Above: Hill Country Film Festival staff and volunteers celebrate with musical guest Shakey Graves at the 2013 closing night party. Right: Assorted photos from the last four years.
The Big Oh-5: Half a Decade of Independent Film in Fredericksburg 2014 marks the fifth annual Hill Country Film Festival – a celebration of independent filmmaking, fans and Fredericksburg – taking place April 30-May 4, 2014. Open to the public, HCFF will screen nearly 100 films and host filmmaker question and answer sessions, panel discussions, festival parties, community screenings and more, attracting attendees from all over Texas and the United States. “We are thrilled to celebrate our fifth anniversary with the community,” said Chad Mathews, festival founder and executive director. “Time definitely flies when you’re having fun and doing what you love.” That love of filmmaking and film festivals, coupled with strong ties to the Texas Hill Country, inspired actor and writer Mathews to start the festival in 2010. Beginning with a small staff of just a few friends and family members, the event has grown steadily year over year. “With its rich cultural and artistic tradition, Fredericksburg seemed like a natural
destination for a successful film festival,” Mathews said. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, though. Unseasonably cold and windy weather drove last year’s planned outdoor screening inside the cozy, climate controlled Fredericksburg Theater Company. “Our community partners really came through for us,” said festival director Amy Miskovsky. “We were able to quickly adjust and get the word out; the screening was fun and well attended.” Staffers still laugh about one of the more unique challenges they faced during the 2012 festival. As they were testing films prior to the first morning screening, the Stagecoach Theater suddenly went dark. They soon discovered the problem: a snake had climbed up the electrical pole and blown the transformer. Strong community partnerships saved the day again and the films went off without a hitch, but the snake wasn’t so lucky. Only at HCFF, as the saying now goes. As the festival has grown and thrived, Continued on page 7
Badge and Ticket Prices — pg. 2 Free Community Events — pg. 3
Family-friendly Screenings — pg. 3 The Making of Love Sick Lonnie (a Fredericksburg Film) — pg. 8
photo courtesy of hCFF
Chad Mathews, Executive Director, HCFF
Welcome to the 5th Annual Hill Country Film Festival!
On behalf of the entire Hill Country Film Society team, welcome to the 2014 Hill Country Film Festival (HCFF). The word that best sums up our fifth anniversary festival is “more.” We have added more days, more high-quality independent films, more venues, more free activities, and more family-friendly screenings to improve the experience for all audiences. Speaking of family-friendly, one of the reasons we love hosting HCFF in Fredericksburg is the amazing community. We work hard to balance the desire for movies that are suitable for all ages and sensibilities, with our mission of supporting the art of creating independent films, which often deal with difficult themes that more mainstream productions may shy away from. We believe this balance sets HCFF apart from many other festivals and truly offers something for everyone. In addition to hosting the festival, we provide year-round, free screenings via the “Indie Film Series,” hosted by Fritztown Cinema. We also produced our second Hill Country Film Society short, Love Sick Lonnie, filmed in part at Fredericksburg’s Hangar Hotel. In January we hosted the second annual “Eat, Drink & Be Inspired” dinner at the Admiral Nimitz Museum. Thank you for your support over the years and for learning and growing with us. We
have always believed that Fredericksburg is the perfect destination for celebrating movies and filmmaking and each year you prove us right. A big thank you to festival director, Amy Miskovsky, and our tenacious festival staff for working year-round on our monthly screenings, happy hour events, fundraisers and film productions. Our team of volunteers has selflessly dedicated their hearts, talents and time to the organization and without them, we would not be where we are today. Thanks also to our many sponsors and partners. We are honored to be associated with like-minded organizations that share the same passion for the arts. We strive to make your festival experience with us worthwhile and everlasting. All of us at HCFF are excited to bring another week of independent film to the city that we love, and we’re proud to showcase the beauty of Fredericksburg to our filmmakers and fans. Thank you again for making our fifth year anniversary so very special.
Chad Mathews Executive Director
The badge is the best value
All-Access Badge — $125 Day Pass — $40 (Friday or Saturday) Single Block Ticket* — $10 Badges and Day Passes are available for sale online or at the festival headquarters: Fredericksburg Theater Company *Subject to availability and can be purchased at Fredericksburg Theater Company and Fritztown Cinema.
Why Buy an All-Access Badge? VIPerks you get access to:
• Filmmaker Welcome Reception (May 1 @ 5:30 p.m.) • Panel Discussions with Breakfast (May 2 & 3) • On-site Filmmakers Lounge with beverage sponsors Texas Hill Country Wineries, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Dulce Vida Tequila and Pedernales Brewing Company (May 2 & 3) • Closing Night Party and Awards at the Hangar Hotel (May 3 @ 9:30 p.m.) • Sunday Send-off Party at Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City (May 4 @ 12 p.m.)
SCHEDULE View the entire schedule online: www.hillcountryff.com BLOCK 1 — Shorts (Free Screening)
BLOCK 11 — Feature: Elsa & Fred
BLOCK 2 — Feature (Free Screening): Tu seras un homme
BLOCK 12 — Documentary Shorts
BLOCK 3 — Family-friendly Shorts (Free Outdoor Screening) Presented by Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post
BLOCK 13 — Shorts
BLOCK 4 — Shorts
BLOCK 15 — Shorts
BLOCK 5 — Shorts
BLOCK 16 — Feature: You Are Here
BLOCK 6 — Family-friendly Shorts Presented by KidsFilmFest
BLOCK 17 — Shorts
BLOCK 7 — Feature (Special Screening): Bernie
BLOCK 18 — Feature: Roswell FM
BLOCK 8 — Shorts
BLOCK 19 — Family-friendly Feature: Khumba
BLOCK 9 — Feature: Lord Montagu
BLOCK 20 — Shorts
BLOCK 10 — Shorts
BLOCK 21 — Feature: Intramural
BLOCK 14 — Feature: Before I Disappear
www.hillcountryff.com: Click on the “Festival” tab. Click on “Schedule of Events.” You can also download a pdf of our event program online. Note: Printed copies of the event program are located at the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Programs will be available in town on April 30.
Viewer discretion Advisory information can be found in the event program.
Thank you to the Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post for presenting the April 30 Marktplatz Screening. Hill Country Film Festival
HCFF Adds More Free and Family-friendly Screenings Wednesday, April 30 is Free for everyone and includes the Marktplatz screening.
a New bi this gg er sc yea re r: en !
Mark Your Calendar The Marktplatz screening will include nine family-friendly films, including live-action narrative films, documentaries and animation. Cootie Contagion, a staff favorite, earned Florida State student director, Josh Smooha, a Student Emmy in the Children’s Category from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation.
In addition to expanding to more days and screening more than 90 amazing indie films, this year’s festival offers more free screenings and family-friendly programming than ever before. Wednesday, April 30 is all FREE, including two daytime screenings and a familyfriendly outdoor screening at the Marktplatz with donations that benefit the local Goodwill.
The following blocks screen FREE on Wednesday at Fritztown Cinema: 3 p.m. • Short Films (Viewer discretion advised; some language, mild violence and adult themes) This block presents seven short films, many making their Texas pre-
miere, including the UK film Insomniacs and world premiere of the Texas film Front Porch.
5 p.m. • Tu seras un homme (Feature Film; French with English subtitles) This festival favorite is making its Texas premiere and is the first French feature film to be screened by HCFF. See page 4 for film synopsis. Marktplatz activities start at 7 p.m. with films rolling at 8:30 p.m. Local folk/bluegrass group, 4 Proches, will provide musical entertainment and kids of all ages can walk the red carpet with fun props courtesy of Goodwill. West End Pizza on Wheels will have food concessions for sale.
Spring cleaning with a conscience
There’s still time to clean out your attic, garage, closets — you know where you keep your “stuff” — and start summer with a clean slate and good karma. Bring your new or gently-used clothing, electronics and household goods to the Marktplatz screening, and we’ll take it from there. Thanks!
Did you Know? • Donations benefit Goodwill’s Fredericksburg store • Retail sales at your local Goodwill store support on-the-job training and social services • Goodwill is invested in healthy families and strong communities • Donating gives you warm-fuzzies
More Family-Friendly Screenings? Check! KIDSFILMFEST Shorts • Thursday, May 1 • 5 p.m. • Fritztown Cinema This block of 11 kid-friendly short films screened at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival in New York. Individual tickets can be purchased at the door, $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This block is included with an All-Access badge. Khumba (Animated Feature Film) • Saturday, May 3 • 3:30 p.m. • Fritztown Cinema Read the synopsis for this film on page 5. Individual tickets can be purchased at the door, $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This block is included with an All-Access badge or Saturday day pass.
Marktplatz Screening: Be sure to bring your
Kids have fun accessorizing with Goodwill props before taking red carpet photos at the 2013 festival.
Lawn chairs, bug spray, blankets, sunglasses and donations for Goodwill.
Hill Country Film Festival
Full-length Feature Presentations © Jerome fleurier
Genre: Drama French with English subtitles Screening: April 30, 5 p.m. Location: Fritztown Cinema
This festival favorite is making its Texas premiere and is the first French feature film to be screened by HCFF. Directed by Benoit Cohen, the story is about 10-year-old Leo, a solitary dreamer who takes refuge in books. Theo, a 20-yearold babysitter, steps into his life and forces Leo out of his shell. Despite their age difference, the two become best friends, helping each other face up to their responsibilities. Not everyone approves, and Leo’s father tries to break up the friendship. Theo reacts by whisking Leo away to the seaside where he nearly loses control of the situation.
photo courtesy of getty images
This Texas-eccentric, small town classic was provided to the Hill Country Film Festival courtesy of Millennium Entertainment. In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, Texas, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black, School of Rock) was one of the town’s most beloved residents. He befriended Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine, Elsa & Fred), an affluent, bitter widow who quickly became dependent on Bernie as he struggled to meet her increasing demands. In August 1997, in a story that made headlines in newspapers around the country, Mrs. Nugent was found dead and buried under some frozen foods in her garage freezer. After his arrest and subsequent confession, Carthage citizens rallied around Bernie, begging the district attorney not to prosecute their favorite assistant funeral home director.
Lord Montagu Director Luke Korem will be in attendance for Q&A following the screening.
Genre: Documentary Screening: May 2, 11:30 a.m. Location: Fritztown Cinema Viewer discretion advised (adult themes)
Genre: Drama Screening: May 1, 7 p.m. Location: Fredericksburg Theater Company Viewer discretion advised (language and adult themes)
As the youngest member in parliament and sole heir to his family’s 7,000-acre English estate, Lord Edward Montagu’s life was rich and privileged. However in 1954, Edward, then twenty-five, became England’s most infamous aristocrat when he was arrested for homosexual offenses and eventually sentenced to a year in prison. Montagu persevered, however, and became a prominent national figure by turning his estate into one of England’s greatest tourist attractions, and leading the way into a new era of the British aristocracy. This film features never-before-seen footage from the Montagu archives, interviews with his family, friends and peers, and personal details from his own writings to tell the story of his unconventional and often controversial life.
This is a story of two people who discover it’s never too late to love and make dreams come true. Elsa (Shirley MacLaine) has dreamed her whole life of reliving Fellini’s famous scene in ‘La Dolce Vita’ at the Fontana di Trevi. After losing his wife, Fred (Christopher Plummer) moves into a smaller apartment where he ends up meeting Elsa. Elsa bursts into his life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases. When he discovers Elsa’s terminal illness, he decides to make her dream come true and takes Elsa to Rome.
You Are Here photo courtesy of IMDB.com
Bernie photo courtesy of millennium entertainment
Tu seras un homme
Genre: Comedy Screening: May 3, 11:30 a.m. Location: Fritztown Cinema Viewer discretion advised (language, mild violence, adult themes, nudity)
Elsa & Fred Genre: Dramedy Screening: May 2, 2:30 p.m. Location: Fredericksburg Theater Company Viewer discretion advised (adult themes)
Written and directed by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, the film stars Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) as bored TV weatherman Steve and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) as eccentric shut-in Ben. The two childhood best friends embark on a road trip back to their hometown after Ben learns he has inherited a large sum of money from his recently deceased, estranged father. There they do battle against Ben’s formidable sister (Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live) and deal with his father’s 25-year-old widow (Laura Ramsey, She’s the Man). Other star-sightings include Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) and Jenna Fischer (The Office).
Thank you to Millennium Entertainment for their partnership to bring you Bernie and Khumba. Hill Country Film Festival
photo courtesy of IMDB.com
Jay, a normal, everyday guy played by Brendan Fehr (Final Destination), works at his dream job as an on-air personality at a paranormal talk radio station. Work and a budding love affair are immediately sidetracked when Jay’s oddball nephew is accepted into college. To ease the family’s financial burden, Jay takes a higher-paying, soul-crushing job to pay for his nephew’s tuition. It’s this decision that could prove costly to life and happiness. This film also stars Jason London (Dazed and Confused), Mirelly Taylor (Lost, CSI: NY) and Brian Tee (The Wolverine, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).
photo courtesy of millennium entertainment
Khumba Genre: Animation Screening: May 3, 3:30 p.m. Location: Fritztown Cinema
This feature is family-friendly and kidapproved!
Rejected by his superstitious herd, a half-striped zebra embarks on a daring quest to earn his stripes. In the process, he finds the courage and self-acceptance to save all the animals of the Great Karoo from a devastating drought. Voiced by Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place), Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List), Steve Buscemi (Fargo), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer).
Local Talent! The film will be preceded by a music video, Wayfaring Stranger, starring local folk/bluegrass group, 4 Proches. image courtesy of fredericksburg standard radio post
© PHOTO CREDITs
Before I Disappear
Director Stephen Griffin will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening.
Fatina Ptacek is also known for her voice work as Dora the Explorer. Shawn Christensen
It’s not every day that a short film is adapted into a feature length film — and it’s certainly not every day that it morphs into a masterful work of art. Actor-writer-director Shawn Christensen accomplishes both with his debut feature film, Before I Disappear. Christensen crafts a story around Richie, a heartbroken man who postpones thoughts of suicide after his estranged sister begs him to babysit his 11-year-old niece. Richie reluctantly agrees and within minutes, the evening begins to unfold in extraordinary ways. Before I Disappear is beautifully shot and superbly acted by Christensen, Fatina Ptacek (Dora the Explorer), Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow), and Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries). The screenplay is written in the voice of a veteran writer and shows no sign of being a first feature attempt. The short that spawned the movie is Curfew, 2013 Academy Award® winner and Hill Country Film Festival recognized “Best Short Film.” As a crowd favorite, one might think that expanding Christensen’s original story of a down-and-out uncle spending time with an all-too-perfect niece would lack the charm, sincerity and power of the tightly-constructed short that already had an incredible run on the festival circuit. Thinking otherwise, the director seized the opportunity of having just won an Oscar® and reorganized the story as a page-one rewrite. “It all went so fast,” admits Christensen. “We didn’t have time to do
Hill Country Film Festival
anything but write the script and cast because the financing was already in play. It was probably not the ideal way to make a movie,” confesses the director. “We just had to make it.” Whatever formula Christensen and his team managed to concoct worked like a charm, making Before I Disappear well worth the price of admission, as it will surely be celebrated at film festivals and screenings for the remainder of 2014.
Before I Disappear Genre: Drama Screening: Friday, May 2, 7 p.m. Location: Fredericksburg Theater Company Viewer discretion advised (some language, mild violence, drug use, adult themes) Associate Producer Brenden Hubbard will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening.
See the feature-version of the 2013 Oscar®-winning short, Curfew.
photos courtesy of shawn christensen
photo courtesy of 310 house media
Genre: Comedy Screening: May 3, 2:30 p.m. Location: Fredericksburg Theater Company Viewer discretion advised (some language, adult themes)
Intramural is Full-Contact Fun from HCFF Alums photo courtesy of Ralph Smyth Entertainment
photo courtesy of Ralph Smyth Entertainment
Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. • Fredericksburg Theater Co.
Hill Country Film Festival
Genre: Comedy Screening: Saturday, May 3, 7 p.m. Location: Fredericksburg Theater Co.
HCFF Historical Facts:
Director Andrew Disney, producers Andrew Lee, Russell Wayne Groves, and writer Bradley Jackson will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening.
• Disney’s film Searching for Sonny won the 2012 Cinema Dulce (Best of Fest) award. • Jackson, Lee and Groves won the 2012 Best Short Film for The Man Who Never Cried. • The filmmakers credit HCFF as a jumping-off point for their evenutal collaboration on Intramural.
photo by victor king
Viewer discretion advised (language, adult themes, brief nudity)
photo by daniel davis
Do you think you know your sports movies and athletic clichés? Get ready to suit up, paint on the eye black and try out Intramural, a star-studded sports parody making its Texas premiere at the Hill Country Film Festival. Intramural is a raucous sendup of inspirational sports movies complete with epic training montages, over-the-top motivational speeches and bone-crunching tackles. The film tells the tale of a group of fifth year seniors who reassemble their intramural football team for one last season before being forced out into the real world. “Not many people have firsthand knowledge of professional or even college sports,” said HCFF executive director Chad Mathews. “But almost all of us have played intramural or just backyard pick-up football, which makes the situation so much more relatable.” With an inventive spin on a popular theme and lots of faces you’ll recognize, Intramural has already generated a tremendous amount of buzz in advance of its world premiere at the Tribeca International Film Festival this month. The film scored a coveted prime-time screening as well as a spot in the Tribeca ESPN Film Festival. Intramural was shot in Austin and stars Jake Lacy (The Office), Nikki Reed (Twilight, Thirteen), and several hilariously familiar faces from Saturday Night Live, including Kate McKinnon, Jay Pharoah and Beck Bennett. So who are the varsity filmmakers who brought this amazing cast and story together? While they met on the festival circuit in 2012, the men behind Intramural were able to really connect at Fredericksburg’s Hill Country Film Festival. Director Andrew Disney was promoting his feature film, Searching for Sonny, while writer Bradley Jackson and producers Andrew Lee and Russell Wayne Groves were promoting their short film, The Man Who Never Cried. (See sidebar) Filmmakers appreciate the easygoing nature of HCFF. “It’s a great festival to meet friends, kick-back, and watch films,” said Disney. The filmmakers might be laid back, but their film will have you pumped up for the rest of the evening. Intramural is definitely the epic sports movie ... for the guys who don’t deserve one. Don’t forget your helmet.
“The Big Oh-5” ... continued so have HCFF filmmakers. Many actors and actresses showcased at HCFF have gone on to star in hits like Super 8 and True Grit. Several films have gotten national distribution deals after screening at HCFF, a significant professional and financial turning point for many filmmakers. Friendships forged at HCFF have resulted in collaborations such as this year’s feature Intramural and short film The Calm Before. “We believe hospitality is a defining characteristic of HCFF,” said Wade Lee, Hill Country Film Society director and a festival staffer from the beginning. “It’s important for us to create an environment where filmmakers and fans can relax, have fun and really get to know one another.” As movies take center stage in Fredericksburg, staffers and volunteers are feeling excited for the future and grateful to the community that has embraced it. “Films — and festivals — don’t get more independent than the crazy idea of creating and hosting our own in a small Texas town,” Mathews said. “Thank you for learning and growing with us over the years.”
Thank You to Our 2014 HCFF Sponsors
New Logo: grayscale
Give Shorts a Chance By April Soechting, HCFF staffer
OK, I’ll admit it. Before my friends started working with a film festival, I thought “independent film” meant going to the movies by myself. And short films? Those were movies that didn’t require a potty break before the credits. As it turns out, short films are about much more than timing – and too-large cups of Diet Coke. In honor of HCFF’s fifth anniversary, here are five reasons to give short films a chance at this year’s festival: 1. A short film block can span a variety of genres, from drama to comedy, animation, documentary and horror — without the commitment to a single film. 2. Shorts are an open-ended art form, a creative medium that doesn’t have to adhere to the traditional three-act structure of most feature films, which means they regularly surprise you. 3. Short films provide an opportunity for new filmmakers to learn their craft … and in some cases, turn their short into a buzz-worthy feature film like this year’s Before I Disappear (see page 5). 4. It’s perfect for today’s shortened attention sp- Look! A squirrel! 5. Since most mainstream movie theaters don’t show short films, a film festival — especially one in your back yard, hint, hint — is a unique opportunity to experience films you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to see. See you at the fest!
Hill Country Film Festival
Lights, Camera, Fredericksburg! Love Sick
Second HCFS Film Brings 90s Boy Bands Back
Lonnie Quit playing games with his heart a short film by chad mathews
Hill Country Film SoCiety presents “love SiCk lonni e” miCHael moraleS, marCuS knox and dirCHad matHewS Film eCtor oF ProduCtion editor william F. reed deSiGner amy miSkovSky PHotoGraPHy jeFFrey BuraS davi d rHodeS ProduCed exeCutive written & By mike SCannell and Gary weekS direCted By CHad matHewS ProduCer tom Gordon RAting to be Advised
Love Sick Lonnie is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit, so far scheduled to screen in Portland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Santa Fe and Fredericksburg.
Love Sick Lonnie, a short film shot primarily in Fredericksburg, makes its Texas premiere on Saturday, May 3. After a girl breaks Lonnie’s heart, he develops an embarrassing affliction and can only communicate through the lyrics of 90’s “boy band” songs. As friends try to intervene, the problem only gets worse. Written and directed by Chad Mathews, this is the second film produced by the Hill Country Film Society. Mathews said the inspiration for the film came from friend Michael Morales, who stars as Lonnie, and his obsession with boy bands. Love Sick Lonnie is part of a short film block showing at the Fredericksburg Theater Company at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. This block is included with an All-Access badge or a Saturday day pass. Top: Cast and crew prepare to shoot a scene at the Officer’s Club inside the Hangar Hotel. Bottom: Rejected by the object of his affection, a sad Lonnie attends a boy band concert by himself.
Film Society Features Year-round Programming
In 2014, HCFS created a partnership with Fritztown Cinema to host free monthly independent film screenings.
When the credits roll at the end of each festival, staffers and volunteers don’t just stash the red carpet for the year. You’ll find them staging outdoor community screenings, programming for the indie film series, partnering with other non-profits who use film to tell their compelling stories, and hosting networking and educational events for filmmakers and fans.
Artist Jared Dunten
In February, HCFS hosted the 2nd annual “Eat, Drink & Be Inspired” fund-raising dinner, featuring the work of artist Jared Dunten. After an accident in 2000 left him paralyzed, Jared turned to art as part of his recovery and learned to paint using only his mouth. His spirit fuels the Will Walk Foundation, which uses art and film to create awareness about paralysis from spinal cord injury.
photo courtesy lindy segall
photo courtesy of jdunten.com
“We work year-round to keep independent film top of mind and we are grateful for the membership support that makes our mission possible,” said Wade Lee, Hill Country Film Society director.
Fritztown Cinema owner Sloan Ruth poses with HCFS executive director Chad Mathews at one of the monthly indie film screenings.
The Hill Country Film Society (HCFS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which supports the art, craft and business of independent film within the Texas Hill Country. HCFS hosts the annual Hill Country Film Festival and provides year-round independent film programming and education within the region. Our goal is to provide more meaningful, interactive experiences like summer film camp, outdoor screenings, filmmaker guest lectures and more. We rely on members to help us achieve our mission and ensure the future of film as a part of our vibrant, creative culture. There are membership levels for all budgets. Visit http://www.hillcountryff.com/about.php to learn more. Hill Country Film Festival