The Gulf Coast Film Festival Opener

The Gulf Coast Film Festival covers everything from the demise of AstroWorld to the world’s craziest diet to love among science nerds. Festival Director Hal Wixon says, “This year we got 127 films, in every genre. We saw comedy, drama, documentary and animation.” The submissions went through a screening process, with the final jury made up of experienced cinematographers, directors and producers. (“No actors!” laughs Wixon.) Twenty-six films made the final cut and will be screened during the three-day festival. That list will be whittled down even more, to a handful of award winners. “This isn’t preschool, where everybody gets an award just for showing up,” says Wixon. “We give awards only to the films we feel are the very, very best.”

Among those hoping for an award is The Cruiser Houston: Of Pride and Purpose, in which survivors tell the heroic story of the USS Houston. After a series of impressive wins over opposing forces, the 1,000-man Houston eventually sunk in battle during WWII, and its 368 survivors became Japanese POWs. Astrowhirled, a short film about AstroWorld, follows the theme park from its glory days to its demolition. Disastroworld is similarly themed.

Not all the films are focused on Houston or the Gulf Coast. Baby Food Dude is a twist on Super Size Me, with the central character spending 40 days eating nothing but baby food in an attempt to lose weight. And The Spider Experiment chronicles a ten-year-old girl’s quest to impress her science-nerd crush by pretending to collect spider puke, prompting her classmates to devise ingenious ways of making spiders nauseous. Other titles include Afix, The Fabb Four, Identity Crisis and Domain of the Damned.

The festival starts off with a party today at 7 p.m. Villa Capri restaurant, 3713 NASA Parkway.
Fri., Sept. 19, 2008

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Olivia Flores Alvarez