The Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Film Festivals

8. Señorita Cinema
Rice Media Center

The brain child of award winning filmmaker and founder Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Señorita Cinema Festival is the very first all-Latina film showcase in the state of Texas. Last year's festival featured Delusions of Grandeur with director Iris Almaraz in attendance (she also made her special sangria for the opening reception), Homebound with director Fanny Veliz in attendance, and Houston's first ever poet laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda as guest presenter.

The Queen of Versailles
7. ArCH Film Festival
Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol

The 2013 ArCH Film Festival had a Boom and Bust theme last August, something Houston knows a little bit about. The jury-selected films focused on stories of excess and crisis, such as Lauren Greenfield's feature-length 2012 documentary Queen of Versailles about a family living in a 90,000 square foot mansion (that's not a typo - 90,000) and Sam Green and Carrie Lozano's 10 minute 2009 The World's Largest Shopping Mall which chronicled the current state of the New South China Mall, a seven million square foot shopping center that has stood empty since it was built in 2005 by Chinese billionaire Alex Hu Guirong.

7. Jewish Film Festival
Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston

The 10th Annual Houston Jewish Film Festival is set for early March, 2014 and the line-up is, as always, diverse. We're looking forward to The Real Inglorious Bastards (you didn't think George Clooney made that up all by himself, did you?), Wagner's Jews and An American Tail.

Horror film legend Bruce Campbell gives director Mark Blitch the 2011 Grand Prize for his short, The Code
6. SplatterFest
Alamo Drafthouse, Mason Road

We get our annual fill of gore, guts (and giggles) at SplatterFest. It's a short film competition with filmmakers getting just one weekend to write, shoot and edit a horror short.

There were 33 entries in 2013, ranging from My So Called Afterlife to Zombie Family: A Day in the Death. There was also Satan Cherry, The Crucifixion and Space Drugs. Some were more giggle worthy than scary, but all's fair in love and horror, right?

4. Latin Wave
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

There are two things we really like about Latin Wave. One, the films. Two, the filmmakers. The films are always the latest works from cutting edge Latin American directors, writers and actors. Many selections anticipate the "next big thing" in a particular country's cinema, in terms of both talent and themes. And Latin Wave, as with most of the festivals that made our list, does a great job bringing in lots of filmmakers every year. Latin Wave 9 is set for May1 to 4, 2014.

Paraguay's 7 Cajas (7 Boxes), (seen above) directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori, written by Juan Carlos Maneglia, was screened at the Latin Wave 8 in 2013.

This story continues on the next page.

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Murder by the Book

2342 Bissonnet, Houston, TX

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