The Third Coast
Sometimes referred to as Hurricane Alley, The Third Coast is an idea that informs much of the festival this year. A liminal region in so many ways, most notably situated somewhere in between the first and second coasts — the peoples, cultures, art, music, film, foods, threats and opportunities of The Third Coast are epic and unique.
From stories about the region like Red Rocket and Bushwick Bill: Geto Boy, to those in conversation with one of the most culturally and environmentally diverse regions on the planet like Luchadoras, North By Current, and Whether the Weather is Fine, HCAF 2021 celebrates The Third Coast in all its fullness and complexity.
The festival will also have a resident DJ, Flash Gordon Parks, providing the pre-show mixtape alongside performances at the Opening Night Party, The Last Tree, and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.
The audacious new film from writer-director Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine), starring Simon Rex in a magnetic, live-wire performance, Red Rocket is a darkly funny, raw, and humane portrait of a uniquely American hustler and a hometown that barely tolerates him.
Censorship couldn’t silence him. Size couldn’t limit him. A bullet couldn’t slow him down. A raw cinematic ride into the mind of Bushwick Bill (born Richard Shaw) legendary Gangsta Rapper and original member of The Geto Boys – godfathers of Southern Hip Hop.
Environmental justice and race are inextricable, particularly given the history of our city, state, and country. The goal of this film is to illuminate and activate people around this history so we can build a better present and future for communities that have for far too long borne the brunt of the compounding impacts from systemic racism like redlining, which has exacerbated disasters like COVID, Hurricane Harvey, climate change, and though not documented in the film, Texas’ most recent devastating winter storm.
Directed by Susan and Alan Raymond, this 1979 documentary seeks to capture the evolving character of Houston. The film pays special attention to the city’s rapid expansion—investigating not only what attracts so many people to the Bayou City but also its ongoing drawbacks, from a struggling mass transit system to alarming statistics about the use of deadly force by Houston police officers.
The exhibition includes a portrait of Lyle Lovett for MET magazine in 1990 and one of the first official portraits of the group Destiny’s Child from 2000. In the 1990s, Francis photographed the Tejano supergroup La Mafia, Los Palomino, Emilio Navarro, and Selena, “The Queen of Tejano.” Francis also photographed country music legends Patty Loveless, Hank Williams, Jr., Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, George Strait, and Randy Travis.
A survey of some recent experimental short films, Third Coast (and Other Shores) presents the latest works by film artists based in Houston and around the world. All of the works are united by a concern with place, landscape, and the interconnections between the local and the global. The program will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Cuyler Ballenger, Jonathan Caouette, W. MacLean, and Abinadi Meza, moderated by Guest Curator Michael Sicinski.
As part of 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape/A Possible Horizon, Austin Based award-winning filmmaker PJ Raval presents a selection of film highlights from his career. The program includes a conversation with PJ Raval alongside clips from definitive film work including his groundbreaking and visionary upcoming project. Growing up as a queer, first-generation Filipino American in a small, white, conservative town in California’s central valley, PJ’s outsider experience greatly shaped his filmmaking practice. PJ’s work examines social justice issues through the voices of queer and marginalized subjects.
This year’s Borders | No Borders Narrative Shorts Program highlights periods of transition, whether that marks a character embracing new aspects of their biculturalism, betrayed friendships, or journeying beyond the planet.
Directed by Shola Amoo, The Last Tree is the semi-autobiographical story of Femi, a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after being fostered in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner-city London to live with his birth mother. In his teens, Femi is struggling with the culture and values of his new environment. Femi must decide which path to adulthood he wants to take, and what it means to be a young black man in London during the early 00s.
Devastated after the impact of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, the Filipino coastal city of Tacloban is largely reduced to rubble. Among those left standing in its wake are Miguel (Daniel Padilla), his mother (Charo Santos), and his friend Andrea (Rans Rifol). Food is in short supply. Rescue centres are overflowing with the injured. Everything is thrown into disarray and confusion.
This year’s Borders | No Borders Documentary Shorts examine communities trapped in liminal spaces, including those lost while crossing borders, communities abandoned during the pandemic, or those harmed by improper toxic waste disposal. Some offer glimpses of lives stalled while others offer new moments of healing, with ritual and speculative fiction to imagine new futures.
CineSpace 2021 marks the seventh anniversary of the collaborative film competition between Houston Cinema Arts Society and NASA, where the finalists screen for a public audience. The screening features the announcement of the three top prize winners selected by Academy Award © nominated director Richard Linklater. NASA will also award two special prizes in the following categories: “Best Educational Film on Space and Science” and “Film that best depicts unity and inclusion in science”. Entries are competing for a total of $26,000 in cash prizes.
Censorship couldn’t silence him. Size couldn’t limit him. A bullet couldn’t slow him down. A raw cinematic ride into the mind of Bushwick Bill (born Richard Shaw) legendary Gangsta Rapper and original member of The Geto Boys – godfathers of Southern Hip Hop. The film chronicles Bill’s improbable journey from immigrant to icon and sheds new light on the infamous shooting that nearly took his life.