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Los Angeles based filmmaker Chad Matthews is returning to his Texas roots and bringing Hollywood with him for the first ever Hill Country Film Festival, set for April 22-24, 2010.

Hill Country Film Festival takes place at the Stagecoach Theater April 22-24, 2010. Dates, times, screening schedule, film selections, and advance tickets are all available online at www.hillcountryff.com.

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Hollywood goes Hill Country

by Phil Houseal
April 21, 2010


The glamour and glitz of Hollywood are coming to the Hill Country (Hillywood?) next week for the first ever Hill Country Film Festival.

The spark started as a sparkle in the artistic eye of Chad Matthews, a Los Angeles based actor, writer, and producer who just happened to spend all of his “growing up” summers with his grandparents in Fredericksburg.

The memories of the people, the scenery, the charm and style stayed with him as he established his movie cred over 10 years in California.

“Fredericksburg is kind of like my second home,” he said during a phone call from the West Coast. “As I was getting some of my short films into festivals, I always had thoughts of Fredericksburg in the back of my head. Such a charming town would be ideal for a festival - it has the people and resources to handle it.”

On one of his recent visits he happened to visit the Stagecoach Theater. “When I saw that for the first time, I was surprised how nice a venue it is. I thought - I have to do this.”

For those of us who have never tread the red carpet or bathed in the spotlights, or been to a film festival for that matter, well... don’t fret. This premiere will be very accessible.

According to Matthews, the event will start small, with three nights and two days of showing films. The full days will consist of five individual blocks of screenings. Each screening comprises either one full-length feature or a combination of several short films.

The Inheritance of War covers the experience of American soldiers in the Bataan death march in the Philippines. There is a “charming” short film from Australia that is a romantic story about what happens when Cupid shoots himself with the arrow of love. There will also be serious dramas, art films, and music videos. Some of the stars on screen include Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile), Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210), and Tom Skerrit (Top Gun).

Matthews promises one “sneak peek” film - a screening that hasn’t been seen by anyone outside of Hollywood. “What this particular filmmaker is offering us is that he wants to screen his film in Texas and see how the audience responds to it,” Matthews said. “The director is going to fly in for it and do a Q & A afterwards to get the audience reaction. It is a work in progress.”

The festival is about more than what’s showing on screen. This event is designed to support the independent filmmaker.

“We are going to have filmmakers from Texas, and 25% of our showings are Texas films. I am excited about meeting directors from Dallas and Austin. It is a tough struggle to be an independent filmmaker. We just want to meet everyone, get together, and cheer each other on.”

The public is definitely invited to be a part of the cast of thousands. You have several options: viewers can walk up and buy a ticket for an individual block of screenings for $10; buy a day pass to see all screenings for $40; or get the interactive all-access festival badge for $75 that gets you into every screening, lets you mingle with all filmmakers, and even admits you to the after-parties.

“We think it’s a great value,” Matthews said. “Other festivals charge hundreds of dollars for all-access passes. This is open to everyone. We hope to attract people from Austin, San Antonio, and Fredericksburg to come in and enjoy some films.”

Matthews also knows visitors will come for at least one other reason.

“I thought outside guests would really enjoy their time here.” He expects to attract 15 to 18 filmmakers, with some flying in from Los Angeles and elsewhere. “When you go to our festival you are taking a trip and experiencing more than just the film aspect - you are experiencing the town! We are fortunate to be situated in Fredericksburg.”

 “This combination of some really interesting and special films, along with the city of Fredericksburg is just a win-win situation. We hope to grow into what we consider a destination film festival, and hopefully turn it into a really special Texas event.”