Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert once said, “Art is the closest we can come to understanding how a stranger really feels.” A movie is one of the ultimate mediums by which an artist can connect with his or her audience. Whether it’s a short film or a three-hour opus, audiences immerse themselves in the storyteller’s world as a means of entertainment and escape. After a decade of bringing innovative cinema to visitors and residents alike, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival has a stellar lineup of directors, actors, producers and films for its 2019 celebration.

The HCAF19 is a five-day, multi-venue festival that includes over 30 narrative and documentary films, an interactive video installation gallery, live multimedia performances, panel discussions, Meet the Makers workshops, and free outdoor and student field trip screenings. The goal of the HCAF and the Houston Cinema Arts Society is to present innovative films, media installations, and performances that celebrate the artistic process and enrich Houston’s culture and urban vitality. In its relatively short history, HCAF has brought notable guest artists, such as Tilda Swinton, Alex Gibney, Guillermo Arriaga, Isabella Rossellini, John Turturro, Shirley MacLaine, and many others, to the festival.

Notable Festival Highlights Include:

  • Trey Edward Shults, one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars and a native Houstonian, will open HCAF19 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on Thurs., Nov. 14 with a screening of his festival darling “Waves.” Shults will then conduct a post-screening discussion with Houston Cinema Arts Society board member, hip-hop icon, and Rice lecturer Bun B. The evening will be capped off with a lively afterparty — also at the museum — featuring DJ Flash Gordon Parks.

  • The Texas premiere of a new restoration of Euzhan Palcy’s seminal 1983 award-winning masterwork “Sugar Cane Alley” shows at MFAH on Sat., Nov. 16 with the director in attendance.
  • The screening of “A Marriage Story” will take place on Nov. 16. In this film, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach directs this incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, the film centers around a stage director and an actress struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

    Marriage Story
  • The cult 1972 documentary “Black Rodeo” rides into HCAF19 with Director Jeff Kanew, Bri Malandro, and African-American Rodeo riders on Sun., Nov. 17.
  • CineSpace returns for its fifth year with award-winning NASA-inspired short films selected out of hundreds of submissions from across the globe.
  • On Mon., Nov. 18, the Texas premiere of “The Science of Fictions” will screen at Rice Cinema, the Houston premieres of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will be at MFAH, and “Always in Season” will be at The DeLuxe Threatre with director Jacqueline Olive in attendance.

    The Science of Fictions

There are multiple single ticket, same day and pass holder options. Purchasing in advance is recommended as seats do fill up depending on venue’s capacity. To purchase tickets and view the schedule, visit