Photo Essay: A Weekend at Hill Country Film Festival

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HCFF 2013

For the second year in a row, I spent a lovely spring weekend in Fredericksburg for the 2013 Hill Country Film Festival. This is not one of those film fests where you get up early to get a good ticket reservation/spot in line and then proceed to watch four or five films, and then at 2 am collapsing in exhaustion (or going into overtime with karaoke) before getting up early to do it again, downing Red Bull and energy bars for sustenance.

This is a film festival where you watch a movie, and then go have some brunch, and then watch another movie, and perhaps go shopping, and enjoy cocktails with filmmakers, and maybe watch another movie or have a leisurely dinner, then go to a party and talk about the movies you watched while enjoying more cocktails. There was a screening in a winery (pictured above) on Sunday and yes, there was wine as well as sausages from Austin restaurant Frank. I took it very easy, which is why my dispatches are coming to you after the fest and not during.

Look for my capsule reviews/descriptions of many of the shorts and features I saw later this week. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some photos from my time at the fest.

HCFF 2013

I arrived at the theater late on Friday afternoon and practically bumped into Victor Diaz of YNN, who was interviewing the actress pictured above, Meg Cionni. Cionni was in two films at HCFF this year: the romantic Waking, which screened Friday night, and the completely insane  Buck Wild, which I saw Saturday night.

HCFF 2013

Bears Fonté was at HCFF not only as the director of programming for Austin Film Festival, but also as a filmmaker. His short film The Secret Keeper screened on Saturday. Another Austin filmmaker with a short film on Saturday was David Fabelo. I'd seen Do Over at AFF last year and it is just as funny the second time. Look for an article soon about Fabelo's plans for Do Over post-fest-circuit.

HCFF 2013

It seems only right that a Central Texas film festival should include a movie involving Austin actor Jonny Mars, who was in I-can't-even-remember-how-many films at SXSW this year. He was at HCFF with Kat Candler's short film Black Metal, in which he stars. Next to him is Austin film editor Robin Schwartz, whom you might remember seeing in Computer Chess at SXSW.

HCFF 2013

I was excited to see Happy Voodoo at HCFF, an Austin-made short that I thought I hadn't heard about before. Turns out that Debbie helped program it for the Austin Film Society ShortCase at SXSW this year and yes, I edited at least one article mentioning the film. In my defense, SXSW is kind of a blur. That's filmmaker Jenny Goddard with, speaking of film-fest blur, someone whose name I can't recall at all. My apologies and feel free to let me know so I can update this article.

HCFF 2013

Some of the cast and crew of the Texas feature Buck Wild posed on the red carpet with their favorite special effect from the movie, the chupacabra. Let me explain about the HCFF red carpet, since you've seen its background in so many photos. The carpet was set up in the lobby, so anyone who liked could pose/take photos there. Next to the red carpet was a table full of props you could use in the photos, so it also worked like a photo booth. The chupacabra was not on the prop table, but after Buck Wild a lot of people wanted to pose for photos with it.

HCFF 2013

Speaking of which, here's Carrie Hoover using some of the prop hats in her photo with the Buck Wild chupacabra. (She did not wear that hat around the fest, I am sure she would want me to tell you that.) Carrie is a film journalist who used to contribute to the AFS Persistence of Vision magazine/blog. If you were at Dallas IFF you probably saw her interviewing filmmakers and celebrities on the red carpet (standing, not lying) for Selig Film News.

HCFF 2013

The closing-night party for the Hill Country Film Festival was at the conference center attached to the Hangar Hotel, which is adjacent to Fredericksburg's airport. It was dark in the tiki-themed conference center and I didn't get many successful photos, so I went back the next day and shot the one you see above. Actually I went there for breakfast at the hotel's diner, and ended up sticking around awhile because there were a lot of vintage planes on the tarmac.

You can see all my photos from my Fredericksburg weekend in my Flickr set. Not pictured: all the chocolate, wine and cheese consumed over the weekend. I have to keep some things private, after all.

HCFF

I take a different approach, seeing as many films as my rear will allow. I missed "Waking" but saw the rest. This was the best HCFF yet, hope for many more to come. Thanks for these film reminders!

HCFF has found the right formula

Great photos of great festival. This was my first HCFF this year, but it was not my first film festival. HCFF has found that winning combination of amazing programming and outstanding hospitality. I will be submitting to this festival again and again because I want to get back there.