San Antonio film festival will feature movie starring McAllen native Raúl Castillo


A film starring Rio Grande Valley native Raúl Castillo will open the 40th annual CineFestival next month.

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center recently announced the film lineup for the nonprofit’s event, sponsored by the San Antonio Film Commission.

This year’s festival will take place July 5 to 8 with the theme Hecho En Tejas.

Of the films featured in this year’s lineup, 41 of the films were shot in Texas or directed by Texas filmmakers with 23 of the films directed by San Antonio filmmakers or San Antonio natives. The four-day Latino film festival will feature 56 films from Latino artists, including work from local director Jesse Borrego.

Now celebrating its 40th year, CineFestival is the longest-running Latino film festival in the country.

“We are extremely proud to be celebrating 40 years of CineFestival and for that reason we have prepared a spectacular program,” said Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Executive Director, Cristina Balli. “This 40th anniversary edition celebrates the Tejano film community and honors the CineFestival familia of the past.”

“We the Animals,” directed by Jeremiah Zagar, will open the festival on July 5 at the Guadalupe Theater. The festival’s opening night will serve as the Texas premier for the film, which also screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“We the Animals” follows three brothers, Manny, Joel, and Jonah, as they try to survive growing up in the shadow of their parents’ volatile relationship. The film documents the brothers’ journeys to cope with their difficult childhood specifically Jonah, who finds solace in a world all his own.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the NEXT Innovator Award. The screenplay was adapted from Justin Torres’ celebrated novel, “We the Animals,” by Dan Kitrosser and Jeremiah Zagar.

“We the Animals” is a visceral coming-of-age story propelled by elements of magical realism, unbelievable animated sequences, and strikingly layered performances from its astounding cast, anchored by CineFestival alum actor Castillo. Castillo, a McAllen native, will attend the opening night of the festival and be available for on-site media interviews.

“Summer 1993,” directed by Carla Simón, will close out the festival on July 8 at the Guadalupe Theater. The autobiographical film follows Frida, a young girl that must come to terms with her mother’s recent death as she leaves her life in Barcelona to live with family in the countryside. The film has been praised for its representation of a child growing up in an adult world and the stellar performances from the film’s young stars. “Summer 1993” won Goya Awards for Best New Director, Best New Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

In addition to the opening and closing films, CineFestival will feature “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name” directed by Abner Benaim on Saturday, July 7. The documentary film tells the story of the legendary salsa musician, actor, and political activist as he comes to terms with his legacy and his future aspirations. “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name” premiered at South By Southwest in Austin where it won the Audience Award in the 24 Beats Per Second section.

CineFestival is celebrating its 40th anniversary with several after parties and events. More details will be announced soon.

Past festivals have hosted Guillermo Del Toro, Gina Rodriguez, Esai Morales, and Benjamin Bratt, among others.

The festival has been an important cultural staple in the community and this year’s festival coincides with the city’s Tricentennial anniversary as well as the Guadalupe Theater’s 76th anniversary.

The Guadalupe Theater is located at 1301 Guadalupe St. in San Antonio. For more information, visit

Tickets can be purchased online at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s website. Ticket options include: VIP badge for $80; festival badge for $40; premium ticket for $25; regular ticket for $10; all other screenings for $8; and after party ticket for $15.