Delight in the world of film at the 10th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Green Book | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Hop from reel to reel for a celebration of local, regional, and international film at venues across town during the 10th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, from Thursday, November 8 through Monday, November 12, 2018.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Houston Cinema Arts Festival brings films focused on the arts for five days of viewing pleasure in a unique-to-Houston experience. Unlike other film festivals, HCAF18 is a curation of films about the arts and their creators. It pulls from local, regional, and international talent to tell a global story about the arts and create fascinating, pop-up experiences.

HCAF18 features impressive events that promise to be intriguing and sensational. Highlights include intimate performances by world-renown Kronos Quartet, a celebration of music and film with Richard Linklater and Bun B, immersive VR film experiences at 360 Cinema, Space City-themed films of CineSpace, and more.

Events & Film Screenings at HCAF18 

Films and pop-up events are held at screenings and partner venues throughout the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Rice Cinema, and more.

This year’s compelling lineup of films is quite extensive. Click here to view a full, day by day line-up of movies and events, and continue reading for this year’s main HCAF highlights.

Bathtubs Over Broadway | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Opening Night Screenings with Directors

Houston Cinema Arts Festival 2018 kicks off with two films accompanied by their directors on Thursday, November 8, 2018.

Director Dava Whisenant and documentary subject Steve Young will be on-hand to screen Bathtubs Over Broadway on opening night at MFAH. The award-winning and delightfully entertaining documentary follows Young, a comedy writer for Late Show with David Letterman, as his bargain-bin vinyl digging for a segment turns into a decades-spanning obsession to uncover everything he can about a hidden, hilarious world of corporate musicals.

At Rice Media Center, Director Dan Miller presents Citizen Blue, a documentary that explores the legacy of Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, educator, and historian, James Blue. The award-winning social activist filmmaker is known for his documentaries chronicling the 1964 civil rights march on Washington, D.C. in The March, and addressing the growing issue of world hunger in A Few Notes on Our Food Problem.

Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

A Dazed and Confused Cinema Arts Celebration

Head to White Oak Music Hall on Friday, November 9, 2018 for a discussion merging film and music.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, hip-hop legend Bun B will interview Linklater about the musical selections chosen in his classic film and Everybody Wants Some!!, the film’s 2016 “spiritual sequel” also directed by Linklater.

After the interview, local five-piece Handsomebeast will take the stage at White Oak Music Hall to perform soundtrack covers, followed by Bun B returning for a special performance including songs from Everybody Wants Some!!, Rapper’s Delight, and his latest release, Return of the Trill.

Stick around after Bun B’s performance for a dance party led by DJ Ramalama.

CineSpace entry: Spaceling – Everything Is Possible | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

CineSpace Returns for Fourth Year

Taking place at Rice Media Center on Saturday, November 10, 2018, the fourth annual CineSpace international competition presents the fifteen finalists vying for a total of $26,000 in prizes.

The chosen films, all under ten minutes in length, range from narrative to documentary and experimental film genres and employ NASA-captured imagery collected throughout the agency’s 60-year history.

Created by filmmakers, both professional and aspiring, the three top winners of the competition will be selected by director Richard Linklater, with NASA also awarding two special prizes.

360 Cinema: Ashes | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Immersive Virtual Reality Experiences

Coinciding with Second Saturday, a monthly art gallery showcase at Sawyer Yards, HCAF18 presents six immersive short films, with the help of virtual reality, in 360 Cinema on November 10, 2018.

In showings that take place every 90 minutes, the audience will don Samsung GearVR headsets and headphones, experiencing the short films simultaneously over the course of 35 minutes. A Q&A session with four of the artists will follow the screening.

The films, ranging from three to nine minutes each, encompass a variety of cinematic genre, from experimental storytelling to immersive dance and abstract metaphorical artworks.

Another immersive, unique VR experience is held throughout the festival at Rice Media Center with a film entitled Queerskins: a love story. The virtual film places audience members in the backseat of a vehicle driven by two grieving parents. The surrounding installation space expands the experience, providing hidden memorabilia and objects that further deepen a connection with the film.

A Thousand Thoughts | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

A Thousand Thoughts with Kronos Quartet

Houston Cinema Arts Festival welcomes Kronos Quartet for two “live documentary” performances at Asia Society Texas Center on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Performing alongside A Thousand Thoughts, the groundbreaking string quartet will revisit its extensive body of work on stage.

Written and directed by Sam Green and Joe Bini, the film recounts the band’s history from its founding by violinist David Harrington, through its current incarnation with the great Korean-born cellist, Sunny Yang.

A special event at Houston Cinema Arts Festival, A Thousand Thoughts has been performed by Kronos Quartet just seven times, including at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, garnering dazzling praise.

Tickets for this event are in high demand and are available for 4pm and 7pm performances. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Widows | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Noteworthy Houston Film Premieres 

HCAF18 will also be the first opportunity for Houstonians to see films that have already become festival favorites, but have yet to be released. Last year’s festival goers were among the first to see Academy Award-nominated films, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Call Me By Your Name.

  • Widows at MFAH | Friday, November 9 – Directed, co-written and produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, Widows tells the story of four women from different backgrounds that forge a future on their own terms after their husbands, armed robbers, are killed in an explosive heist attempt.
  • The Price of Everything at MFAH | Saturday, November 10 – With unprecedented access to pivotal artists and the market that surrounds them, this documentary dives deep into the contemporary art world, holding a mirror up to our values and our times—where everything can be bought and sold. A roundtable discussion with director Nathaniel Kahn, producer Jennifer Stockman, Bill Arning, and Jessica Phifer follows the screening.
  • At Eternity’s Gate at MFAH | Saturday, November 10 – From Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and University of Houston BFA graduate, Julian Schnabel creates a stirring film about what it is to be an artist by accumulating scenes based on Vincent van Gogh’s (played by Willem Dafoe) personal letters and events in his life.
  • Roma at MFAH | Sunday, November 11 – Shot on 65mm in black and white, Roma is the semi-autobiographical account of Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón. Chronicling a year in the life of a middle class family in 1970s Mexico City, Roma recalls personal memories of the filmmaker’s youth as well as paying homage to the resilient women that shaped his adulthood.
At Eternity’s Gate | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Closing Films

Two films wrap up HCAF18 on Monday, November 12, offering powerful and significant experiences to festival attendees.

  • Green Book at MFAH – Starring Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings) and Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Green Book follows the journey of an Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx driving a world-class African-American pianist on a 1962 concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South. Facing racism and danger along the way, the two must rely on “The Green Book” that guides them to the few establishments deemed safe for African-Americans.
  • The Last Movie at Rice Media Center – A narrative film from the late cinema icon Dennis Hopper, The Last Movie centers on a Hollywood movie crew making a western in a remote Peruvian village. The consciously self-reflexive film mirrors real life in that Hopper, following the commercial success of Easy Rider, took the money provided by Universal Pictures for the film and moved production to the furthest remove from Hollywood. Although it won a 1971 Venice Film Festival award, Universal refused to distribute the film, effectively ending Hopper’s career for many years.
The Last Movie | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

About Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Presented by the Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS), the Houston Cinema Arts Festival showcases films by and about artists in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Welcoming a bevy of Texas-born filmmakers, actors and other celebrity artists, showings are held at both traditional theatrical venues and through interactive video installations, live multimedia performances and outdoor projections.

Houston Cinema Arts Festival 10th Anniversary

Roma | Photo courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival

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