On the Film Scene in McAllen and Corpus Christi

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With the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund application deadline swiftly approaching on June 1, the Austin Film Society is hitting the road in April and May with a series of workshops across the state. The idea behind these workshops is to spread the word about grant money AFS makes available to Texas filmmakers, while demystifying the application process.

The tour started in McAllen, followed by Corpus Christi, with future tour stops planned for Waco and Denton (4/19). Interim Artist Services Manager Austin Culp will be holding workshops in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston in the coming weeks.

The McAllen event on March 31 was co-sponsored by CineSol Film Festival and the McAllen/Mission Chamber of Commerce, with many thanks to Henry Serrato from CineSol for putting everything together. I met with a number of filmmakers interested in learning more about TFPF funding, and walked them through the application process step-by-step.

Henry took me for a tour of the historic Cine El Rey Theater in McAllen, home of the monthly Texas Independent Film Network screenings, which wrapped up the spring season with Mike Akel's An Ordinary Family. This being my first visit to the Rio Grande Valley, I was struck by the large population and sheer size of the area. It's very much a bustling hive of activity, reaching some 70 miles from Brownsville, through Harlingen, Edinburg, McAllen and Mission. Filmmakers from each of these cities attended the workshop.

The April 7 workshop in Corpus Christi was held at the Art Museum of South Texas, sponsored by Edward Tyndall from Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. Many thanks to Edward, as well as our friends at the Corpus Christi Film Society, for helping make the event a success. Much like McAllen, Corpus has a very healthy and diverse filmmaking community, which will be on full display this November at the Crash The Coast Film Festival. You may not realize that The Legend Of Billie Jean was filmed in Corpus, and the city is throwing a big celebration on May 18, complete with an outdoor screening of the movie. Hosting a workshop at the Art Museum of South Texas is a real treat; it's a beautiful building right on the water's edge and well worth a visit if you're in the area.

The more you travel throughout Texas, the more the varied mosaic of the state reveals itself. It's really at the heart of what's behind the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund: supporting Texan filmmakers, no matter where they live, and providing them with that critical capital that will help them tell their unique stories. After visiting McAllen and Corpus, I'm happy to say that independent filmmaking in Texas is alive and well.

Find out about upcoming TFPF workshops here or find out how to apply for funding here.