Houston Cinema Arts Fest

Oscar contenders in controversial films highlight Houston Cinema Arts Fest lineup

Oscar contenders in controversial films highlight Cinema Fest lineup

Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest 2015, September 2015, Carol
The 2015 Houston Cinema Arts Festival lineup includes Carol, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest, September 2015,
Youth, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, will make its Bayou City debut. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest 2015, Fringe Story
The Houston Cinema Arts Festival will feature international political film, Fringe Story.  Courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Festival, September 2015, Gordon Quinn
Gordon Quinn will be honored with a special tribute at the festival. Courtesy of Kartemquin Films
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest 2015, September 2015, Carol
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest, September 2015,
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Fest 2015, Fringe Story
Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Festival, September 2015, Gordon Quinn

Two films with big Oscar potential are among the flicks that will take center stage at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, officials announced Thursday.

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are expected to be up for top acting prizes for their roles in Carol. Director Todd Haynes' adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, The Price of Salt, follows two women from disparate backgrounds in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York.

Mara won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival but is expected to snare a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Academy Awards so as not to compete with Blanchett, who is likely to garner her sixth Oscar nomination.

Michael Caine has been acclaimed for his role in Youth, the second English language film directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty). The plot centers around a retired orchestra conductor contemplating the indignities of old age and the trappings of celebrity at a luxurious mountain resort. The film, which has a stellar cast including Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, received a mixed reaction at Cannes.

Now in its seventh year, fall's biggest local film fest offers Houstonians a chance to catch up on some of the year’s most lauded films, from big studio releases to under-the-radar documentaries. It will take place November 12 through 19 at designated times and venues, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Miller Outdoor Theatre.

The early lineup also includes two international political films: Fringe Story (Israel) and Ash and Money (Estonia). The directors for each will attend the premieres and participate in a panel on the subject of “Fringe Theater and Politics.”

The 2015 festival will pay tribute to Gordon Quinn and Kartemquin Films, the Chicago media production center behind internationally acclaimed documentaries such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters. The announced schedule includes screenings of three Kartemquin documentaries about art, Golub, Almost There and On Beauty, and two panel discussions at Rice Media Center featuring documentary film scholar Patricia Aufderheide and director Dan Rybicky (Almost There).

The complete HCAF program will be announced on October 20.

The Houston Cinema Arts Festival is organized and hosted by the non-profit Houston Cinema Arts Society. For more details and the complete list of 10 announced films and related events, head to the HCAS website.