As artistic director for the festival, Herskowitz helped layer and landscape the program, which spotlights films from women filmmakers and cinema that delves into everything from literature, painting, and art installation, to 360 degree cinema.

“[Houston Cinema Arts Festival], it’s a place for film that crosses over various art forms,” says Herskowitz. Which, he adds, is why the 2016 festival pairs films with live performances. Take for instance, the festival screening of HAPPY LUCKY GOLDEN TOFU PANDA DRAGON GOOD TIME FUN FUN SHOW on Wednesday, November 16, where the hip-hop, rock, classical music blending comedy duo Slanty Eyed Mama will give a live performance. Director and Emmy Award-winning actress Carrie Preston, known for her appearances on television shows like THE GOOD WIFE and TRUE BLOOD, also attends the Asia Society screening.

Similarly, dance and visual artist Celia Rowlson-Hall will take the stage at Aurora Picture Show on Monday, November 14, illustrating the connection between cinematic movement and dance movement with a selection of her short dance films and art, fashion, and music videos, including THE AUDITION and PROM NIGHT.

For Herskowitz, the goal is to promote provocative, innovative, interesting cinema. “Film festivals exist to celebrate film but they also exist to push the culture forward,” says Herskowitz. “Part of the mission of film festivals is to challenge and push the mainstream to be more inclusive,” says the artistic director.

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