With the red carpet rolled out and a clique of local paparazzi huddling outside the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the scene was all Hollywood for the opening soiree of the sixth annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival on Wednesday.
Except, needless to say, the curated schedule of films about artists and about the arts, the mantra of the nonprofit that hosts this yearly silver screen binge, isn't the type that one would typically find at Megaplex movie theaters. Instead, for instance as in A Midsummer Night's Dream by director Julie Taymor, who flew in to enjoy the American premiere that reinterpreted her stage production shown at the Polonsky Center in Brooklyn last year, artistic director Richard Herskowitz's choices laud the utmost creativity within the genre.
Or as board member Ann Vaughn put it, the Davids within an industry filled with Goliaths.
That the Shakespearean film was more than two-hours long — plus an opening VIP reception, a talk-back with Taymor moderated by Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd and a post-screening party catered by Whole Foods Market — didn't deter the Brown Auditorium from being packed to the max to the degree that no single seat was available, with a few movie buffs standing in the back.
Hobnobbing with filmmakers DeeDee Halleck, Heather and Benjamin Epps, Thomas Allen Harris, 2014 Levantine Cinema Arts Award recipient James Ivory and Jennifer Grausman plus infamous art forger Mark Landis (Landis the subject of Grausman's Art and Craft) were Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Toby Kamps, Karen Farber and MFAH film department director Marian Luntz.
Also making a fashionable appearance were former Texans guard Chester Pitts, Houston Public Media's Ernie Manouse and Sarah Gish. Houston Cinema Arts Society executive director Trish Rigdon and her posse were delighted at welcoming such a robust throng.
The Houston Cinema Arts Festival continues through Sunday. Need suggestions on what to see? Hop on over to CultureMap contributor Tarra Gaines' cheat sheet to the five-day bash.