Seven Hidden Gems Screening at the San Antonio Film Festival This Week 

click to enlarge LITTLE MISS ANOMALY / VIMEO
  • Little Miss Anomaly / Vimeo

With films running at all hours of the day in multiple venues across the Tobin Center, attendees are spoiled for choice at this week’s San Antonio Film Festival.

Hitting up bigger screenings, from Alex Wolff’s directorial debut The Cat and the Moon to the short documentary “The Cheech,” may be no brainer, but smaller, quirky entries really make film festivals fun. To save you time scouring the online schedule for hidden gems, we’ve rounded up seven under-the-radar films that might be worth checking out.

click to enlarge FRANK WEYSOS / FACEBOOK


“While It’s Hot”

Forget pool halls — in 2019, the best place to find marks to hustle is on the internet. In Austin filmmaker Frank Weysos’ “While It’s Hot,” two women seek out “internet pervs” to enact a “seemingly foolproof bait and switch” on deserving targets. Alas, as is wont with these schemes, things go quickly and violently awry. San Antonio native Avery Moore stars as half of the dynamic duo, so if you’ve been missing her comedic stylings since she abandoned the Alamo City for the siren song of Austin, now’s your chance to see her on the silver screen.

A Little of This A Little of That Shorts Block, $10, 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, McLaughlin Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

click to enlarge SAN ANTONIO FILM FESTIVAL / FACEBOOK

The Family

Still scarred by the trailer for Cats? Cleanse your palate with The Family, a historic first in Chinese filmmaking. Created by China’s Central Academy of Drama, this period film is the first musical drama made in the country. Based on the opening of Chinese literary great Ba Jin's The Trilogy of the Rapids: Home, Spring and Autumn, the film centers on three families that are fraying under the weight of feudalism in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in the early 1920’s.

$15, 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, McLaughlin Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

“25 Texans in the Land of Lincoln”

This short documentary chronicles an unconventional school trip taken by a group of St. Mary’s Unviersity students. Under the guidance of professor Teresa Van Hoy, 25 public history students trekked up to Springfield, Illinois, with a surprising goal in mind: to ask that Antonio López de Santa Anna’s wooden leg be repatriated to Mexico. If you didn’t know that Santa Anna had a wooden leg, let alone that it had been on display in a museum in Illinois, this film will prove to be an illuminating experience in more ways than one.

Split Decisions Shorts Block, $6.99, 9 a.m. Thursday, August 1, McLaughlin Rotunda, $10, 3 p.m. Saturday, August 3, Feik Family Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

Driven

Beleaguered ride share driver Emerson (Casey Dillard) is used to dealing with weird passengers, but when she picks up Roger (Richard Speight Jr.), her night goes to hell in more ways than one. As it turns out, Roger’s fighting a curse — and a slew of demons that go along with it — and Emerson's now along for the ride.

$6.99, 9 a.m. Friday, August 2, Feik Family Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

click to enlarge MAGNOLIA ENTERTAINMENT / FACEBOOK

“One Day Notice”

It’s hard to quit your job, and even harder when your boss’ management style is straight out of the pages of The Devil Wears Prada. When Hunter (Adam Lopez) finally works up the courage to tell Hollywood agent Ruth Katzmann (played by the inimitable Cellia Imrie) that he’s done being her assistant, things go even worse than he could imagine. Instead of accepting his notice, she gives him a counteroffer he cannot refuse — get L.A.’s most sought-after A-list star to sign with her within 24 hours, or die.

Pit Stops and Rabbit Holes Shorts Block, $10, 1 p.m. Friday, August 2, McLaughlin Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story

Everybody loves a good behind-the-scenes documentary, especially when it shows off the amazing stunt work and special effects that go into making today’s blockbusters. With that said, it’s surprising that it took this long to get an in-depth look at the stuntwomen behind all the great action sequences in film history. Covering everything from the silent era, the embarrassing period when men served as stunt performers for women, to today’s kick-ass stunt performers behind everyone from Trinity (The Matrix) to Black Widow (Avengers: Endgame), this documentary makes up for lost time with its thorough look at the BAMFs behind female action stars.

$10, 3 p.m. Friday, August 2, Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

My Summer as a Goth

With her dad recently deceased and her mom off on a book tour, Joey’s (Natalie Shershow) been left to fend for herself with her eccentric grandparents. That alone would probably be enough to drive a teenager into goth-experimentation, but in this case, it’s actually the cute boy next door wearing black lipstick that draws her to the dark side. By making the outcasts the “in-crowd,” this quirky comedy puts a spin on the typical teen story of fitting in, with the added bonus of getting to watch actors flounce across the screen in darkly Victorian costumes and stylized makeup.

$15, 9 p.m. Friday, August 2, Feik Family Rotunda, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

25th Annual San Antonio Film Festival
$59 (1-day pass); $99 (weekend badge); $169 (VIP badge)
July 30-August 4
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 885-5888, safilm.com

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