Media Contacts:
Mark Sullivan / Nick Scurfield
On the Mark Communications


HOUSTON – Internationally renowned dancer, choreographer and director Debbie Allen has been confirmed as a late addition to the list of special guests at the Nov. 6-10 Houston Cinema Arts Festival. She will be part of a large group of notables on hand for the world premiere of the Houston Ballet: Breaking Boundaries documentary on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, at 4:00 PM.

Allen joins a distinguished group of participants for a Q&A session that will follow the Houston Ballet: Breaking Boundaries premiere: John Carrithers, the film’s director; Delicia Harvey, the film’s producer; James Clouser, Houston Ballet Artistic Director from 1975-76; Ben Stevenson, Houston Ballet Artistic Director Emeritus who led the company from 1976-2003; and Stanton Welch, Houston Ballet Artistic Director from 2003 to present.

Allen, a Houston native, became Houston Ballet’s first African-American dancer in 1964. She has since gone on to an illustrious career that includes three Emmy Awards for choreography, and two Emmys and one Golden Globe for her role as Lydia Grant in the hit series Fame. She has choreographed the Academy Awards 10 times, produced the Steven Spielberg epic film Amistad, directed A Different World, Polly and episodes of NBC’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Quantum Leap and was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Another late addition to HCAF 2013 is actress Mary Beth Hurt, star of The Volunteer. She will join already announced guest artists for the post-film discussion, director Vicky Wight and lead actress Aunjanue Ellis. The Volunteer will screen Monday, Nov. 11, at 7:15 PM as part of the “Spotlight On Houston” showcase at Sundance Cinemas downtown. A three-time Tony Award nominee for her Broadway performances in Trelawny of the Wells, Crimes of the Heart (for which she won an Obie) and Benefactors, Hurt  is a veteran of many big-screen roles including Joey in Woody Allen‘s dramatic film Interiors (1978), Laura in Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979), Helen Holm Garp in The World According to Garp (1982) and Regina Beaufort in Martin Scorsese‘s The Age of Innocence (1983).

While HCAF 2013 begins on Nov. 6, Festival Headquarters opened on Saturday for festival goers, Houston Cinema Arts Society members and sponsors to pick up their passes. Located at 1201 Main St. in downtown Greenstreet (formerly Houston Pavilions, on the 1st Level across from Forever 21), HCAF 2013 headquarters will feature “Cinema on the Verge” programming in the Cinema 16 Microcinema, including an immersive four-screen feature film installation by artist Meredith Danluck titled North of South, West of East. The film, which has only shown at three other festivals in the world, will screen on average twice daily during the festival. A remarkable achievement in multi-linear storytelling and pop-culture black comedy, it will be shown to an audience of 24 people seated on swivel chairs, surrounded by four screens, with performances by Ben Foster, Stella Schnabel and Sue Galloway and a soundtrack by Marfa punk band Solid Waste.

In addition to the Cinema 16 screenings, Festival Headquarters features two art exhibits. One is Réquiem NN, a photography installation by Juan Manuel Echavarría comprised of close-up photographs of the decorated tombs of NN’s (no-names), unidentified bodies pulled from the Magdalena River, victims of the violent massacres that ravage the Colombian countryside. Echavarría will discuss the installation and present his film, Réquiem NN, in the Cinema 16 screening room on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3:45 PM.

HCAF 2013 headquarters also feature a Transmedia Showcase, a display of interactive transmedia applications by and about pioneering film and new media animators Norman McLaren, Joanna Priestley, Jeff Scher, Richard Williams and Yung Jake. Viewers will be able to select and view animations by legendary Canadian animator Norman McClaren and contemporary New York animator Jeff Scher. They also will be able to play with interactive animation apps created by experimental animator Joanna Priestley and the hip-hop new media artist and musician Yung Jake. Attendees also can engage with the remarkable interactive animation lessons taught by Richard Williams, considered by many the greatest of all teachers of animation. Williams is the subject of Persistence of Vision, a film screening in this year’s festival on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 3:30 PM at Sundance.

From now through Nov. 10, Houstonians and visitors can visit the Festival Headquarters to view trailers of the films screening at HCAF 2013 this year and also watch Q&As from the past four years of the festival.


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