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News from the greater SA film industry

As the Academy Awards and Golden Globes buzz closer, high-profile, major releases such as Brokeback Mountain and A History of Violence are on the lips of those given to stargazing and book-making. Meanwhile, two San Antonio films are receiving attention at prominent, if less-televised, award ceremonies.

UTSA Communications major Pablo Veliz’s La Tragedia de Macario has been accepted to the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, held January 19-26. Inspired by a 2003 incident in which 19 immigrants died of heat and asphyxiation while trapped in a truck crossing from Mexico into Texas, La Tragedia de Macario was filmed in 2005 and took home awards that year at film festivals around Texas. `See “Last respects,” October 13-19, 2005.` Just taking home the top prize at the Houston Pan-American Film Festival would be cause enough for celebration, but Sundance’s international stage will draw attention not only to Veliz and his partners, but to Latino filmmakers and the San Antonio scene as well.

Another San Antonio film inspired by local events, El Escape De Los Santos, was accepted to the Hollywood DV Film Festival, a showcase for, as the title suggests, films shot entirely in high-definition or digital format. The film concerns the mistaken arrest of a hunter in Mexico and the travesties of the Mexican justice system, which prompts the characters’ titular escape.

Smaller features, like the two award-winners above, soon will have some bigger company courtesy of the Greater San Antonio Film Council. The council held a film mixer of sorts on January 10 for local actors, art directors, and other film professionals (or wanna-be professionals) to meet with council members and one other, and gain information about the big-budget productions being shepherded to San Antonio by the council via the annual American Film Market, the indie-film networking extravaganza. More GSAFC info can be found at or by calling 379-3582.

So what kinds of films would be suitable to San Antonio’s environs? Well, certainly nothing about the Alamo, given the disastrous performance of the 2004 feature that was filmed on location in ... Austin. So if the Alamo is off limits, how about the dramatic story of Missión San Francisco de la Espada and its enigmatic broken arch? Or better yet, Lars von Trier could try his hand at another set-less exploration of American culture with The Curb, in which three characters, Eva, Tony, and Cop, spend two hours on an empty stage tearfully recounting the traffic violations hidden shamefully in their pasts. San Antonio’s made it to Sundance, why can’t Cannes be next? •

Aaron Block

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