All guest appearances are subject to change.

Download the Schedule of Events (.PDF)

Friday, February 24

Friday’s activities will be centered in downtown Nacogdoches, as well as at the venerable Lamp-Lite Theater playhouse, which for the past four decades has been the site of live theater performances that have delighted several generations of Nacogdoches lovers of the arts.

The 2017 Nacogdoches Film Festival will kick off on a Friday evening with our annual VIP Reception, which will be held in the heart of downtown at the historic Charles Bright Visitor Center building. VIP Pass holders will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with guest filmmakers in an informal atmosphere before the Friday evening film.

Following the reception, we will all head off to the venerable Lamp-Lite Playhouse for the showing of Two Trains Runnin’, a documentary set in Mississippi during the height of the American civil rights movement about the search for two forgotten blues singers. Texas native Christopher North scored the music for the film, with the screenplay written by Benjamin Hedin. Both have confirmed their attendance at the Nacogdoches Film Festival. Immediately following the screening, there will be a Q&A session involving both guests.

The second film of the evening will be the feature film Camino, a dark comedy about two slackers who steal a cooler looking for booze but, instead, find two human kidneys inside. Camino, the 2015 SFA Film Program summer film project, was directed by SFA graduate student Justin Herring and was completely produced by current SFA students. The annual summer film project is an integral part of Stephen F. Austin State University’s filmmaking program. Immediately following the screening, there will be a Q&A session involving various individuals involved in the making of this film.

Following this evening’s films, we will adjourn to a local night spot for drinks and live blues music.

  • Panel: So You Want To Be An Actor In The Movies?

    1 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Composiing Music for Film

    2 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Shooting a Film in East Texas

    3 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • VIP Reception

    5 p.m.Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Travel to Theater

    6:30 p.m.En route
    Scheduled bus transportation for VIP pass holders.
  • Two Trains Runnin’

    7 p.m.Lamp-Lite Theatre
  • Film Q&A

    8:20 p.m.Lamp-Lite Theatre
    Two Trains Runnin’ Q&A with Benjamin Hedin and Christopher North.
  • Camino

    9 p.m.Lamp-Lite Theatre
  • Film Q&A

    10:30 p.m.Lamp-Lite Theatre
    Camino Q&A with Justin Herring.
  • Travel to CVB

    10:45 p.m.En route
    Scheduled bus transportation for VIP pass holders.
  • After-hours Party

    11 p.m.Downtown Nacogdoches (venue TBA)

Saturday, February 25

Saturday’s activities will be centered on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University and at SFA’s Cole Art Center downtown, where we will pay tribute to Texas’ central role in our nation’s manned space flight program.

Saturday morning and afternoon will be packed with a wide variety of stimulating activities for film aficionados.

Saturday morning’s activities will begin at 10 am at the Cole Art Center in downtown Nacogdoches and will be highlighted by the showing of the best entries in this year’s Short Film competition. After lunch, the 2017 winning film in this year’s Feature Film competition will also be shown at the Cole Art Center.

Meanwhile, on the SFA campus, a series of panel discussions on various aspects of filmmaking will be presented throughout the day, featuring a wide variety of film industry professionals sharing their experience and insights. Typically, topics such as cinematography, acting, editing technique, documentary filmmaking, legal issues, how to get your story to the screen, and how to make a short film on a budget will be included. Each session will have a moderator and will be open for questions from the audience. The final lineup of panels will be published in early January.

During the afternoon, the best of the short film entries will be shown at the Upstage Theater in the College of Fine Arts building, while the top ten entries in the High School short film category will be shown at the theater in the Film Program building. The activities for the high school film attendees will also include a guided tour of the Film Programs.

The afternoon will culminate with a formal awards ceremony for the winners of the Short Film, Feature Film, and the High School competitions. Winners of our three film competitions will be notified on or about February 12, 2017.

On Saturday evening, the venue will shift to the main theater in the student center at Stephen F. Austin State University, where we will show two feature films, followed by Q&A sessions with guest involved in the making of the film.

The first film we will be showing is For All Mankind, a documentary film by two-time Academy Award nominee and Texas A&M graduate Al Reinert that led Director Ron Howard to hire him to write the screenplay for his then-upcoming film project, Apollo 13. In preparation for making this documentary, Reinert watched more than six million feet of footage shot during the Apollo mission and picked out the best. Rather than being a newsy, fact-filled documentary, Reinart focuses on the human aspects of the space flights. The only voices heard in the film are the voices of the astronauts and mission control, and Reinart uses the astronauts' own words from interviews and from the mission footage.

Levie Isaacks, A.S.C., who will also be in attendance, was the cinematographer for this film. The score by Brian Eno underscores the strangeness, wonder, and beauty of the astronauts' experiences, which they were privileged to have for the first time "for all mankind." Following the screening of this film, there will be a Q&A session with Reinert and Isaacks.

Continuing with the space flight theme, we will also be showing the academy Award winning film, Apollo 13, based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission. Astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) find everything going according to plan after leaving Earth's orbit. However, when an oxygen tank explodes, the scheduled moon landing is called off. Subsequent tensions within the crew and numerous technical problems threaten both the astronauts' survival and their safe return to Earth.

Reinert, along with co-writer William Broyles, was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenwriting. In addition to Reinert, dolly grip Jeff “Moose” Howery has confirmed his attendance. Actor Bill Paxton has also been invited. A Q&A session will follow the screening of Apollo 13.

Following the evening’s films, we will adjourn to a local night spot for drinks and live music.

  • Short Film Competition Showing

    10 a.m.Cole Art Center
    (10 a.m.–1 p.m.) This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Acting for Film and Television

    11 a.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Crewing a Film

    12 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • High School—SFA Film Program Tour

    1 p.m.SFA Film Building
    This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Screenwriting and Writing for Filmmakers

    1 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • Short Film Competition Showing

    1 p.m.SFA Upstage Theatre
    (1–4 p.m.) This event is free of charge.
  • High School—Film Showing

    2 p.m.SFA Film Building
    (2–4 p.m.) This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Law for Independent Filmmakers

    2 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • Panel: Making a Documentary Film

    3 p.m.SFA Student Center, 2nd Floor, across from Theater
    This event is free of charge.
  • High School—Travel to Upstage Theatre

    4 p.m.En route
  • Short Film and High School Awards

    4:15 p.m.SFA Upstage Theatre
    (4:15–5 p.m.) This event is free of charge.
  • For All Mankind

    6:30 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Film Q&A

    7:50 p.m.SFA Student Center
    For All Mankind Q&A with Al Reinert and Levie Isaacks.
  • Apollo 13

    8:15 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Film Q&A

    10:35 p.m.SFA Student Center
    Apollo 13 Q&A with Al Reinert and Jeff "Moose" Howery.
  • After Party

    11:30 p.m.Holiday Inn
    VIP passes only.

Sunday, February 26

Sunday’s activities will be centered on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, where we will pay tribute to the ever-increasing importance of television as a medium for filmmakers.

The Film Festival will reconvene at noon on Sunday, when we will be showing the 2017 Nacogdoches Film Festival’s Feature Film contest winner, followed by a Q&A session with the producer/director of the winning film. That will be followed by a tribute to television as an important medium for today’s filmmakers, featuring two popular television series—one from a decade ago and one that is currently running.

We will begin with the popular TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and our special guest will be writer, author, director, producer and actress Amber Benson, best known for her role as Tara Maclay. We plan to show two episodes followed by a Q&A episode with Amber.

Next, we will turn to a currently running series, Hap and Leonard, which is now in production for its second season. Nacogdoches’ own Joe R. Landsdale, who wrote the Hap and Leonard novels, will be on hand, along with actor Jeff Pope, who played Chubb in the series first season. There will be a Q&A session with Joe and Jeff afterwards.

  • Feature Film Winner

    12 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Film Q&A

    1:45 p.m.SFA Student Center
    Q&A with winner of the Feature Film Competition.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Permission pending on rights)

    2 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Permission pending on rights)

    2:45 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Film Q&A

    3:30 p.m.SFA Student Center
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer Q&A with Amber Benson.
  • Hap and Leonard (Permission pending on rights)

    4 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Hap and Leonard (Permission pending on rights)

    4:45 p.m.SFA Student Center
  • Film Q&A

    5:30 p.m.SFA Student Center
    Hap and Leonard Q&A with Joe R. Lansdale and Jeff Pope.
  • Closing Remarks

    5:45 p.m.SFA Student Center