The 16th annual Rockport Film Festival, a joint venture of the Rockport Center for the Arts and the Rotary Club of Rockport, will be held November 10–13 at the new Rockport Conference Center (ROCC). This is the inaugural event for the ROCC, a highlight of the brand-new $12.5 million Rockport Center for the Arts complex. This campus will serve as a replacement for a facility that was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Glasstire covered the progress of the campus project last month.
“This space is in the heart of downtown Rockport and features state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities. In such a venue, the Rockport Film Festival can grow and be the best it can be,” said festival managing director Elena Rodriguez in a press release.
On the festival website’s FAQs page, the question of why Rockport needs a film festival is answered:
Our goals are to enrich an audience already supportive of the arts by providing a window onto the world of independent cinema, and to encourage cultural tourism and economic impact by providing new and innovative event programming for our area. Being a community known for its mix of art and environment, we hope the Rockport Film Festival will reach audiences local, regional and statewide during what is typically an off-season for tourism in our community. These experiences—exposure to one-of-a-kind film programming, interaction and dialogue with filmmakers, and connecting the unique position of Rockport to the diverse world of filmmaking—have created a hidden gem that is poised to expand significantly with continued support.
The festival, which bills itself as, “always international in scope, but local in flavor,” will feature at least seven full-length films and 33 shorts. Of these, 19 are from Texas filmmakers and six are international entries. The shorts will be presented in blocks of between six to eight films, running around 90 minutes in total.
A press release for the festival points out that the featured films were all “independently produced outside of the Hollywood studio system, meaning they are privately financed projects that tend to be smaller in scale and budget.” This year’s festival will kick off on the evening of Thursday, November 10 with a screening of Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story. A feature-length nature documentary directed by Ben Masters and narrated by Matthew McConaughey, Deep in the Heart was celebrated by Austin Chronicle film critic Richard Whittaker as “an extraordinary document of the Lone Star State’s wildlife, and a remarkable call to action.”
Tickets for the event are now available on the festival’s website. Prices range from $10 for an individual screening to $125 for a VIP package. Events on Sunday, November 13 are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. A complete schedule of the festival’s events, which also include a variety of social gatherings, can be found here.