Organizing an annual independent film festival is not an easy task, much less is accomplishing this for 19 years. The CineSol Film Festival is dedicated to furthering the art, craft, and business of screenwriters and filmmakers, and recognizing their artistic contributions. This year’s festival will be held from September eight through the sixteenth.
During their May 2012 meeting, the newly formed board of directors discussed the many challenges that threaten the festival. They all agreed the film industry has evolved tremendously, “I can film a short with my IPhone,” said Mario Garza Jr. Members of the board believe that every metropolitan area should have an independent film festival, because it provides an outlet for local artists. “We are not an island,” Garza Jr. emphasized. CineSol serves as a platform for valley artists, to showcase their talent to the rest of the world.
Every month prior to the festival, it is the board’s responsibility to screen and view films which are submitted by movie makers from all over the world. They focus on selecting those that showcase the human story, something hard to find in mega-budget commercial movies available through local theaters. Nobody leaves a CineSol event without a new perspective on life. Whether for the laughs, the tears, the wonder; these films leave an indelible mark on participants. Artists depart with fresh new ideas knowing they too are capable of producing films like these; they leave inspired.
Showcasing independent films is not the only goal of CineSol; challenging local artists to push the limits of their potential is at the core of its mission. “This is why we want to continue organizing events such as the 24 Hour Film Dash and the 36 Hour Film Race.” Said Kevin Shropshire. “The beauty of the film industry,” added Virginia Hayne Gause, “Is that it incorporates all the branches of the arts; musicians, writers, artists, actors, dancers, videographers, photographers, and many others are involved, this is why film festivals are so important.”
Like with every organization, CineSol organizers face many challenges. When asked about the greatest challenges, they all agreed it was recognition and local support. Some do not understand why locals are willing to travel upstate to attend film festivals when there is one here that is just as good. Underwriting and sponsorships are essential, as they are with any project, the CineSol board is aware that losing financial support will definitely jeopardize this event. Yet, CineSol tackled these challenges for the past 19 years, and is ready to continue in a new era. Under the leadership of its chairman, Henry Serrato, the CineSol board, and its focus have broadened; most Rio Grande Valley cities are represented, and CineSol Latino Film Festival is now simply CineSol Film Festival. A good partnership with the Historic Cine El Rey of McAllen, Texas, has been established thanks to the support of board member Bert Guerra.
When asked why this event has lasted for 19 years, Cyndi Sarmiento-Rios said, “It is because of the core of volunteers who will not give up, maybe it is stubbornness but we believe in our festival.” New board members and founding supporters are ready to reach new heights and achieve new goals. Among these goals is to increase attendance, and local underwriting support, in addition to repositioning the festival at the state and national levels by inviting film makers and film lovers from all over the nation. The entire board agrees a celebrity guest would attract more people, and additional networking after-event parties would help, just as they increase the attendance to popular film festivals across the state. Last, but not least, a screen writing competition is in the works.
The board asks readers to send comments, ideas and suggestions in order to solidify CineSol as the premier and original film festival of the Rio Grande Valley. The board is also looking for volunteers to help during their events. To send your comments, please click on the COMMENTS icon at the bottom.
CineSol board members: President; Henry Serrato, Vice President; Cyndi Sarmiento- Rios, Secretary; Susan Smith, Treasurer; Mario Garza Jr., Rafael Cavazos, Mario De Leon, Ric De Anda, Virginia Haynie Gause, Bert Guerra, Chris Hardcastle, Kevin Shropshire, Lupe Gonzales, Joel Rodriguez, Sissi Yado and Nydia Tapia-Gonzales. TO LEARN MORE VISIT http://cinesol.com/Sponsors