Going Against The Grain

Trekking the Trail Less Traveled: Fifth Annual Billy the Kid Film Festival announces film lineup, Bosque Film Society-produced documentary & horror short films among selections in Hico Nov. 3-5

HICO – What does it mean to be an outlaw? And not just a Wild West standoff, but stories of going against the grain, taking the trail less traveled, exploring the lives of the disenfranchised, the broken, and the outcast. Think of the stories that need to be told.

The Fifth Annual Billy the Kid Film Festival based in Hico proudly announced the films and events for the popular film festival taking place November 3-5. Since its 2019 film festival debut in Hico – the Hometown of "Brushy Bill" Robert, alias "Billy the Kid” – it has been the film festival’s mission to celebrate filmmakers from all over the world, while giving local filmmakers and residents a place to come together and appreciate the art of making movies – and to push the boundaries a bit; to be a bit of an outlaw when it comes to conventions.

This fifth edition of BTKFF includes an impressive expansion of the film program, which has more than doubled from last year. This year 72 films – 14 feature-length, 58 short films and music videos – will be screened over the three-day festival. The film festival has successfully carved out a loyal local fan base and regard with Texas-based filmmakers, especially within the western genre.

“The expansion of this year’s film lineup coupled with workshops, in-person appearances by special guests, and a live musical performance points to our film festival’s continued growth and ambition to become a must-stop for Texas-based filmmakers,” said Festival founders and directors Philip Vasquez, and Luci DiGiorgio, along with lead film programmer Justina Walford. “We want this festival to be a destination for those around the world to celebrate our brand of outlaw and western filmmaking.”

The annual spotlight on outlaw-themed films, as well as Texas-shot and Texas-made productions, opens with the Daniel A. Edwards’ documentary about the film festival’s namesake “Billy the Kid: the Silver City Photo.” Introduced by actor Barry Corbin and narrated by Emilio Estevez, the film unveils what is believed to be a never-before-seen photograph of the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, discovered in rural Canada, and depicting him in Silver City, NM at a pivotal moment prior to joining the Lincoln County War.

The official closing night selection, Oscar Torre’s provocative drama “A Summer Night” follows an exotic dancer, struggling to stay sober, as she faces the pressure of trying to raise thousands of dollars overnight for her mother's experimental cancer treatment. Chuti Tiu recently won a Best Actor Award at the Love and Hope Film Festival in Barcelona for her lead performance in the film. Both Oscar Torre and Chuti Tiu will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

With two films selected for the film festival lineup, the Bosque Film Society will premiere its award-winning documentary short film, “Voice of the Common Man: The Lomax Legacy” during the Local Block 3 of six films at 3:30 p.m. on Sat. Nov. 4.

With the film festival season still in full swing, the documentary produced and directed by William Godby and E Brett Voss has already been selected to 17 film festivals worldwide, winning Best Documentary Short seven times while Godby has won best editor three times and Voss best writer twice. With winners yet to be announced, Voice of the Common Man has also been nominated for Best Documentary Short in the Seguin Film & Arts Festival, Rio de Janeiro World Film Festival, Melbourne Independent Film Festival, San Diego International Film Festival, Nashville Independent Filmmakers Festival and the Cannes World Art Festival.

Narrated by Lane Talburt, the film asks viewers to "imagine a world with no Blues explosion, no R&B movement, no Beatles, no Stones." It’s hard to measure the total impact John Avery Lomax had on music as we know it today. But there’s no doubt the man who became known as the legendary Ballad Hunter “added the voice of the common man to the written history of America.” Chasing songs he came to love as a boy, Lomax went on the road to record over 1,200 discs containing some 4,000 songs for the Library of Congress.

The BFS-produced thriller short film “Gal Manns Skrik: Mad Man's Scream” also screens Saturday in the Local Block 2 of four films at 5 p.m. Directed by E Brett Voss and J Matt Wallace, Gal Manns Skrik: Mad Man's Scream found favorable response in being selected by 16 film festivals around the world in 2022, earning numerous nominations and awards, winning for Best Horror Film in the Pure Magic International Film Festival Series in The Netherlands, and Best Experimental Short Film at the White Pearl International Film Festival in India, Indo Singapore International Film Festival and New York City’s International World Film Awards; as well as Best Narrative Short in San Marcos, Huntsville and California’s The Dark Fest.

As a uniquely original concept and narrative mashup short written by Voss and based on Edvard Munch’s 1893 masterpiece "The Scream,” Gal Manns Skirk pays homage to classic horror films by re-imagining scenes from The Shining, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, Rosemary's Baby, Silence of the Lambs, and Scream. While starring Bosque County’s Bryan Davis, Nathan Diebenow, William Godby, Lorana Rush, Angela Smith and Miriam Wallace, the film varies in degrees of shot-for-shot exactness and creative license, but aimed to capture the spirit and love of those films while adding a unique new twist to them.

Working in collaboration with the Billy The Kid Film Festival, the Bosque Film Society – where Vasquez and Digiorgio also serve as board members – will offer free screenings of “The Best of the Fest” in the Second Annual Bosque Film Society Showcase at The Cliftex Theatre in Clifton on Sunday Nov. 19, starting at 2 p.m. as a gift to the film-loving communities in Bosque County and the region.

Additional 2023 BTKFF film highlights include Sean Cranston’s “The Full Moon Fathers” about a biker gang who discover one of their members has been killed after a night of partying and must find the culprit before another member is targeted.

Brett Bentman’s “The Killing of Billy the Kid” is the latest film to dramatize Sheriff Pat Garrett’s legendary pursuit of Billy the Kid. Steven Mark Shaw’s “Goin' Home” follows the build up to a confrontation between a bigoted group of troops on the prairie with revenge-minded Apaches following the unnecessary killing of a young Apache girl.

And among the documentaries, highlights include Thaddeus D. Matula’s multiple award-winning “Into the Spotlight,” a heartfelt story that follows a Dallas-based theatre troupe composed of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are determined to write, rehearse and perform their 11th annual original musical during the 2021-22 season. The critically-acclaimed film won Best Documentary at the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, Greenpoint Film Festival, Ignite Film Festival and DIFF.

Carlos Arrieta’s “Taking the Fight” focuses on Stuart Warren Dansby, a 56-year-old who enters the kickboxing ring for the first time to battle against an opponent 30 years his junior in an against all odds quest for a championship.

In addition to the screening presentations, the Billy the Kid Film Festival offers a film festival workshop with local filmmaker consultant Rebecca Smith, a Popcorn and Dublin Soda Party at Green Canoe, a High School and College Student Photo Contest, and a live performance by Jon Young Band.

BTKFF also welcomes back beloved character actor Barry Corbin as a special guest, as well as Dennis and Amanda Moore from Pine Moore Old West Studio, the famous western and Old West location set and stages which has been utilized by countless films, television shows, commercials, and music videos for scenic backdrops.

For the second year, the Moores will present the Pine Moore Award to a winning filmmaker during the Man in Black Tequila and Tamale Awards Party at Hico Hall on Sat., Nov. 4 followed by the performance of the Jon Young Band. Following the final round of screenings on Sunday, the People’s Choice Awards will be announced.

The Billy the Kid Film Festival sponsors include: The City of Hico, Hico Chamber of Commerce, Tarleton State University, Cast-O Matic, Wiseman Chocolates, Blue Star Trading, Frank Kent Cadillac, and The Bosque Film Society. View the complete schedule in this link: Billy the Kid Film Festival schedule. Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information on the Billy the Kid Film Festival go to https://www.billythekidfilmfestival.com.


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1 comment

  1. Punky Penberthy 2 November, 2023 at 08:59 Reply

    Congratulations to Bosque Film Society founders for their film being selected for the Hico Film Festival. Good work!

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