November 14–18, 2019

The 11th annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival takes place at venues throughout Houston. The MFAH hosts opening night on Thursday, November 14, and subsequent centerpiece screenings, followed by closing night on Monday, November 18.

Visit Houston Cinema Arts Society for the full schedule and ticket information.




Past Events in This Series

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2019, French with English subtitles
Céline Sciamma

An 18th-century (forbidden) love story between two French women: one a bride-to-be, and the other an artist hired to paint a portrait of the engaged woman.

Black Rodeo

Drew Kanew

A documentary film about the rodeo held at the Triborough Stadium, Randall's Island, New York.

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

Sophie Huber

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes explores the unique vision of the iconic record label through archival footage and conversations with Blue Note artists.

Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star in this incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Sugar Cane Alley

1983, French with English subtitles
Euzhan Palcy

On a Caribbean island under French colonial rule, a young boy comes of age in 1931 under the guidance of his grandmother.

Fear No Gumbo

Kimberly Rivers-Roberts

A rare behind-the-scenes look at how the people of New Orleans recovered from the nation’s worst man-made disaster: Hurricane Katrina.

Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus

2018, German with English subtitles
Niels Bolbrinker and Thomas Tielisch

Spirited documentary celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus art movement.

A Hidden Life

Terrence Malick

Docudrama about Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis during World War II.


2018, Spanish with English subtitles
Icíar Bollaín

A biography of Carlos Acosta, the first black dancer to be cast in some of the most prestigious ballet roles, with the Houston Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London.


Trey Edward Schults

In South Florida, members of an African American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. 

Green Book

Peter Farrelly

Starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, Green Book is inspired by the true story of a friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason–Dixon Line.

Moving Stories

Rob Fruchtman

Dancers from Dancing to Connect travel the globe to teach youth who have experienced war, poverty, sexual violence, extreme prejudice, and severe trauma how to express their feelings and stories through dance.


Fred Barney Taylor

Presented by Jonathan Lethem and Fred Barney Taylor, who lead a post-film Q&A
This portrait of Jonathan Lethem, recognized as one of America’s foremost contemporary writers (Motherless Brooklyn; Fortress of Solitude), features those who have impacted the writer’s life.

The Ancient Law (Das alte gesetz)

1923, Silent with live musical accompaniment
Ewald Andre Dupont

Live musical accompaniment: Donald Sosin & Alicia Svigals
A new restoration of an uncovered masterpiece marks the first time that a version of the lost 1920s film is shown in its original length, with digitally restored colorization.

Vox Lux

Brady Corbet

A teen girl who suffers a violent catastrophe becomes a famous musician and, as an adult, must navigate the scandals and tragedies of pop stardom while raising a teen daughter of her own. Starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Raffey Cassidy, with original songs composed by Sia.

The Price of Everything

Nathaniel Kahn

Presented by director Nathaniel Kahn and producer Jennifer Stockman, who lead a post-film Q&A
With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors, and auction houses, this documentary demystifies the hidden world of contemporary art.

Maria by Callas

Tom Volf

The first film to tell the life story of Maria Callas, the legendary Greek/American opera singer, in her own words: through performances, television interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters, and unpublished memoirs.


Steve McQueen

Widows (Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez) with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities join forces. Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), who cowrote the screenplay with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl).

Bathtubs Over Broadway

Dava Whisenant

Presented by director Dava Whisenant and writer Steve Young, who lead a post-film Q&A
On a quest to uncover forgotten archives of comedy recordings, comedy writer Steve Young (Late Show with David Letterman) tracks down rare albums; unearths unseen footage; and rediscovers composers and performers.

I, Tonya

Craig Gillespie

Based on unbelievable—but true—events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale abouat American figure skater Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history.

Bomb City


Jameson Brooks

A conflict at an Amarillo high school ignites a series of hostile encounters, culminating in one of the most controversial hate crimes in modern American culture. Based on a true story.
In person: Director Jameson Brooks

Ash: The Art of Wayne Gilbert


Wayne Slaten

This look at Houston-based artist Wayne Gilbert, who uses cremated human remains in his work, features noted locals including Catherine Anspon, Bill Arning, Nick Flynn, Toby Kamps, John Lienhard, and Dan Workman. Also screening: the short film “​Jesse Lott: Artist in Action.”

No Maps on My Taps

George T. Nierenberg

A look at the exhilarating landmark film No Maps on My Taps, which helped revitalize the popularity of tap dancing.
In person: Director George T. Nierenberg

Call Me by Your Name

Luca Guadagnino

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet star in a sensual and transcendent tale of first love set in sun-drenched Italy during the summer of 1983.

The Ballad of Lefty Brown


Jared Moshé

A coming-of-age tale about a 63-year-old man, The Ballad of Lefty Brown stars Bill Pullman and Peter Fonda.

Through the Repellent Fence

Sam Wainwright Douglas

This documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the process of art collective Postcommodity: three Native American artists who “put land art in a tribal context” as they work on a two-mile-long artwork along the U.S.–Mexico border.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh

When months pass without an arrest in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move: painting three signs with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), revered chief of police in the town of Ebbing. 

Love, Cecil

Lisa Immordino Vreeland

This engaging documentary profiles the celebrated—and sometimes controversial—photographer/costume designer Cecil Beaton. A book signing follows. In person: Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland

La La Land

Damian Chazelle

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts.

Tender Mercies

Bruce Beresford

Guest: script supervisor Anne Rapp Shot largely in Waxahatchie, Texas, and based on an original screenplay by Horton Foote, Tender Mercies opened to little fanfare and went on to draw five Oscar nominations—including wins for Foote and lead actor Robert Duvall.

Wangechi Mutu’s “The End of carrying All”


Filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu joins Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art and special projects, in responding to the MFAH installation of Wangechi Mutu’s The End of carrying All.

AFI Directing Workshop for Women: Screening and Panel Discussion


Special guests: Tessa Blake, Jean Lee, Dime Davis, and the women directors of HCAF16 Three short films from the recent AFI Conservatory Directing Workshops for Women are screened, followed by a panel discussion.


Jim Jarmusch

Guest: cinematographer Frederick Elmes In Jim Jarmusch’s latest feature film, Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Paterson’s life is routine, but the life of his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), is ever-changing.


2016, in Spanish and French with English subtitles
Pablo Larraín

Director Pablo Larraín (JackieNoTony Manero) weaves an engrossing metafictional fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda. Pushing the limits of biography, Larraín offers a stimulating and sometimes startling rumination on the split that can exist between the person and the persona, the man and the artist.

Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table


Lislie Iwerks

Guest: director Leslie Iwerks This fascinating documentary details Ella Brennan’s enormous impact on the restaurant industry, as she pushed Creole dining into the mainstream and created a lasting influence on how Americans eat and drink.

Blue Velvet

David Lynch

Post-film discussion featuring cinematographer Frederick Elmes, moderated by Houston rapper Bun B In David Lynch’s cult classic, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) is drawn into a dangerous drama being played out between lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).


Pablo Larraín

Jackie is a searing and intimate portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman) during one of the most important and tragic moments in American history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

Honky Tonk Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke

Sam Wainwright Douglas and Brenda Mitchell

Special guests: filmmakers Sam Douglas and Brenda Mitchell; James and Annetta White, owners of the Broken Spoke; and musician Dale Watson The film pays homage to a legendary watering hole while also revealing a universal story about what it takes to maintain a family business in our increasingly corporate-driven society.

I Dream Too Much


Katie Cokinos

With director Katie Cokinos and producer Richard Linklater After speeding through college, Dora finds herself back at home, unemployed, and scheming to travel abroad with a friend. When financial reality and her distressingly practical mother keep Dora grounded in frigid New Jersey, her only option is to take the Law School Aptitude Test and resign herself to several more years of mind-numbing studies. Opportunity knocks when Dora’s great aunt Vera (played luminously by Diane Ladd) breaks her foot, and Dora[…]

The Jones Family Will Make a Way


Alan Berg, Lauren Sanders, and Jason Wehling

With filmmaker Alan Berg and a post-screening performance by the Jones Family Singers For 30 years, Bishop Fred Jones and his family—formerly Austin-based, now Houston-based—have performed on the Southern gospel circuit, largely unseen by those outside the Pentecostal faith. When the bishop, despite objections from many within his faith, decides to take his family’s musical ministry outside the church, he unexpectedly connects with Michael Corcoran, a jaded, atheistic rock critic who also happens to be a gospel historian. To Corcoran,[…]

Paul Taylor: Creative Domain


Kate Geis

Among the most acclaimed choreographers in American history, Paul Taylor has been reinventing the roles of music, movement, and theme in dance for nearly 60 years. In that time, he has offered only glimpses into his creative process. Kate Geis’ brilliant portrait is a rare in-depth documentation of how he creates a single dance. Through the lens of the award-winning cinematographer Tom Hurwitz, we see Paul’s non-verbal communication with his dancers. Geis begins with Taylor dancing in his youth, describing[…]



Trey Edward Shults

With Trey Edward Shults, Krisha Fairchild, and others Following a prolonged battle with addiction and self-destruction, Krisha returns for a Thanksgiving visit to the family she abandoned. Eager at first to fit in, Krisha throws herself into atoning for her past. However, what begins as a moving testament to the family’s capacity to forgive soon spirals into a deluge of emotional bloodletting, as old wounds are torn open, and resentments are laid bare. A Houston native, Shults began his career[…]

House Party


Reginald Hudlin

With Kid 'n Play Kid 'n Play defined a generation of teenage schemers and style icons. In this classic 1990s teen film, Play (Christopher Martin) is planning the house party to end all house parties while his parents are out of town. Play's best friend, Kid (Christopher Reid), wants to go more than anything, knowing that Sydney, the hottest girl in school, is sure to be there. So when Kid is grounded after getting into a fight at school, he[…]

Satellite Beach


Luke Wilson and Andrew Wilson

With Luke Wilson and Andrew Wilson Satellite Beach follows the unique journey of the Endeavour space shuttle as it travels through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center, and the final move of the Atlantis space shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center. Warren Flowers (Luke Wilson), a devoted and unlikely shuttle manager, navigates the missions on his own accord, while the citizens, reporters, and officials are perplexed by his involvement. Satellite Beach won Best Live Action Short[…]

CineSpace: The Screening and Awards Presentation

2015, various languages


Awards presentation and screening with astronaut Don Pettit and other guests The 16 short film finalists of the first annual CineSpace competition, a collaborative project of Houston Cinema Arts Society and NASA, will be screened tonight, supplemented by the announcement of the three top winners selected by filmmaker Richard Linklater. Entries are competing for a total of $26,000 in prizes. Films containing NASA-captured imagery collected throughout the agency’s 50-year history were judged on creativity, innovation, and attention to detail –[…]

Apollo 13

Ron Howard

With screenwriters William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert and author Jeffrey Kluger Apollo 13 details the unbelievable true story of the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. While en route to complete America’s third Moon landing, an on-board explosion effectively wiped out the oxygen supply and electrical power. NASA flight controllers were forced to abort the mission and figure out how to get three astronauts, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise home safely. Purchase tickets here.

A Year in Space


This is a free screening.  All seats are first come first serve. With producers Jonathan Woods and Jeffrey Kluger Astronaut Scott Kelly is more than half way through a record-setting one-year stay aboard the International Space Station—part of an ambitious experiment to determine if humanity’s grand dreams of traveling to Mars can ever be achieved. TIME’s A Year in Space project accompanies Kelly for his entire ride, releasing ten web episodes about his journey. With unprecedented access, we will follow[…]

Landfill Harmonic


Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley

Free screening! All seats first come, first served. Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group who live next to one of South America's largest landfills. This unlikely orchestra plays music using instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight.

Janis: Little Girl Blue


Amy Berg

With director Amy Berg and moderator Bun B With Janis: Little Girl Blue, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) examines singer Janis Joplin’s story for the first time on film, presenting an intimate and insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist. With massive hits including “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Piece of My Heart,” and such classic albums as Cheap Thrills and Pearl, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joplin was one of[…]

Houston Cinema Arts Festival


November 12–16, 2014 The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is once again a venue for the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, which marks its sixth anniversary in 2014. Highlights Opening night features the Texas premiere of A Midsummer Night's Dream, followed by a conversation with director Julie Taymor, known for the innovative choreography in Broadway's The Lion King and for directing the films Across the Universe, Frida, The Tempest, and Titus. Legendary filmmaker James Ivory receives the 2014 Levantine Entertainment Award and introduces two classic Merchant[…]

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story


Al Reinert

Truth can be more surreal than fiction, and An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story proves it. Wrongly convicted in 1986 for the brutal murder of his wife, Morton spent 25 years in Texas prisons before Houston attorney John Raley and members of the New York-based The Innocence Project won the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene that ultimately exonerated him and identified the real killer. Upon his release in 2011, Morton riveted the world with[…]

Houston Ballet: Breaking Boundaries


John Carrithers

The documentary chronicles the history of the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet, from the early impact of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1930s and 40s in inculcating a love of dance among Houstonians, to the determination and perseverance of a handful of Houston’s founding families, to the Houston Ballet’s place today as the fourth largest ballet company in America with a facility unmatched in the United States. The documentary captures the voices of many key players who helped[…]

Dazed and Confused


Richard Linklater

RICHARD LINKLATER RECEIVES LEVANTINE CINEMA ARTS AWARD Award presentation is followed by a 20th-anniversary screening of Dazed and Confused Richard Linklater, born in Houston and raised in Huntsville, has been a supporter of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival since its inception. He attended the festival in 2009 with Me and Orson Welles and brought his friend Ethan Hawke to join him in presenting Tape in 2011. Linklater receives the 2013 Levantine Award amidst a career renaissance with this year's release of one of his[…]

Sneak Preview of a New Film Starring Thomas Haden Church


With special guest actor Thomas Haden Church, director Megan Griffiths, and writer/producer Emily Wachtel. We can’t tell you the title of this upcoming release, but we can say it features an inventive and hilarious performance by Thomas Haden Church (Sideways; Broken Trail). Come see this sneak preview in advance of its U.S. premiere and meet Thomas Haden Church, director Megan Griffiths, and writer/producer Emily Wachtel, who will engage in a post-film discussion with Variety and Culturemap film critic Joe Leydon.[…]

The Yellow Ticket

1918, silent with live musical accompaniment

Victor Janson, Paul L. Stein, Eugen Illés

Enjoy a live multimedia event! ​Reanimating a silent cinematic classic starring famed Polish actress Pola Negri, The Yellow Ticket  features a new score by violinist Alicia Svigals. Negri embodies a woman’s struggle to overcome adversity in a story of secret identities, heroic measures, and triumphant love. Remarkably progressive for its time, the film explores anti-Semitism, gender bias, and human trafficking in Imperialist Russia.

Chasing Shakespeare


Norry Niven

Presented as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival field trip program. Pass holders welcome, but seating not guaranteed. Please contact if you plan to attend. This enchanting love story about a young Native American woman’s search for her destiny, and her widower husband’s attempts to reunite with her after her death, is an emotional and dreamlike experience not to be missed. In flashbacks, Chasing Shakespeare recounts the beginning, end, and rebirth of a love affair between William (Danny Glover) and[…]

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel


Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Following the sceening, stay for a conversation with the film's director, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, and Lynn Wyatt, founding chair of the MFAH film committee. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing, and culture forever. During Diana Vreeland’s 50-year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie[…]

Mugaritz BSO


Felipe Ugarte and Juantxo Sardón

Mugaritz restaurant in Errenteria, Spain, was voted the fourth best in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2008. Its chef, Andoni Luis Aduriz, has a self-described “techno-emotional” approach to cuisine. For three years, musician Felipe Ugarte studied Aduriz’s culinary formulas. Ugarte transforms his thorough knowledge about the history, technique, philosophy, ingredients, and presentation of each dish into a song that reflects those same aspirations through music. The results are captured in this stunning film exploring the avant-garde in both fields.[…]

A Simple Life

2011, Chinese with English subtitles

Ann Hui

In person: Roger Lee, screenwriter and producer A Simple Life, winner of the five top Hong Kong Film Awards (best picture, actor, actress, director, and screenplay), is the latest offering from veteran director Ann Hui. Moving and heartfelt, the film centers on the bond between servant Ah Tao (Deanie Ip), who has served the Leung family for more than 60 years, and film producer Roger (Andy Lau), the only Leung family member still living in Hong Kong. When Ah Tao’s health[…]

Silver Linings Playbook


David O. Russell

Based on Matthew Quick’s novel, Silver Linings Playbook is a smart and hilarious offering from the unconventional and talented David O. Russell, director of Three Kings and The Fighter. In a sincere and nuanced performance, Bradley Cooper is Pat, who suffers a personal and professional meltdown that lands him in a state mental institution for eight months. Released and living back at his parents’ home without a job, wife, or life, he starts over with their help and that of[…]

Caesar Must Die

2012, Italian with English subtitles

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani

Winner of the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear, Caesar Must Die is the latest offering from filmmaking brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Inventive and beautifully composed, the film centers on a prison production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Like many films of its kind, Caesar Must Die takes the audience from auditions to rehearsals to the actual performance on stage. What sets the cast of this play apart, however, is that it consists entirely of inmates from Rebibbia Prison in Rome. The[…]

A Suitcase Full of Chocolate


Lincoln Mayorga

With piano performance by director Lincoln Mayorga When Hitler invaded Austria in 1938, a prize-winning young Jewish pianist was forced to abandon her musical studies in Vienna and return to her home in Latvia. There, she was arrested and sent to a Soviet labor camp, where she endured seven years of hunger and cold. Thirty years in the making, A Suitcase Full of Chocolate recounts the extraordinary story of Sofia Cosma, a brilliant pianist whose career was suppressed by the[…]

Love, Marilyn


Liz Garbus

In Person: Director Liz Garbus Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus draws upon never-before-seen personal correspondence, diary entries, and letters to reveal an unknown Marilyn Monroe. The person who emerges, writes Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman, is “not the walking sex bomb, or the dysfunctionally insecure child-woman, either (though she could, on occasions, be both), but a dauntingly complex woman who was far more ambitious than she’s commonly given credit for, who rigorously achieved everything that she did.” Garbus works with acclaimed[…]