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Muddied Waters 

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What do you say about a local 24-minute short film shot for $200 that aims for John Waters at his best and ends up as Andy Warhol at his worst?

What do you do when scenes with men in drag obviously needed more takes, while some takes needed to be much shorter? When the lens goes in and out of focus, but this ain’t no John Cassavetes?

I could go on and on pointing out the problems with Poison Oaks (pictured), a movie directed by and starring Sid Deluca and KD Kibbe and released by Rusty Apache Studios. Yet, the movie has a special magic, working more on the strength of what it represents than what it is. And this is a side of San Antonio filmmaking the city desperately needs — risky, off-beat, and ambitious enough to aspire to the festival circuit while fearless enough to make the mistakes incumbent on any project that aims to be truly different. The movie is as sloppy as the characters’ Alamo Heights dump it portrays, and yet it stayed with me for some mysterious reason. You should see it and judge for yourself: The premiere is 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at the Cove’s Green House (606 W. Cypress, free). There will be music by Katherine Dawn (Texas Ladybugs), Valerie Fernández, Michelle Bennett (from the local stage show Dinah Was), and Patrice Villastrigo.

Pablo Véliz’s latest feature, Cartoneo y Nopalitos, is the exact other side of the cinematic coin. It is polished, looks and sounds great, and has absolutely no underground/experimental vibe to it (where are Waters, Fellini, Warhol, or Cassavetes when you need them?). If you missed it, go to the Pearl Brewery’s outdoor theater (north end of the River Walk, near La Gloria) for a free screening at 8 p.m. Friday, June 10. For my taste, Véliz is still too endebted to the telenovela/tear-jerker stuff, but he knows how to wrap up a film. At 28, he’s still young. I’m looking forward to his future, more mature work. In any event, there aren’t too many people in San Antonio who can claim six features to their credit. Credit where credit is due.

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