Action, comedy, drama, animation — you can see all of this and more April 28-30 in Fredericksburg during the Second Annual Hill Country Film Festival.
The brain child of Texas native and independent film maker and actor Chad Mathews, the Hill Country Film Festival combines the place that Mathews calls home with the thing that is his calling: film.
Specifically, Texas native Mathews believed that the film festival could be an outlet to bring together the great city and visitor haven of Fredericksburg and talented and creative Texas actors, directors and producers.
Mathews has experience both on screen and behind the scenes. He has starred as an actor in such notable projects as The Wanda Sykes Show, Profiler, Fight or Die, and General Hospital, as well as films like Deadland, Cowboy Smoke, The Hiding, and the Beast and Wesley Cash. Behind the scenes, he has produced short films and written numerous feature length scripts, his most recent an animated story called Bobby the Bull and a short film, Clones Gone Wild, which received a number of accolades and awards on the film festival circuit in 2009.
When the opportunity to organize a film festival in Fredericksburg came up, Mathews wasted no time in getting the ball rolling. Fredericksburg offers a venue that is well-known, has a state of the art theater for viewing as well as several top restaurants and hotels.
Film festivals are an opportunity for up and coming actors, producers and writers to show their work to an audience and network with others who are in the industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to and ask questions of the directors.
Last year, attendees of the film festival viewed a short film called “She’s A Fox.” This year, the star of that short, Hailee Steinfield, 14, was nominated for an Oscar for her role in True Grit.
Forty-six independent films (shorts and feature length) will screen at this year’s fest. The 2011 film selection was announced on March 25, and can be found at www.hillcountryff.com.
A sampling of those set to be screened:
• Beyond Limits (feature | documentary): This film follows Bonner Paddock’s journey to climb the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimajaro. This is an extraordinary feat for anyone, but Bonner isn’t just any person. Born with cerebral palsy, Bonner has limited motor function in his lower body. His decision to climb is fueled by the desire to raise awareness for CP and raise funds to open a comprehensive center for children with disabilities. Bonner will be in attendance for Q&A after the screening of his film.
• Echotone (feature | documentary): Filmed in Austin, this lyrical documentary provides a telescopic view in the lives of Austin’s vibrant young musicians as they grapple with questions of artistic integrity, commercialism, experimentation, and the future of their beloved city. This is the first Texas-produced feature film to play at HCFF.
• Barko (short | animation): This animated story acquaints us with the struggles of an unloved, lonely dog, who in the end, discovers he can experience a little love after all.
• The Road Home (short | drama): Filmed in India and produced in the UK, The Road Home, will screen at HCFF as a Texas Premier. This short film depicts the story of a boy who struggles to settle into a new boarding school in a foreign country. Abandoned by his parents, picked on by bullies, he runs away left to navigate an Indian landscape he barely knows.
• Zero (short | animation): This short was created utilizing stop motion animation and took over two years to film. This story acquaints us with an oppressed zero who discovers that through determination, courage and love, nothing can truly be something.
Screenings will be held at the Stagecoach Theater and the Hampton Inn will be the location for exclusive before and after parties for film makers, actors, and guests who purchase an All-Access Badge. The Hill Country Film Festival will begin Thursday, April 28 with the Filmmaker’s Welcome and Opening Night Program and run all day Friday and Saturday, wrapping up with the Closing Night Party and Awards on Saturday night.
Also, a Texas Film Round-up (brought to HCFF by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image) will be at the festival on Saturday. The Round-up offers free digitization of Texas related film and video to anyone willing to provide a copy for the archive. Folks can bring their home videos, educational, or commercial videos/film to the Stagecoach Theater on Saturday, April 30. Two DVD copies and the original material will be returned to the owner. The Texas Archive of the Moving Image is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the film history of Texas.