Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) has revealed 10 films about art and artists that will be featured in the 7th annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF15) from Nov. 12-19, in advance of the Oct. 20 announcement of its complete program.

Among them are five upcoming releases that will make their Houston premieres at the festival, including the Weinstein Company’s Carol, an early Oscars contender starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara directed by Todd Haynes, and Fox Searchlight’s Youth starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty). The festival also will feature a special tribute to Gordon Quinn and Kartemquin Films, the groundbreaking Chicago media production center behind internationally acclaimed documentaries such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters.

Quinn co-founded Kartemquin in 1966, creating a non-profit collaborative center for documentary filmmakers to foster a more engaged and empowered society. HCAF’s Quinn/Kartemquin tribute will include screenings of three Kartemquin documentaries about art – Golub (1988), Almost There (2014) and On Beauty (2014) – and two panel discussions at Rice Media Center on the subjects of “Visionary Storytelling: The Kartemquin Sensibility” and “Can Fair Use Help the Visual Arts?” with documentary film scholar and Kartemquin board member Patricia Aufderheide, director Dan Rybicky (Almost There) and others.

HCAF15 also will feature two new films about international theater companies producing works that strike challenging political chords at home: Fringe Story (Israel) and Ash and Money (Estonia), both which will be accompanied by the theater directors from their native countries. The directors will also participate in a panel on the subject of “Fringe Theater and Politics.”

The 10 preliminary announced titles for HCAF15 are as follows:

  • Carol, Haynes’ radiant adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, which follows two women (two-time Oscar winner Blanchett and Mara) from disparate backgrounds in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. Carol made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where Mara won the Best Actress prize
  • Youth from director Sorrentino, whose Great Beauty won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards, about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps (featuring three Oscar winners in Caine, Wiesz and Fonda)
  • Heart of a Dog, an upcoming Abramorama release by legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson with poetic and evocative ruminations on her beloved dog Lolabelle, who died in 2011, and other losses including her late husband, musician Lou Reed
  • The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and The Course of Country Music with guest director Beth Harrington, an upcoming Argot Pictures release that chronicles the Cash and Carter dynasties and their influence through generations of musicians – with interviews, archival discoveries and performances by the likes of Cash, George Jones, Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crow
  • A Woman Like Me with co-director Elizabeth Giamatti, an upcoming release that weaves the real-life story of co-director Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell, played by Lili Taylor. Giamatti, who completed the film after Sichel’s passing, will present the film
  • Golub (Kartemquin Films) with Gordon Quinn, who co-directed the documentary classic about painter Leon Golub along with the late Jerry Blumenthal
  • Almost There (Kartemquin) with guest director Dan Rybicky, who depicts elderly “outsider” artist Peter Anton as his world changes when two filmmakers discover his work and storied past
  • On Beauty (Kartemquin), Emmy-nominated director Joanna Rudnick’s 30-minute film about a fashion photographer who challenges the industry’s definition of female beauty
  • NO55 Ash and Money with Artistic Directors Tiit Ojasoo and Ene-Liis Semper of Theatre NO99 of Estonia, which sheds light on how Theatre NO99 created a fictitious political movement, the NO75 Unified Estonia assembly, that a large portion of the Estonian public treated as a real political force
  • Fringe Story with Yinon Tzafrir, Founder and Artistic Director of Israel’s Orto-Da, and film director Tor Ben Mayor of Israel (presented in collaboration with EPOS International Art Film Festival). Near the end of World War II, sculptor Natan Rappaport used granite stones to create a sculpture commemorating the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Fringe Story presents Orto-Da’s transformation of this sculpture into a stunning theatrical experience, offering a critical view of the Israeli Jewish narrative


Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) is a non-profit created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Neely. It organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative 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 Premier Sponsor Houston First Corporation, Signature Sponsor Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Featured Sponosor Levantine Films, Media Sponsor Texas Monthly, and many others. HCAS is also supported in part by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and Texas Commission on the Arts. The 7th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival will take place from Nov. 12-19, 2015. For more information, please visit hcaf15.org.


Mark Sullivan, mark@onthemarkcom.com
Nick Scurfield, nick@onthemarkcom.com
On the Mark Communications