In 2008, when the Houston Cinema Arts Society hired Richard Herskowitz to run its newly minted Houston Cinema Arts Festival, the longtime film programmer wanted to shake up the standard way audiences experience film.

“At the time, there was an interest in cinema leaving the theater space and going into other environments to blend with film and live performance. One of the things that attracted me to the job was I wanted to do a festival that didn’t just show movies,” says Herskowitz, who, as HCAF artistic director, has helped bring guest artists such as Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Isabella Rossellini and Will Forte to the annual event.

Today, Herskowitz continues to operate outside the usual boundaries. The 2015 festival—which has expanded to an entire week, running November 12 through 19—includes customary motion picture screenings, of course, but also much more.

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