The eighth annual Hill Country Film Festival will light up Fredericksburg April 27-30 with screenings of a host of feature and short films. Brainchild of executive director Chad Mathews and programming director Gary Weeks, HCFF was created to celebrate and showcase filmmakers from Texas and around the world.
The duo created the beloved Hill Country festival as an atmosphere where filmmakers can not only showcase their project, but also build lasting relationships and find an audience for their film. Mathews' sister, Amy Miskovsky, is the festival director largely responsible for executing the event.
“I love working with my family and friends to bring this festival to the Texas Hill Country, a place that holds so many great memories of summers and holidays," Miskovsky says. "The more I learn about independent film, the more certain I am that HCFF is the perfect complement to Fredericksburg’s rich cultural and artistic community.”
One special event for this year's festival is A Conversation with Robert Walden. Louis Black, co-founder of Austin Chronicle and co-founder and director of SXSW, will host the intimate conversation about the actor’s career, work process, and passion for character development. It takes place Saturday, April 29, at 6 pm at Fritztown Cinema.
In addition to conversations and high-profile screenings, this year's short films include some that are fully produced and directed by high school or college filmmakers. The festival will also showcase a screenplay competition with five feature finalists and five short finalists, as well as the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men, which will be screening out of competition.
Our five picks for can't-miss screenings are:
As Far As The Eye Can See
This Texas-made feature film tells the story of Jack Ridge, a 40-year-old former piano prodigy, who has withdrawn to a North Texas farm after his wife left him. The story revolves around the annual piano competition and corporate pressure to sell his land. Written by Paden Fallis, directed by David Franklin, and starring Jason London.
Thursday, April 27, 7 pm
What Children Do
Filmed in upstate New York, this comedy is about two estranged sisters who are thrust back into each other's lives by the impending death of their grandmother. It is directed and written by Dean Peterson and stars Janna Emig and Kate Hoffman.
Friday, April 28, 4:15 pm
Based on the true story of Victor Torres (adapted from his inspiring autobiography Son of Evil Street), this film tells the story of Torres' experience migrating to Brooklyn as a teenager, where he fell victim to gangs and heroin. His remarkable journey of faith and recovery led to a lifetime of helping others in need. Brandon Dickerson directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Thomas Ward; starring Patrick Davis.
Friday, April 28, 6:30 pm
This fascinating documentary showcases Richard Turner, one of the world's greatest card magicians, who is completely blind. This is an in-depth look at a complex character who is one of magic’s greatest hidden treasures. Written by Bradley Jackson and directed by Luke Korem.
Saturday, April 29, 4 pm
Another family film, this sinister yet musical story is about a young British woman who comes to Texas to stake her claim to the family's music legacy — and to meet her half-sister. Directed by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, the film stars Sophie Reid and Alison Tolman.
Saturday, April 29, 7:15 pm