Perini Ranch Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit a key part of “Salute to the Classics” documentary

By Janet Van Vleet of the Abilene Reporter News

BUFFALO GAP — “Salute to the Classics” began as the theme to the 2015 Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit. On Tuesday, a documentary of the same name debuts at the 22nd Annual San Antonio Film Festival.

It is a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the Wine Summit and three of the most influential chefs in the Texas Southwest cuisine movement who crafted the food at the event — Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing and Robert Del Grande.

“It’s been a longtime dream to bring those chefs together,” said Lisa Perini, who, with her husband, Tom Perini, is one of the founders of the Wine Summit, which takes place at Perini Ranch.

The Wine Summit was founded in 2005 by the Perinis, the late Fess Parker of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard and Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards.

The chefs for that first event were Jeff Blank from Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin, Matt Martinez from Matt’s Rancho Martinez in Dallas, Michael Thomson of Michael’s Restaurant in Fort Worth, Grady Spears, author of “Texas Cowboy Kitchen,” Paula Lambert from The Mozzarella Co. in Dallas, Pam Goble of Candies by Vletas in Abilene, and of course, Tom Perini.

Since then, renown chefs such as French Chef Jacques Pépin, Francis Mallman of Argentina, and Jon Bonnell of Fort Worth, among others.

Pyles, Fearing and Del Grande, like cowboy chef Tom Perini, are all James Beard Award winners, one of the most prestigious culinary awards in the world.

Lisa and Tom Perini also wanted to share the event with a larger audience than could be accommodated at the 2015 Wine Summit.

Tom Perini gives full credit to his wife for the idea for the documentary.

“You’ve got to remember, Lisa is very innovative and creative,” he said. “She’s always looking for new and exciting things for the Wine Summit.”

He said she came up with the idea and pursued it.

She approached the Texas Beef Council, one of the sponsors of the Wine Summit, which put her in touch with David Barrow, an Austin filmmaker and big proponent of the local farm-to-market movement. He had directed “True Beef,” which the Beef Council helped sponsor.

Barrow got into filmmaking almost accidentally. When he was a photography student at Baylor University, one of his professors gave him an HD digital camera and asked him to learn how to use the video aspect of it and come back in a week and teach the professor how to use it. Barrow did and he was hooked.

“That’s what sparked it,” he said. He has a second film, a full-length romantic comedy, “Second Impression,” premiering at the San Antonio festival next week. He was the cinematographer on that movie.

Barrow’s interest in food began in San Francisco some years ago when he followed a girl, who happened to be a chef, to the City by the Bay. He started doing chef and food photos and videos, which ignited his interest in the culinary world.

He eventually returned to Texas and in 2011 he was involved in the founding of The Homegrown Revival in Austin, which promotes “local and sustainably grown foods by educating consumers” through dinners, videos and cookbooks. He also made a film called “Farm-City, State” about growing food to feed Austin.

When he got the call about the Perinis and the Wine Summit, it was a bit serendipitous.

“It’s an interesting thing,” Barrow said. In 2014, while working on “True Beef,” he drove through Buffalo Gap on the way to the Panhandle and stopped by Perini Ranch. “It just happened to be the Friday of the Wine Summit.”

The chefs that year were Pyles and Mallman. Mallman was smoking whole lambs on individual racks around a ring of wood and hot coals.

Barrow said Mallman’s cooking method looked very visual and it seemed like a “really cool festival.

“A couple of months later, the Texas Beef Council introduced me to Lisa and Tom,” he said.

“There was an evolution of conversation, obviously, with Tom and Lisa, what they wanted and where they wanted to go.”

One spark of inspiration was an article by Patricia Sharpe in Texas Monthly in August 2014 called “And They Said, ‘Let There Be Cilantro.'”

Sharpe went back to the early 1980s when a group of young Texas chefs, including Pyles, Dearing and Del Grande, were experimenting with local flavors and Texas regional produce and protein. It was the beginning of the Southwest Cuisine explosion.

Lisa Perini asked Barrow to read the article, which he did.

“She was very supportive of me putting my own slant on it,” Barrow said. “What these guys had started, had been told.”

But, the real impact, especially on the chefs who came after Pyles, Fearing and Del Grande, had yet to be explored.

Not only did Barrow and his small crew film the chefs behind the scenes at the Wine Summit, he also visited each chef at his restaurant.

“When we were at the event, we were a fly on the wall. We allowed things to happen,” Barrow said, adding that they shot 15 to 20 hours all told for the 29-minute movie. He made sure that the food was highlighted, but he wanted more. “We also wanted to document the whole thing.”

He also brought in Chris Shepherd, James Beard Award winner and owner of Underbelly in Houston, to interact and cook with Del Grande at his restaurant, RDG + Bar Annie, also in Houston. Shepherd also talks about how the three chefs opened the door for himself and other chefs who followed them and took the flavors and ideas even further.

Barrow spent well over a year on the film and when asked his favorite thing, he didn’t even pause.

“Getting to hang out with Tom,” he said immediately. “Tom’s a riot.”

Barrow’s grandfather was an old Texan and one of his favorite people in the world.

“There are so many similarities (between the two), it was an instant relationship,” Barrow said. “I feel like I could talk to Tom about anything. I really respect and like him.

“And Perini’s makes the best steak I’ve ever had.”

In the film, Tom Perini speaks about when he first opened his “Texas joint,” Perini Ranch Steakhouse, in 1983, coincidentally the same time Pyles, Fearing and Del Grande started shaking things up. He says that cowboys came in their boots and cowboy hats and drank beer and shots of whiskey with their meals. Now, they come in and still drink beer and shots of whiskey, but also order a nice bottle of wine — still wearing their spurs.

It’s been an interesting evolution to see.

“It’s a degree of sophistication,” he says in the film. “I think thee three chefs were very instrumental in elevating what we call Texas food or Texas Cuisine.

“They have elevated this so that other people, other chefs are doing it. You find Southwest Cuisine all over. I think it’s a great addition to the state of Texas.”

Requiem: Film highlights brain trauma of former NFL player, NB resident

Before moving to New Braunfels, Lew Carpenter was a beloved NFL player and coach for decades. Toward the end of his life, he exhibited forgetfulness, mood swings, depression and other behaviors his family had not seen when he was younger. After he died in 2010, Boston University asked Carpenter’s family if researchers there could study his brain, and the family agreed. Carpenter became the 18th former NFL player to be diagnosed postmortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

One of Carpenter’s daughters, Rebecca, has made a documentary about her father and CTE called “Requiem for a Running Back.” The film debuted at the Freep Film Festival in Detroit earlier this year and will make its Texas debut at the San Antonio Film Festival on July 27. The film will be shown at 7 that night at the Tobin Center on the Alvarez Screen. Afterwards, there will be a panel discussion with Rebecca, former Houston Oiler quarterback and Super Bowl champion Dan Pastorini, Houston native and former San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Running Back Delvin Williams and San Antonio concussion expert Dr. Paul Saenz, who has been involved in managing sports-related concussions for more than 25 years.

What to see if you’re a …

By Kathleen Petty of the San Antonio Magazine

Now in its 22nd year, the San Antonio Film Festival continues to grow, with more than 50 film screenings, industry panels and a kid-centered mini-festival all scheduled July 25-31. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of must-sees for every person, whether a foodie or die-hard sports fan.

What to see if you’re a …

Craft Beer Lover

Brewed in the 210, Monday/Opening Night, July 25, 7 p.m., Pearl Stable

San Antonio Director Marco Ortega highlights the brewers and businesses that have contributed to what he describes as San Antonio’s craft beer renaissance. Hear from the people behind The Friendly Spot, Big Hops, Blue Star Brewing Co., Alamo Beer and other local breweries and find out how San Antonio is leading the craft beer industry in South Texas.


Cooking With Love, Tuesday, July 26, 8 p.m., Tobin Center

A 41-minute short film, Cooking with Love follows four Thai women who demonstrate how cooking can be about much more than food. Tuesday night’s short film screening also includes a showing of The Unconventional Gourmet, a 13-minute dark foodie comedy, and Salute to the Classics, a 29-minute short produced in Austin that explores the Southwestern Food Movement through the work of chefs like Stephen Pyles.

Sports Fan

Requiem for a Running Back, Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m., Tobin Center

Research on brain damage among NFL players gets personal with Rebecca Carpenter’s film. The documentary, which has not been show in Texas before, follows Carpenter’s investigation into the years before her father’s death. Her dad, former Detroit Lion Lew Carpenter, was among the first NFL players diagnosed with previously undetected brain damage. The documentary includes interviews with Carpenter’s family as well as other NFL players and researchers.


San Antonio Children’s Film Festival, Wed-Sat, July 27-30, 10 a.m., Pearl

Organizers of the festival know not all of the films being screened are family friendly. So this year, they’re presenting a Children’s Film Festival that will include four days of kid-friendly shorts, animated films and more. Some shows are limited to the first 100.


Anti-Bullying Campaign, Thursday, July 28, 11:30 a.m., Pearl

Students from 15 area high schools produced 30-second public service announcements about the importance of not bullying.

Mystery Fanatic

Quest for Honor, Friday, July 29, 5 p.m., Tobin Center

San Antonio Director Mary Ann Bruni tells the story of a Kurdish newspaper editor who works with others to solve the murder of a widowed young mom while also redefining honor in hopes of eliminating honor killings.


Hell or High Water, Saturday, July 30, 7 p.m., Tobin Center

Texas Rangers and their horses will greet guests on the red carpet before the San Antonio premier of this film. The modern drama that’s set in West Texas tells the story of a family man and an ex-con who team up after their land is foreclosed on. Written by Taylor Sheridan, the film features Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges alongside Chris Pine and Ben Foster.

Budding Filmmaker

Business Basics of the Film Industry, Saturday, July 30, 12:15 p.m., Tobin Center

Interested in film but not sure how to break into the industry? Producer Lonnie Ramati, of The Expendables and other films, leads and afternoon panel that will explore the basics of the industry and include tips on how to get started.

A San Antonio Native

A Classy Broad, Sunday, July 31, 4 p.m., Tobin Center

This film may have been produced in L.A. but it’s all about a true San Antonian. Director Anne Goursaud chronicles the Hollywood career of Marcia Nasatir, an Alamo City executive who became the first woman to serve as a vice president at a major Hollywood studio. Using stock footage and interviews, Goursaud shows how Nasatir impacted the film industry not just for women, but also for all budding producers.

Film festival will showcase work by Poteet’s Kristin West

By Gregory Ripps of the Wilson County News

Kristin WestShe has already made it to Hollywood, but soon she will have an opportunity to demonstrate her talents close to home.

Kristin West both produced and starred in a “short” called “Seeking Valentina,” which will screen July 27 during the San Antonio Film Festival.

“The festival has been bringing cutting-edge cinema to San Antonio for 22 years,” West told the Wilson County News. “It is so great to be part of that history.”

The film, categorized as a psychological thriller, follows a bereaved man who takes in a female tenant, who then mysteriously disappears. West plays the title role.

“We began work on ‘Seeking Valentina’ in October 2014,” West said. “However, the script, by Armin Nasseri, was in development for about a year before that.”

The film has already played in other film festivals, including venues in Canada and India, and at the FANtastic Horror Film Festival of San Diego, where West received an award as Best Actress in a Short. But the San Antonio Film Festival has a special draw for West, whose family has deep roots in this area.

West, presently a Hollywood resident, is the daughter of Judith Hooge of Poteet and attended Pleasanton High School.

“I had been involved in theater for most of my childhood and was involved in Atascosa County Troupe productions,” she said. “I also competed in one-act play competitions that the University Interscholastic League put on.”

She went on to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in radio, television, and film in 2007.

“While at UT, I was part of their Semester in LA program,” she said. “I had the privilege of interning at Disney Studios.”

West has appeared in a number of productions, including television shows. Her movie roles tend toward the horror genre. She had a role in “Circus of the Dead” and has another role in “Hell’s Kitty,” which she said will come to theaters soon.

She credits her mother with encouraging her creative endeavors.

“She starred in one of my earliest movies for a class assignment at UT,” West said. “Many times, I will call up my mother and ask for advice about music, since she is a very accomplished musician.”

“Seeking Valentina” features Hooge’s musical talents.

“We recorded her playing ‘Red River Valley,’ and our sound editor incorporated parts of the performance into the final cut,” West explained.

“I never considered playing piano for movies,” Hooge said. “It just never crossed my mind. It’s a new door opening.”

Her daughter has already gone through that door.

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.

Read more:

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.