HCAF 2020 is inspired by the theme “urbana,” which plays off the globally popular Spanish-language music genre música urbana. This year’s Festival will explore how Houston is a kind of ground zero for urbana, and it will include tributes to Selena and DJ Screw in honor of the 25th and 20th anniversaries of their untimely passing. The roots of urbana lie in the intermingling that occurred in the Americas and the Caribbean between indigenous and African music and cultures during the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent influence of modern African-American culture on art and music. Urbana’s influence within music as well as outside of it is explored through film, performance, dance, literature, and art, in keeping with the Festival’s focus on the intersection of art forms.
When a British-Pakastani rapper is struck down by an autoimmune disease, he is forced to grapple with his own childhood in the UK and his family’s cultural heritage through visions of his father’s fleeing from India during the partition of India and Pakistan. This is the Texas premiere.
A farewell letter, a furious lamentation to a mother, a land, a hero, a victim, a martyr. An exhibition of stolen memories and open wounds. “I saw in you what they saw, mother. You deserve your war.”
After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer (Gael García Bernal), Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo), a reggaeton dancer, sets out on an odyssey of personal liberation in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and the modern family from director Pablo Larraín (No, Neruda, Jackie).
Following the murder of his wife at the hands of an evil shogun, an avenging ronin (Tomisaburo Wakayama) roams the countryside with his young son—and the boy’s sword-shooting baby carriage—in tow, dispatching ninja assassins with steely resolve in operatically stylized flurries of hallucinatory violence.
The 24th tells the incredibly powerful and timely true story of the all-black Twenty-Fourth United States Infantry Regiment and the Houston Riot of 1917. The Houston Riot was a mutiny by 156 African American soldiers in response to the brutal violence and abuse at the hands of Houston police officers.
Paying homage to the tradition of the griot in West African culture, Night of the Kings is a work of Shakespearean fabulism and gripping, energetic cinema, an altogether original vision from breakout Ivory Coast filmmaker Philippe Lacôte, and the submission from the Ivory Coast for the 2020 Best Foreign Language Oscar. This is the Texas premiere.
Tragedy and fate intervene as two Nigerians in Lagos try to better the lives of their families. Eyimofe (This is My Desire) is a film about two people’s quest for what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores.
Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center.
Pier Kids follows Casper, Desean, and Krystal, three homeless queer black youth as they navigate the streets, welfare, and their biological families in order to find stable housing. Along the way, the film brings light to an underground community of Pier Kids.
Two film by Lourdes Portillo on Selena. This program is co-presented by Aurora Picture Show.