Young filmmakers celebrate San Antonio’s culture, heritage with #FilmSA contest

Winners of contest were announced on May 1

SAN ANTONIO – The 2021 #FilmSA contest asked young filmmakers to show how San Antonio has continued to celebrate its heritage and culture amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture’s Film Commission division and the World Heritage Office announced the winners during a virtual ceremony streamed on Facebook May 1.

Kyle Ward, a sophomore at John Marshall High School, won first place in the 14 to 17 age group with his film “San Antonio Strong. The film focuses on how the city is welcoming back visitors in a safe way.

San Antonio is massive,” Ward said. ”We’re one of the biggest cities in the United States, but not everyone knows what we are and who we are and what our city looks like. Truly that’s what I wanted to show.”

The film, “Maria’s Cafe: A Small Business In A Big World” also won the contest in the 18 to 21 age group. It was created by Evan Materne and Amadeo Rivas, both graduates of San Antonio’s North East School of the Arts.

Rivas, now a student at Our Lady of the Lake University, came up with the idea for the film.

“I was just trying to make them be heard,” Rivas said. “They’ve been suffering because of the pandemic and I felt like, you know, they didn’t need to suffer.”

Materne, now a student at University of Texas at Austin, said the film brought a lot of business to Maria’s Cafe.

“Being able to help out their small business in that way is really cool, especially during the pandemic,” Materne said.

“It’s restaurants like Maria’s Cafe that I really feel are the heart of San Antonio. Not stuff, like, the Pearl,” Rivas said. “Restaurants and little places that really only San Antonians know about, I feel, are the heart and soul of San Antonio.”

The winners of both categories received $1,000. Materne and Rivas will be splitting the award for their film. All three winners say they plan to invest the money in their future.

“I’m looking at getting another computer and just reinvesting it back into production,” Ward said.

“I plan to reinvest it into film equipment, specifically sound stuff, because I’m trying to get into doing professional sound recording,” Materne said.

“Right now, I’m working on this television pilot that takes place in San Antonio in the 90′s and I’m going to put [the money] towards that,” Rivas said.

“San Antonio Strong” and “Maria’s Cafe: A Small Business In A Big World” are being entered into an international video production competition by the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Winners from that contest will get additional cash prizes and recognition at the organization’s virtual general assembly taking place in September.

About the Author

Oriana Cervantez is the producer of Good Morning San Antonio at 9 a.m. and has been with KSAT since May 2018. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to North Texas when she was 14 years old. She also co-hosts “Will you accept this vlog?,” a series recapping episodes of “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.”

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