FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES CLOSING FILM, 8 TITLES
TEXAS DIRECTOR AL REINERT’S “UNREAL DREAM” TO CLOSE 2013 FESTIVAL
HOUSTON – The Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) has announced that the closing film of HCAF 2013 will be An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story, directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Al Reinert. The film will screen on the night of Sunday, Nov. 10, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) Brown Auditorium following the world premiere of Houston Ballet at 4:00 PM – two films with strong Houston and Texas connections.
Reinert received Oscar nominations as the documentary filmmaker of For All Mankind (1990) and as the co-screenwriter of Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 (1996). For All Mankind, based on NASA’s Apollo program, won the documentary Jury and Audience Awards when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1989 and subsequently received accolades from festivals worldwide.
An Unreal Dream tells the story of Michael Morton, wrongly convicted in 1986 for the brutal murder of his wife. He spent 25 years in Texas prisons before Houston attorney John Raley, working with the New York-based Innocence Project, won the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene, which ultimately exonerated Morton and identified the real killer. Upon his release in 2011, Morton riveted the world with his lack of bitterness or anger, focusing his future on fighting for legal reform and reaching out to his estranged son. Reinert, Raley and Morton all will be present at MFAH for the post-film discussion at HCAF 2013.
“We’re very pleased to bring Al Reinert back to Houston, where he filmed his classic documentary, For All Mankind,” HCAF Artistic Director Richard Herskowitz said. “His ties to Houston and the state of Texas run deep, as further revealed in his new film about the unjustly imprisoned Michael Morton.”
HCAF also has released the names of seven more films for its 2013 festival, all dedicated to the visual, performing and literary arts: My Father and the Man in Black with director Jonathan Holiff, Persistence of Vision with director Kevin Schreck, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, Chasing Shakespeare with director Norry Niven, Approved for Adoption, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton and The Ballad of the Weeping Spring.
My Father and the Man in Black is the revealing story of bad-boy Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager Saul Holiff and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend. As a child, filmmaker Jonathan Holiff didn’t spend a lot of time with his father, but after Saul committed suicide, the younger Holiff discovered the secrets of Saul’s life as Johnny’s manager and the pair’s complex relationship.
In Persistence of Vision, Schreck presents a tale of creative genius gone horribly awry. Innovative and visionary animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) spent 25 of his 50 years in the business toiling on his masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler, only to have it torn from his hands. The film weaves together mind-blowing animation, rare archival footage and exclusive interviews with key animators and artists who worked with Williams on his magnum opus.
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction profiles one of the greatest character actors alive. Stanton, 87, has appeared in more than 200 films. He has played in Los Angeles clubs with his band for more than a decade yet declined many offers to record. This up-close and personal documentary explores the actor’s enigmatic outlook on his life and unexploited talents as a musician, featuring telling scenes with David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard, Kris Kristofferson and Debbie Harry.
Dallas-based director Norry Niven’s Chasing Shakespeare recounts the beginning, end and rebirth of a love affair between William (Danny Glover) and Venus (Tantoo Cardinal) in rural Arkansas. Told in flashback, William, now mourning his beloved’s passing, recalls how his younger self (Mike Wade) first fell for the Shakespeare-loving Venus (Chelsea Ricketts), a member of the mystical American Indian Lightning Clan, in this masterfully spun emotional and dream-like narrative.
Approved for Adoption is the humorous and unflinching memoir of brilliant graphic novelist Jung Henin, who was five years old when a Belgian family adopted him from Korea. Expertly rendered with Jung’s own stunning animations intercut with snippets of super-8 family footage and archival film, the film tells an exceedingly moving story about the search for love, belonging and a sense of self. It also paints an honest picture of the challenges faced by cross-cultural adoptees.
Big Joy is Stephen Silha and Eric Slade’s kaleidoscopic portrait of James Broughton, a pioneer of experimental cinema, visionary poet and bard of gay liberation. Credited with playing a key role in creating the independent film scene flourishing today, Broughton believed art and film could broaden our perspectives and heal our hearts. Masterfully edited, Big Joy intersperses Broughton’s diaries, poems and experimental films into an entertaining and complex tapestry.
HCAF 2013 will unveil its complete program, including major new releases and special guests, on Oct. 15. The full schedule and single tickets will be available Oct. 16 on the Houston Cinema Arts Society website (www.cinemartsociety.org), where Festival All-Access, Weekend and One-Day Passes are already on sale.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane. HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include the Crane Foundation, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Levantine Entertainment, Houston First Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Champion Energy Services, Amegy Bank of Texas, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and others. The project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival was held Nov. 6-10. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.