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San Antonio Film Festival turns 28 and plans to offer 220 films

still from Deep in the Heart
Deep in the Heart
still from Deep in the Heart

By the time August rolls around, South Texans are looking for indoor activities. Festival producer Adam Rocha said activities like the fully air conditioned San Antonio Film Festival sound pretty good when it’s 100 degrees in the shade.

“The San Antonio Film Festival celebrates 28 years this year,” he said.

Adam Rocha knows the festival well. He created it nearly three decades ago. Films will play six successive nights.

“August 2nd [and] it runs until August 7th, Tuesday through Sunday, and there's about 220 films,” he explained. “We have a lot of international movies, and this year's our very biggest film festival.”

still from Man Behind the Camera
Man Behind the Camera
still from Man Behind the Camera

The festival has moved from place-to-place over the years, and this year is centrally-located. “This year the festival is at the Radius Center, which is close to Travis Park,” he said.

While Hollywood’s focus is on superheroes and special effects, the film festival focuses on people stories.

Ramin Samandari

“Our festival fits in with the sleeper category. In other words, films like Nope are there, super independent films,” Rocha said. “These are filmmakers that have not yet been discovered by the movie studios or exploited by them.”

With 220 films, there are too many to really highlight, but he said the documentary on the JFK assassination is not to be missed.

“It's really good. Really well done,” he said. “And there's another film we're screening Friday night. It's called The Pink Lagoon. It’s a wonderful film. The producer and the actors will be here for that. It’s a world premiere from Mexico.”

Rocha said the film festival is also known for the workshops it provides young filmmakers.

“For 28 years, they've been giving free workshops that we're going to continue to do this week,” he said.

San Antonio filmmakers have always had to operate in the metaphorical shade of nearby Austin, but Rocha said those days may be numbered.

“There's a lot of amazing, very young filmmakers getting into the mix, and I’m really happy with that,” he said. “And we're knocking on the door, Austin!”

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