Houston Cinema Arts Festival Returns This November

Featuring a slew of in-person and virtual premieres.

By Amarie Gipson October 21, 2021

The 13th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival 2021 takes place November 11-22 will feature over 40 films, shorts and programs united under the theme, "The Third Coast." Film still from Whether the Weather is Fine (2021).

Dubbed one of the world’s coolest film festivals by MovieMaker Magazine, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) returns November 11-22 with a jam-packed schedule. The 12-day event will include in-person screenings at multiple indoor and outdoor venues, from Miller Outdoor Theatre to Rooftop Cinema Club and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, along with virtual showings. 

This fall marks 13 years of the renowned festival and the third for its Artistic Director, Jessica Greene. “This edition of the festival is borne of sweat, joy, love, hard work, focus, care, soul searching, a sense of gratitude for being alive, and raw sadness for all the loss and strife touching so many people’s lives right now, all done in collaboration with an incredible team of staff, partners, and supporters,” she says in a statement. 

Inspired by Houston’s status as a destination for cultural diversity, the theme of this year’s festival is “The Third Coast.” Opening night will feature the Houston premiere of Sean Baker’s Red Rocket (2021), a raw story about the unique journey of an American hustler navigating his hometown. Other major highlights include the world premiere of Bushwick Bill: Geto Boy (2021), which chronicles the life of a Southern hip-hop pioneer; a Mexican-German drama about three female wrestlers entitled Luchadoras (2021), and In Balanchine’s Classroom, an intimate portrait of the famed ballet choreographer George Balanchine. The roster also includes a celebratory screening commemorating the 40th anniversary of Susan and Alan Raymond’s 1979 documentary, The Third Coast. 

Two short film competitions, CineSpace, a collaboration between NASA and HCAF, and Borders | No Borders, composed of submissions from filmmakers in Texas and its bordering states, will fill the latter half of the fest with a number of experimental and documentary projects. 

Curious about this year’s safety precautions? No need to worry. In acknowledgment of the ongoing pandemic, all HCAF staff and volunteers are fully vaccinated and patrons will be required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to attend in-person screenings. For those hoping to tune in at home, the schedule includes four feature-length virtual screenings. 

For more information on the schedule and festival passes, visit here. Stay tuned for more coverage.

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