44th Annual WorldFest — Houston International Film and Video Festival

Yes, when you’re organizing a film festival, you get to watch movies all day long. But according to Todd Hunter of the 44th Annual WorldFest — Houston International Film and Video Festival, there’s lots more to it. Hunter and his team sift through hundreds of submissions; some are films the festival invited, others sent by the director’s government and still others were submitted through open admission — what Hunter calls the wild cards.

The team looks at each feature-length film for at least 15 minutes, tossing out the really bad ones. “We’ve discovered in all these years, that if a film is really, really awful for the first 15 minutes, the hand of God is not going to come down and touch it. I’m talking about garbage — films that have horrible sound, or bad camerawork, or have actors that sound like they’re in high school,” Hunter tells us.

Some 160 films make it into the festival (55 features and 107 shorts). This year the films include Exodus Fall, starring Rosanna Arquette and Jesse James (no, not that Jesse James), about an American family falling apart; Bathory, from Slovakia, about the alleged greatest female mur-derer of all time; and Project Aether, a ghostly thriller by Houstonian Shawn Welling. Along with most of the directors and many actors, Randal Kleiser, the director of Grease, will be in attendance and introduce a sing-along screening of that movie. Opening-night festivities include live music, an Art Car parade and a screening of Exodus Fall. 6 p.m. Through April 17. The AMC Studio 30, 2949 Dunvale. For a full schedule, call 713-965-9955 or visit www.worldfest.org. Prices vary.
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: April 8. Continues through April 17, 2011

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Olivia Flores Alvarez