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Short Film Fest, Book Fest, Spooky Walking Tour: Your Weekend Is Here

A family poses with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Boerne Book and Arts Festival.
Kirk Thompson
A family poses with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Boerne Book and Arts Festival.

You can enjoy the unique art of short films. Meet a heroic pilot who saved her plane and passengers. Or take a spooky tour of San Antonio's sexy past. The weekend’s here, and there’s plenty to do.

Friday and Saturday night, George Cisneros said Urban 15's the place to be.

"This year, Urban 15 will be hosting the Manhattan Short Film Festival for the 16th time," he said. 

Credit Norma Martinez
George Cisneros

Not feature-length films; these are those tasty little cinematic tapas.

"The shortest film this year is I think 4 and a half minutes, and the longest is 19," Cisneros said.

The 1,200 film entries come from around the world, and Urban 15 will be playing 10 of them. He said creating short films is a singular kind of talent.

"The short film is equivalent to the short story. The best writers in the world write fabulous short stories,” he said. “San Antonio can see some of the world's best short films before the rest of the nation gets to see them." 

After the films are shown, the audience gets to vote.

“Two weeks after the event when all the votes throughout the world get tabulated, that winning crew and film director will be in New York City for screenings and will receive their award," he said. 

San Antonio film lovers get to make their mark on the international stage.

IF YOU GO What: Manhattan Short Film Festival Where: Urban 15 When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Cost:  $10

Then on Saturday, the Patrick Heath Public Library’s Caren Creech says the Boerne Book and Arts Festival is the place to be.

Credit Courtesy of Caren Creech
Young authors on the Plaza.

“First thing in the morning at 10 a.m. is Stephen Harrigan with his new history of Texas, Big Wonderful Thing,’ she said. “And then closing out the events is airline pilot Captain Tammie Jo Shults and her new book Nerves of Steel.” 

If her name doesn't ring a bell, think back on a Southwest Airlines flight last year when an engine explosion put a hole in the airliner and sucked a passenger out. Shults exhibited nerves of steel throughout, amazing the nation, which heard the audio of the event through several news cycles. 

And the family-friendly event isn't all just books.

"We have ballet dancers. We have a costume contest for kids at 1 o'clock. We have the Batman of San Antonio that's coming at 2 o'clock," Creech said. 

Food trucks will be on hand at the scenic town square where it's all being held.

IF YOU GO What: Boerne Book and Arts Festival Where: Main Plaza, Boerne When: 10 a.m. Saturday Cost:  free

Friday and Saturday head downtown for a walking tour from Fred Gomez-Guzman of Curious Twins Paranormal.

"We're a ghost tour company but one of the things we really believe in is understanding and unraveling San Antonio's history, especially its dark history," he said. 

Gomez-Guzman said this particular tour's title pretty well sums it up. 

Credit Curious Twins Paranormal
Ghost Tour

"Murderers, Prostitutes and Spirits of Old San Antonio. The murders, the most heinous crimes that have been committed in San Antonio, and it also covers a lot of our old red light district history," he said.

They start off the walking tour in Alamo Plaza, but don’t expect John Wayne to star in their recollection of events.

"We tell a little different narrative than the heroes of the Alamo, the stuff you always hear about," he said.

They dig down into the indigenous peoples' perspective. Then the 21-and-over tour hits the Menger Hotel, the Esquire Bar and then on to Main Plaza.

"We go over the tragedies at the Plaza, some of the gunfighting that happened at the Plaza," he said.

Then they turn south, down Flores Street to the red light district that was the nation's third largest, run by Fannie Porter.

"She was probably one of the first women to advocate for women's reproductive sexual health care as well," he said.


Gomez-Guzman said Fannie Porter’s boyfriend was someone you’ve probably heard of: Butch Cassidy. 

"There's a lot of these stories like Fannie's that have kinda disappeared," he said.

But this tour might just help keep them alive. 

IF YOU GO What: Murderers, Prostitutes and Spirits of Old San Antonio Where: Alamo Plaza When: 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday Cost:  $23-$25

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

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