Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending the Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg. Nestled amidst vineyards and rolling hills, Fredericksburg is a charming Texan town proud of its German heritage and surrounded by streets, shops, and cottage style homes that remind me of my time in Savannah.
My documentary short film, Giant Visions of Tiny Places had its premiere at the festival, in a suite of wonderful short documentaries, many made by fellow Texan filmmakers.
The real gem of the festival was the closing night feature, Intramural, a small low budget Texan comedy that had the audience in stitches. Intramural was incredibly well made, acted, and written. It felt like we were watching a classic comedy make its first appearance.
I have nothing but positive things to say about the festival and organization of the events. The venues were superb, the professionalism and presentation of every little detail rivaled much larger festivals I’d attended. Filmmakers were given a great treatment with a VIP tent and an exceptional swag bag. I could certainly see coming to this festival for years to come, whether or not I have material to present in the future.
Best of all, and something I have always felt about regional film festivals, is the sense that everyone in attendance is attending out of a legitimate love of the cinema. Larger festivals are often treated more for the exclusive purpose of networking and selling films.
That is necessary and perhaps vital for the industry, but it can be disheartening to screen your work and feel that few members of the audience are there out of a pure and simple love of the cinema for its own sake. Regional festivals are more frequently patronized by local cinema lovers who perhaps don’t have access to independent films year round in a theatrical setting, and so are thrilled by the opportunity to engage with filmmakers and new work.
Hill Country Film Festival typified this most enjoyable kind of festival.