday, November 13 and spend the day at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It’s going to be an amazing day full of classic and new movies about outer space, with some celebrated guests.
HCAF15 individual tickets and passes are on sale now. Popcorn anyone?
This is the time of year to reconnect with your inner film buff. Film festivals abound across Texas and here’s a short peek at some of the other fall festivals around the state.
October 14 – 18, Marfa
Now in their seventh year, programmers at the Marfa Film Festival show films one-at-a-time, so attendees can enjoy the entire program with spare hours to relax and socialize in that unhurried Marfa kind of a way.
October 16 – 18, Hico
The Billy the Kid Western Film Festival is dedicated to preserving our diverse movie history and to honoring the heritage of Western filmmaking. It celebrates the men and women in front of and behind the camera.
October 24 – 30, Austin
The Austin Jewish Film Festival attracts a wide range of attendees from the Jewish and non-Jewish Central Texas community who are rewarded with a potpourri of films with a Jewish theme, films produced in Israel, and films with a Jewish producer, director, or significant actor.
October 29 – November 5, Austin
In the 22 years since it began, the Austin Film Festival has grown to become the premier film festival recognizing the writers’ contributions to film, television and new media. This year’s event features more than 20 world and North American premieres.
Academy Award winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) will present the 2015 opening night film, Legend, on October 29 at the Paramount Theatre. Written and directed by Helgeland, Legend is the true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in a powerhouse double performance. Legend is a classic crime thriller taking us into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.
November 5 – 7, Rockport
The Rockport Film Festival celebrates the best of independent cinema on the Texas Coast. Offering an affordable retreat where art meets environment, filmmakers and attendees can network and relax, enjoying films that are rarely seen elsewhere without having to wait in long lines or navigate multiple theater venues.
November 5 – 8, Fort Worth
The Lone Star Film Festival in Sundance Square is the signature event of the Lone Star Film Society. This year’s schedule includes a thriller featuring Mark Wahlberg and Oscar Isaac, a drama starring Theo James, Dakota Fanning and Richard Gere, a documentary about legendary Texas musician Doug Sahm, and a keynote speech from David Edelstein, the film critic for New York Magazine, NPR’s Fresh Air, and CBS-TV’s Sunday Morning.
By Julie Tereshchuk
Feature image of Carol courtesy of The Weinstein Company