The Houston Cinema Arts Society once again made a social and cinematic splash as it opened its annual film festival at the Museum of Fine Arts with a special screening of Waves, the stunning latest film from director Trey Edward Shults.
The Houston-raised director was on hand with the city’s cinephiles ready to celebrate the beginning of five days and night of some of the most innovative and award-winning films focused on visual, performing, and literary arts.
After festival filmmakers and special guests took a red carpet walk, the party began early with a prescreening reception in the MFAH Pre-Columbian Gallery, where party-goers dined on scrumptious bites from City Kitchen.
The evening was only getting started as later guests headed down to the MFAH’s Brown Auditorium to join the sold out audience for a dive into the emotional harrowing and hopeful Waves. After a welcome from HCAS Board Member Maureen McNamara, new festival artistic director Jessica Green gave the audience some preview highlights of this year’s lineup and its two special themes: the Yeehaw Agenda (variations on the cowboy focused films), as well as a 50th anniversary celebration of Apollo 11. But soon, all eyes were on Waves for the next two hours.
After Houston’s first look at a film likely to be named often during awards season, Schultz sat down for an in-depth talk with actor, superstar rapper, and Houstonian Bun B, who also happens to be a Cinema Arts Society board member. Praising the film as “mind-blowing,” Bun B asked Schultz to discuss his personal inspirations for Waves as well as the deep collaborations he had with the cast, especially young up and coming star, Kelvin Harrison Jr., when creating the film.
Later in Cullinan Hall, a live set from DJ and ethnomusicologist Flash Gordon Parks kept the party hopping into the late night. A recorded version of with his “Space Cowboy” mix will be a pre-screening treat throughout the festival.
Seen on the red carpet were Michael Robinson, Tchernavia Sessum, Brandon Weinbrenner and Mitchell Greco, Carmen Contreras, Cybil Saenz, Rick Ferguson, Mark and Nancy Wozny, Lisa E. Harris, Kelly Richardson, Cecilia Mejia, Marian Luntz, Alyssa Knoles, Peter Lucas, Trish Rigdon, Camilo Gonzalez, Mary Lampe, Jane Clinger, David Regos, and Thomas Ybarra.