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Guadalupe's CineFestival Features The Best In Latino Independent Films

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
CineFestival 2014 in action at the Guadalupe Theater.

CineFestival is based out of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and began last week, running through Saturday.

"It’s been going for 36 years, so it’s the longest and original Latino film festival" said CineFestival Director Jim Mendiola. "First, it’s the only place in town you’ll see the latest and best independent Latino films and narratives and documentaries in one place. And it’s actually a place where you can actually meet the filmmakers because pretty much every major film that we show we bring the filmmakers in, so there’s a Q&A session afterwards."

The festival screens about 35 films over its eight-day run, and Mendiola said they do so in a storied location.

“It’s a great theater. When they walk into the Guadalupe Theater it’s immediately impressive" he said. "It’s been there since the 40s showing movies, so it’s kind of this old school grand place to watch."

Mendiola said that San Antonio’s becoming an encouraging place for young filmmakers, primarily through area schools.

“There’s lots of great programs—SAY Sí, St. Mary’s, Brackenridge, NESA—they’ve all got these great teachers who are really guiding the kids."

As the schools churn out the young filmmakers, Mendiola said CineFestival can give them something even more important.

“What we’ve done for the second year in a row is we’ve had a screenwriting workshop," he said. "We partner with the Sundance Institute who do their filmmaker’s lab. This year we had 64 scripts submitted nationally and we chose four."

Those four scripts get the scrutiny and screen writing guidance from Sundance that elevate them to a more polished level. Mendiola said one of the important parts of filmmaking comes first.

“It’s very important to develop writing -- that’s where it all starts," he said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii