CineMarfa Film Festival, Focus on Experience

Returning for its ninth year, this weekend’s CineMarfa Film Festival brings rarely screened, artist-made cinema to light in Far West Texas. 

Published May 1, 2019

Positioned between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, Marfa is a small artsy town surrounded by desert and mountains, and miles from everywhere. Far away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Marfa is a mecca for minimalist artand became the perfect escape for Film Festival co-directors David Hollander and Jennifer Lane.

The CineMarfa film festival returns to Marfa for its ninth continuous year of innovative programming, dedicated to bringing rarely screened, artist-made cinema to light in Far West Texas. Photo courtesy CineMarfa Film Festival

After moving to Texas from California, the husband and wife duo co-founded CineMarfa in 2011 in an effort to promote visual artists and the culture of film and filmmaking in what had been–no pun intended–a desert for the artform.. 

CineMarfa creates different overlapping themes and motifs every year. This year’s theme centers around ‘experience’ and begins with a sound healing circle to celebrate, engage and ultimately transform the participants.

The 2019 festival will screen Peter Bo Rappmund and Adam R. Levine’s new film ‘Communion Los Angeles,’ about an experiential exploration of California’s oldest freeway as it courses from the mountains to the ocean, defining and dividing the communities it is designed to serve. Photo courtesy CineMarfa Film Festival

The film screenings will be held in Marfa’s intimate and historic Crowley Theater, a rare setting for a rare archive of  experimental, documentary and narrative cinema. 

One of the many gems awaiting the audience is the 1963 feature films ‘The Leopard’ starring Burt Lancaster. The film screening will honor accomplished film producer Carolyn Pfeiffer. The Marfa resident will discuss her illustrious career in the film business, from working in Rome with acclaimed Italian directors Luchino Visconti and Federico Fellini, to founding Island Alive and Alive Films, and producing dozens of films across several decades.

The CineMarfa Film Festival brings an eclectic blend of independent artists and mainstream creators to a small West Texas town with a resident population less  than 2,000. For Marfa, whose motto is “Tough to get to. Tougher to explain,” the isolated landscape is transformed into an arena of creative artistry and brilliant filmdom.  

Contributing to Marfa’s international reputation in the art world and considered site-specific pop art, Prada Marfa was designed by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset in 2005. Modeled after a Prada boutique, this world-renowned display has an inaccessible interior that includes luxury goods from Prada’s 2005 Fall Collection. Photo courtesy Afrodita Jam on Facebook.

CineMarfa is a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting local and visiting filmmakers, sponsoring year-round film screenings, providing educational opportunities for local youth and adults to make and present films, and producing the annual festival. 

All festival screenings and events are open to the public and offered free of charge.

The 2019 CineMarfa Film Festival runs May 2-5.


Cover: ‘The Leopard’ courtesy CineMarfa Film Festival

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.

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