San Antonio Film Festival Continues to Flourish After 22 Years

By Kiko Martinez of the San Antonio Current

Things have been going pretty well for the San Antonio Film Festival over the last two decades – increased submissions, more international representation, strong local partnerships – but festival director and founder Adam Rocha isn’t about to stand pat.

Instead, the festival, which runs July 25-31 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and the historic Pearl Stables, will feature a handful of new components for its 22nd edition.

“It’s time to expand and give this city some more panache and sizzle,” Rocha told the Current during an interview last week. “The festival is getting bigger and we want to try out some different things.”

Along with screenings of films from around the world and a series of panel discussions, the festival will include a four-day mini film festival for children featuring a collection of animated shorts. The children’s film festival portion of SAFF takes place July 27-30.

“Filmmakers have kids, so they’re always asking, ‘What screenings can I take my kids to?’ Rocha said. “We’re giving people what they want.”

Also new on the agenda: a screenwriting contest that Rocha hopes will unearth the next Lawrence Kasdan.

“We’ve wanted this to be a part of the festival for a while,” Rocha said. “As we saw the festival expand, a screenwriting contest made sense. I really think it’s going to catch on.”

According to Rocha, close to 1,000 films were submitted to the festival. Countries representing accepted films this year include France, Spain, Croatia and Norway, just to name a few.

“We’ve become a legitimate player on the world-cinema stage,” Rocha said. “We’re a launching pad for not only San Antonio filmmakers, but international filmmakers, too.”

When it comes to San Antonio filmmakers, Rocha said a record 29 were chosen to screen their movies. One of them, The Places You’ll Go, is a short documentary by local filmmaker Jesse Salazar III. In the film, Salazar points his camera at his own son during a road trip across the U.S. and explores his unique perspective on life during their journey.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to slow down and remember what it’s like to have an innocent and sincere outlook on life and appreciate the newness of the world around us, so I wanted to capture that,” Salazar said. “The fact that my film was acknowledged by my hometown means a lot to me.”

Another San Antonio native getting recognition at the festival for her work in the industry is Marcia Nasatir, who will receive the SAFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Nasatir, 90, is the subject of the documentary A Classy Broad, which will screen during the festival. In 1974, she became the first woman to serve as vice president of production at a Hollywood studio. During her time in Los Angeles, she helped develop a number of major projects, including Rocky, Carrie and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“She is so legitimately San Antonio, it’s insane,” Rocha said. “She is so down-to-earth. Even with all this success in her life, she is authentic. I mean, who do you know that has hung out with Jack Nicholson? She’s a living legend.”

Momentum for Feenix Film’s Clandestine Keeps Bulding

By Digital JournalClandestine earns a spot at the San Antonio Film Festival

RAMSEY, NEW JERSEY – 12 July, 2016After winning the Remi Gold Award for Crime Drama at WorldFest Houston Clandestine has been honored again with a place in the San Antonio Film Festival. The Festival “an accessible and inclusive platform for cinema artists” takes place July 25th through the 31st and will be screening Clandestine on Wednesday, July 27.

Rounding out the WorldFest Houston experience Clandestine’s Kate A. McGrath received The Houston Broadcast Film Critics award for Best Supporting Actress; Nick DeMatteo was nominated for Best Actor; David LaRosa for Best Supporting Actor; and Chris Ryan was nominated for a Houston Broadcast Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Award.

With its inclusion in the San Antonio Film Festival Clandestine continues to gain support from the independent film community.

“We continue to be proud of how Clandestine impacts not only professionals within the film industry but also the people you ultimately make a film for – the audiences.  We will be working hard to ensure the film achieves the distribution needed to ensure any who wish to see it, can.” – David LaRosa, Director, Clandestine.

Clandestine is the fifth feature film from New Jersey based Feenix Films and is partially based on writer Kate A. McGrath’s father’s stories as a retired Long Island police officer.

Clandestine – When hard drugs invade a small town, local and federal law enforcement find themselves working together. Navigating the minefield of local political officials and junkie confidential informants, the team seeks to root out a sinister network of meth cooks and dealers threatening to change the face of Long Island’s idyllic suburban north shore.

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22nd annual San Antonio Film Festival reels in July 25-31

By Christina Acosta of La Prensa De San Antonio

Film festivals give filmmakers, actors and screenwriters the opportunity to show their talent to an audience ready to see something unique— for a local film festival, it is important to give them the exposure.

The 22nd annual San Antonio Film Festival (SAFILM) is ready to reel in at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts July 25 through July 31. There will be many opportunities including 145 feature-length and short films in downtown San Antonio.

“We have people from the film industry flying from France, Italy and Yugoslavia, slowly making this an international film festival,” Executive Director of SAFILM Adam Rocha told La Prensa “We had over 1,000 entrees from the film industry who wanted a slot in our festival. There is two rounds, so the films are seen by several judges around the country through an online submission process.”

The festival will kick off on Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Pearl Stable with a free screening of the documentary “Brewed in the 210” open to the community. The local documentary, which focuses on the San Antonio handcrafted beer world, will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.

Throughout the week, the festival will also screen a local student’s animated short “Dark Chocolate” and the short film “Get The Hell Out,” leading up to the premiere of “Hell or High Water” on Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m. at the Tobin Center. Texas Rangers and their horses will attend the special opening night’s red carpet event.

Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges is joined by Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham in “Hell or High Water.” The film is set in West Texas, where distinction between men and outlaws has blurred beyond recognition.

High profile red carpet events will take place Tuesday through Saturday nights for all badge and ticket holders. The festival represents a milestone for Rocha, who explains that not only will it screen films with a Hollywood touch, but will help the city gain recognition for understated projects.

“Like everybody has been saying, San Antonio is a city on the rise in film. This year, we have selected 29 filmmakers from San Antonio that will be screening,” Rocha expressed. “That is the largest number of films we have screened at this festival. The community is growing, and we are blessed to launch film careers. We are blessed to be chosen as the city to premiere “Hell or High Water.”

BrandiSAFILM is not only premiering high quality films, they are also opening the doors for the first time to a Children’s Festival that will take place on Wednesday, July 27 through Saturday, July 30 at the Pearl Studio, located at 200 East Grayson St. Another new addition this year is a screenwriter’s contest with a cash award for the writer of the winning screenplay.

To wrap-up the festival the proper way, there will be free workshops covering all aspects of filmmaking, from how to use music to post-production and distribution. It is free and open to the public on Friday and Saturday starting at 10 a.m. The Third Annual Awards Brunch takes place on Sunday, July 31 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at O’liva.

SAFILM has ultimately built their festival up in 22 years, striving to make San Antonio a bigger platform for many in front and behind the camera. This is the year to attend where you can expect an improved experience.

“The festival has gotten better with age… It’s a celebration of movies. It is a joyous occasion where you appreciate independent filmmakers, a great time with the family, all for a low price at the heart of downtown,” concluded Rocha.

Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit and Tom Perini featured in documentary

By Janet Van Vleet of the Abilene Reporter News

The 2015 Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit was the setting for “Salute to the Classics,” a documentary short film focusing on the history of Texas and Southwest Cuisine.

The film will be screened July 26 at the 22nd annual San Antonio Film Festival.

Directed by Austin filmmaker David Barrow, the film showcases James Beard award winners Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing and Robert Del Grande, pioneers of Southwest Cuisine, and Buffalo Gap’s own Tom Perini.

The film airs as one of three short films about food. The screening is at 8 p.m. at the Tobin Center, Felik Family Rotunda, 100 Auditorium Circle, San Antonio. Visit for more info on the film festival.

Look for more about the film, how it came to be and the process of getting it on screen Saturday on or in Sunday’s Reporter-News.

About Janet Van Vleet

Janet Van Vleet is the arts & entertainment editor for the Abilene Reporter-News.