Waco moviegoers will get another healthy dose of shorts and features from around the world next month at the sixth annual Deep in the Heart Film Festival, with a renewed focus on Waco as a filming location.
This year’s festival, to be held at the Waco Racetrack July 21-24, will showcase 109 shorts and five feature films, including the premiere of Juliet Landau’s “A Place Among the Dead” (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer “).
For festival founders and Waco filmmakers Samuel ZP Thomas and Louis Hunter, this year’s festival continues the rebound from two years marred by pandemic disruption. They received nearly 600 entries from which this year’s entries were selected, a sign that the festival is gaining positive recognition in a crowded film festival circuit.
This year’s submissions relied more on science fiction and escapist fantasy fare, Hunter said, and a surprising number dealt with sex, relationships, gender identity and roles, leading to a new subject among the blocks of short films that constitute the heart of the festival, “Let’s talk about sex.”
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Still strong are the festival’s selections in Horror, one of the best-attended blocks year after year. “We find that Waco loves its horror movies,” Thomas said. Waco’s support of this genre helped the selection of “A Place Among the Dead” as the highlighted feature after the shorts segment on opening night. Rounding out this year’s feature films are the independent brewing documentary ‘One Pint at a Time’, ‘The Sisters Karras’ and ‘Home Body’. Another feature-length documentary, “Catwalk 2: The Comeback Cats,” about competitive cat shows, will round out the festival.
This year’s festival will focus on Waco as a filming location with a “Waco Is Made for Movies” campaign created by Waco artists Will Suarez, Blanca Estefania and Skcoobaveli Trevino, featuring movie posters.
There’s also a new script grant awarded to the winner of the festival’s scriptwriting competition, which includes four hotel nights, $2,500 in local film incentives, and a camera and lighting package to cheer on the winner. filming a script in Waco.
Films will be screened in the main space of the Hippodrome Theater with panel discussions and other activities being held nearby in downtown Waco.
VIP tickets are currently on sale online on the festival webpage and individual tickets will go on sale once the festival’s film themed blocks are set.