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Is San Antonio Ready for a New Generation of Latino Filmmakers? 

Latino Screenwriting Project fellow Julio O. Ramos in a meeting with advisor Carlos Avila

Latino Screenwriting Project fellow Julio O. Ramos in a meeting with advisor Carlos Avila

Besides some shorts and the documentary Las Tesoros de San Antonio (which had its world premiere on February 21), CineFestival will feature a Pepe Serna tribute day on Wednesday, February 24, with screenings of Aguruphobia (comedy, 6:30 p.m.) and the world premiere of Aaron Lee López's Gino's Wife (8:30 p.m.), shot in SA and starring Jesse Borrego. It's a well-deserved homage to Serna, a fine, under-recognized actor who is in top form in López's crime drama. But CineFestival won't just show SA films for the sake of showing SA films. The good news is that SA today is similar to the Austin Richard Linklater found when he did Slacker, and the city is ready for a new generation of filmmakers with actually something to say.

"I came to Austin 16 years ago," Linklater told The New York Times in 2000. "My rent was $133 a month, all bills paid, and I could live on $3,500 a year. So I spent all my time watching movies, editing, shooting. Film students are like, How do you do it? I don't know. If you have to work all day just to pay your rent, I don't know. If I was just starting out now? I might go to San Antonio."

Sixteen years have passed, and SA is still not known as a city where great movies come from. There is only one way to change that.

"[Linklater] set out to do an original film instead of following Hollywood formulas," said Mendiola. "I think that's the approach SA should have."

But everything starts with a good screenplay, and local Latino auteurs and writers should take advantage of next year's CineFestival's Latino Screenwriting Project, organized in conjunction with the Sundance Institute. C'mon, guys. Less talking about lights and lenses and cameras, and more attention to screenwriting. Don't procrastinate and go to now.


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