Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) today announced two coming attractions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in Fall 2013: The Bayou City premiere of the award-winning film Houston on Sept. 6, and the world premiere on Nov. 10 of a documentary on the rich five-decade history of Houston Ballet at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF), the first film announced for HCAF 2013.
HCAS will host the screening of Houston in collaboration with MFAH, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) and the Houston Film Commission on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7:00 PM. Writer/director Bastian Günther’s feature film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize for Narrative Feature at the 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston. The film’s service producer, Anne Walker-McBay, has produced many films for HCAS Honorary Board member Richard Linklater.
Houston portrays Ulrich Tukur as Clemens Trunschka, a corporate headhunter tasked with finding a top CEO in Houston. Günther, who will be in attendance for the screening at MFAH, expands Trunschka’s headhunting expedition into a captivating and subtle examination of failure as drinking increasingly isolates the lead character from his life and leads him away from reality. According to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival film guide, “Houston dives unflinchingly deep into the heart of Texas and comes up with something as surprising as it is precious: hope.”
The Houston Ballet documentary will premiere at MFAH at 4:00 PM on Sunday, Nov. 10, the final day of HCAF 2013. There will be a repeat screening at Sundance Cinemas on Monday, Nov. 11 (time TBA). The documentary chronicles the history of the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet, from the early impact of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1930s and 40s in inculcating a love of dance among Houstonians, to the determination and perseverance of a handful of Houston’s founding families, to the making of legendary ballet stars through color-blind casting, diplomatic struggles and international incidents and exposure to the world’s best artistic talent, to its place today as the fourth largest ballet company in America with a facility unmatched in the United States.
The documentary will capture the voices of many key players who helped propel Houston Ballet to its current international stature. The film will trace the directorships of each of Houston Ballet’s five artistic directors since the company’s founding in 1955, featuring photos and historical footage of the company’s performances from the 1970s onward, in addition to footage that evokes the company’s vibrant present. It also will feature interviews with the four living artistic directors of Houston Ballet, dancers from the 1970s to the present, and board leaders and dance critics who have closely followed the company’s development.
Among the noted Houstonians featured will be Jesse H. Jones II, Isaac and Tony Arnold, Lucia Bryant and Eugene Loveland; along with internationally renowned choreographers Debbie Allen, Ben Stevenson, Christopher Bruce and Trey McIntyre; and star dancers Carlos Acosta, Li Cunxin and Janie Parker.
The director of the Ballet documentary is John Carrithers of Carrithers Studio, a Houston-based filmmaker who served as Director of Photography on several recent feature documentary projects including: Mothers At War, a film about women combat veterans; 38 Pieces, a documentary about the Byzantine Frescoes rescued by Dominique de Menil directed by Susan and Francois de Menil, and Relocation Arkansas, a chronicle of Japanese Americans growing up in an internment camp in Arkansas during WWII. Carrithers has also created numerous works for Houston Grand Opera, Asia Society Texas and the MFAH, among others.
The full program of film premieres, live performances, media installations and special guests for HCAF 2013 will be announced at the HCAF launch party for HCAS members and sponsors on Oct. 15 at The Sam Houston Hotel. HCAS plans to announce the official Festival Headquarters and location of the Cinema on the Verge interactive media installation gallery sometime in September.
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008. With the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane, HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community.
The fifth annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival will be held Nov. 6-10, 2013. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.
Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP)
SWAMP, the first nonprofit media arts organization in Texas, promotes the creation and appreciation of film, video and new media as art forms of a multicultural community. Creating audiences and opportunities for independent filmmakers since 1977, SWAMP offers on-going education, information and screening programs for adults and youth. In addition, SWAMP produces THE TERRITORY, a short film showcase series broadcast on Texas PBS stations and provides fiscal sponsorship for noncommercial film projects and emerging film-related organizations such as the documentary Relocation Arkansas and the Houston Cinema Arts Society. For more information, please visit www.swamp.org.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. For more information, please visit www.mfah.org.
About MFAH Films
The film program of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), is the largest of its kind in the southwestern United States. The MFAH first began screening films in the 1930s, and Brown Auditorium Theater, located in the Caroline Wiess Law Building and designed by Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, opened in 1973. Often, critics, scholars and filmmakers come to the screenings as visiting speakers to give audiences a deeper understanding of movies and moviemaking. For more information, please visit www.mfah.org/films.