The longest running Latino film festival in the country is celebrating its 40th edition this summer. Befitting such a milestone, CineFestival’s four-day programming is bigger than ever. More importantly, the San Antonio-based fest is honoring its own with its “Hecho en Tejas” theme. Of the movies featured in this year’s lineup, for example, 41 were shot in Texas or directed by Texas filmmakers with 23 of the films directed by San Antonio-based filmmakers or San Antonio natives. “We are extremely proud to be celebrating 40 years of Cinefestival and for that reason we have prepared a spectacular program,” said Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Executive Director, Cristina Balli. “This 40th anniversary edition celebrates the Tejano film community and honors the Cinefestival familia of the past.”
Opening the celebratory edition is Jeremiah Zagar’s We The Animals. Based on Justin Torres’ autobiographical novel of the same name, the Raúl Castillo-starring film follows three young boys dealing with an abusive father and a near-catatonic mother. Brimming with the lyricism that characterized Torres’ novel that have earned it comparisons with Moonlight and Beasts of the Southern Wild, and featuring indelible moments rendered in child-like animated sequences, the film is a stark reminder that childhood, for many, is tinged with equal parts innocence and danger.
Central to CineFestival’s program is the commitment to celebrating the work of up and comers from the area. That’s why you don’t want to miss its many showcases, which include “The Future is Now: Youth Videos from San Antonio” (where you can see what filmmaking high schoolers are getting up to), “Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase” (which focuses on female directors living in the U.S./Mexico border) and “Burnt Orange y Que! 2.0” (with works from Latina and Latino filmmakers at The University of Texas at Austin), among others. And that doesn’t include dramas like Love, Cecy about a young teenage girl who was murdered in 1994 and the South Texas music doc As I Walk Through The Valley.
In addition to showcasing local work and several indie coming of age flicks (its closing night project is Carla Simón’s Summer 1993), you’ll be able to find plenty of mainstream fare to enjoy. Not only will CineFestival screen your beloved Coco (in Spanish!) and the Gina Rodriguez/John Cena animated tale Ferdinand, but fans of Ruben Blades will get a chance to catch Abner Benaim’s documentary Ruben Blades Is Not My Name. So whether you’re looking to bawl your eyes out while humming along to “Recuérdame” or clapping away to “Pedro Navaja,” Cinefestival has you covered.
The 40th Annual CineFestival runs July 5-8, 2018.