CineMarfa back for 10th edition after years-long hiatus 

CineMarfa, an arts-focused film festival, is back for its 10th edition this year after a pause in programming. Robert Irwin, Jessica Lutz and David Hollander filming “Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling,” which will close out this year’s festival. Photo courtesy of CineMarfa.

MARFA — CineMarfa, an arts-focused film festival established in 2011, is back this weekend after a three-year gap in programming due to the pandemic. The festival will run from Thursday to Sunday, with screenings taking place at the Crowley Theater. 

All events are free and open to the public. Co-director of the organization David Hollander said many of this year’s selected films are biographical in nature and stay true to the event’s origins.

“Our mission has always been to show these specific kinds of films, films that explore the intersection of film and art, banned films, and rarely screened archival films that we have a love for,” said Hollander. 

“For the past 10 years, all of our events have been free and open to all, no tickets required. In that sense, it really is an event that is for the Marfa community,” he added. 

This year’s lineup notably includes a “Made in Marfa” screening featuring the work of local filmmakers, taking place Sunday, June 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Crowley Theater. Those local works include “Real, Happy, Alive & Free,” a short film by Ian Lewis which tells the story of an oil field worker in Odessa who quits his job and features locals Caleb Jagger of Fort Davis and Vince Fuentez of Marfa, and “10 Min. Of Water” by Joe Cashiola, part cooking show, part video confessional and portrait of local artist Harry Crofton and his dog June filmed in the summer of 2020. 

“Made in Marfa” will also include the short film “HEME” by Lea Bouanich, an ethnographic essay about the area’s cattle ranching traditions, and a teaser video for “It Gets Worse,” an animated cartoon series set in Marfa by Nicholas Francis. (A kickstarter to support the series has raised around $10,000 to date.)  

Hollander said while CineMarfa has facilitated workshops and the creation of cinematic works in the area in the past, it was refreshing to see so many films and projects led by locals coming to life recently. 

“It seems actually like this year there’s quite a lot of stuff coming out of Marfa, which is interesting,” said Hollander. “There’s a kind of a growing film scene there so that’s exciting.” 

Following “Made in Marfa” on Sunday is the world premiere of NEURO OSMOSIS, a film by David Fenster about artist and Marfa resident Nick Terry, who also serves on the CineMarfa board of directors. The film explores Terry’s work and its visual relationship to his late father, a neuropathologist. A soundtrack by Terry, Philip Boyd and Rob Mazurek accompanies the film. Fenster and Terry will both be in attendance and Tim Johnson will lead a discussion after the screening. 

The festival will kick off at 4 p.m. on Thursday with Geographies of Solitude, a documentary shot on 16 millimeter film examining the life of environmentalist Zoe Lucas, who has lived on the remote Sable Island for the past 40 years collecting data for biologists. On Saturday, 8 to 9:30 p.m., attendees can see a screening of Keyboard Fantasies, about the youth revival of cult musician Glenn Copeland’s self-released 1986 album.

Two films featuring the artist David Hammons will also be screened on Saturday, The Melt Goes On Forever, a documentary about the enigmatic creator, and Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes: Reflections on Ritual Space, a 1981 film featuring earlier footage of Hammons and several other Black artists working in Los Angeles at the time.

A “LaserDisc lounge” — the only event not taking place at the Crowley, instead occupying the Adobe Room of the Lumberyard from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday — is devoted to the obsolete format popularized in the late ‘70s. Drawing from Hollander’s personal collection, the viewings will include “visual music,” “experimental animation” and more. 

“We’ll be showing a selection of the rarest and strangest LaserDiscs. There’s going to be some other things thrown in VHS and 16 millimeter,” said Hollander. “That’s going to be more of a kind of immersive, lounge-like experience.” 

Closing out the festival will be the Marfa premiere of Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling, a documentary chronicling Irwin’s art career including the creation of the untitled (dawn to dusk) installation on Chinati’s grounds. The film, which originally premiered at Doc NYC this fall, involved Hollander, CineMarfa co-director Jennifer Lane, and locals including Joe Cashiola and Carolyn Pfeiffer.

To view the full schedule of CineMarfa goings on, visit cinemarfa.org/schedule