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27th San Antonio Film Festival Returns With 65 New Flicks

Audience watching feature films.
SAFilm Festival
SAFilm Festival Poster

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States, but its film industry still has a lot of catching up to do.

Film festivals — a showing of feature films and shorts — are an important element to the film industry in United States. Festivals such as the Sundance, the Nashville Film Festival, and the Atlanta Film Festival have brought in many viewers to explore tastes of independent films.

San Antonio's very own film festival makes its appearance after the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. The 27th SAFILM Festival will be held on Aug. 5-8. The films, 65 in total, provide a variety of categories for the audience — action, narrative, romance, indie and even experimental.

Hand-selected feature films will be played over the span of four days, including My Father's Brother, a documentary telling of eight veterans' experiences surviving the Vietnam War, as well as a locally produced film of a coming of age story, The Good Wolf.

Festival director Adam Rocha began this nonprofit festival back in 1994. Over time, the film festival grew in capacity, with up to 5,000 in attendance in previous years.

"We're kind of like an art gallery. We curate the movies. These are the best films out of the countries that we got, [and] we have eclectic tastes like everybody," Rocha said.

This festival is important to the small-scale San Antonio film industry.

It is the main and most attended film festival in San Antonio. Unlike other film festivals, SAFILM focuses on releasing an ample amount of curated films — from filtering over a thousand for the year. The committee at SAFILM, with regards to what the audience would like, screens through each film and selects only a handful. This process begins months before the actual event.

One of those films — award-winning My Father's Brothers, directed by Shawn Kelley — is screened for a particular reason. This post-Vietnam War documentary connects to San Antonio's military audience and historical documentary film-goers.

Not only are the films played, but there will also be interaction between the directors and the audience in live panels afterwards, making for an engaging experience for the audience that can't be found at a blockbuster movie showing.

Adam Rocha said his intention for the audience is simple: "Just enjoy the show. We want people to have a good time and enjoy what we put together."

For more information, visit www.safilm.com.

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Jia Chen is a freelance journalist and photographer for Texas Public Radio. She began with TPR working as the Bexar County selected Summer Arts Intern in 2021. Her coverage includes arts & culture, technology, politics, and more. She holds a BA in Communication from University of Texas at San Antonio and has lived in San Antonio for over 20 years.