In celebration of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, Texas Public Radio, in partnership with the San Antonio Film Commission and Slab Cinema, will kick off their tricentennial film series on Saturday, March 17 with a screening of the silent war film Wings
, which won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Picture in 1929. The film stars Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen as two rival combat pilots in love with the same woman (played by actress Clara Bow). Some major aerial scenes from the film were shot at Fort Sam Houston, forever cementing the start of San Antonio’s longstanding relationship with Hollywood productions.
According to historian Frank Thompson’s book “Texas Hollywood: Filmmaking in San Antonio since 1910,” San Antonio was home to the very first movie studio. Thompson will be on hand after the screening to talk about the production history of the World War I drama. The tricentennial film series will continue through May with two more screenings of San Antonio productions.
On March 20, Miss Congeniality
will screen at the Arneson River Theater. The 2000 comedy stars Sandra Bullock as an FBI special agent who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant to unmask a domestic terrorist. Then on May 9, Selena
will have fans of the 1997 biographical music drama doing the washing machine at the Central Library. The popular movie features actress/singer Jennifer Lopez in her breakout role as late Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla, who was tragically killed at the pinnacle of her career at the age of 23. Other films screening: Viva Max!
on April 7, The Sugarland Express
on May 2 and Go Down, Death
on May 21.
While the tricentennial film series has been limited to six films, local cinephiles can supplement the series with their own screenings during the year of the countless other movies shot in San Antonio over the last 100 years. Director Tim Burton might’ve only been in San Antonio for a single day to shoot one scene downtown for his 1985 comedy Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
, but San Antonians will forever link the classic movie to the Alamo City. Let’s also not forget comedian Jim Carrey squeezed himself out of the butt of a robotic rhino here in S.A. in 1995’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
Then, of course, there are more titles like All the Pretty Horses
, Cloak & Dagger
, Toy Soldiers
, Johnny Be Good
and many others that set up shop in SA for at least part of their production.
San Antonio may have taken a step back in the last century as a filmmaking hub, but with new incentives recently kicking in for productions shooting in the Alamo City, the local moviemaking community is holding out hope for more attention from Hollywood studios in the near future.
Free, Sat March 17 & Tue March 20, 7:45pm, Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle, 892 Hood St (main gate), (210) 212-9373, slabcinema.com.
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