Hico will be the place to be Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, for the Billy the Kid Film Festival featuring a variety of films — all with an outlaw theme.
William H. “Brushy” Bill Roberts, who claimed late in life to be notorious outlaw gunman Billy the Kid. Roberts was living in Hico at the time of his death in 1950 at age 90.
Veteran actor Matt Clark, who appeared on the big screen in more than 50 feature films as well as in numerous television movies and series, will be on hand as the festival’s special guest. Clark portrayed a sheriff’s deputy in Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 film, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” which featured Jame Coburn (as Garrett), Kris Kristofferson (as Billy) and singer Bob Dylan (as the character “Alias”).
Another longtime entertainer, Erath County resident Ruth Buzzi, will also attend as a special film ambassador and special guest. Buzzi is an actress, comedian and singer who was a fixture on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973), for which she won a Golden Globe Award and had five Emmy nominations.
Hamilton County resident Philip Vasquez — one of the festival’s organizers along with his wife, Luci Digiorgio, and Sue Land, director of Hico’s Billy the Kid Museum — said that the festival began in 2015 and is being “brought back” this year.
“We’ve been planning it for two years,” Vasquez said, calling it a “first-class international film festival” with a focus giving “local” films — made in Texas — an opportunity to be screened.
He noted that more than 35 films were submitted to be shown during this year’s festival, and 25 ultimately passed the selection process.
John Wildman, a filmmaker and publicist at Wildworks Productions in Dallas who is helping to promote the festival, said in an email to the Reporter that “The film festival will bring both an independent filmmaking and Western spirit, with an international scope to Hico, and add a lot of fun on top of that.”
Tarleton State University’s new travel, event and activity management (TEAM) will be co-sponsoring the festival along with the city of Hico.
The festival will feature free writing and film industry workshops on Friday. Author Peggy Freeman will conduct the writing workshop at 2 p.m. Festival Director Ron Hummel will be teaching the film industry workshop.
“This is an event in our backyard,” said Dr. Karley A. Goen, associate professor of communication studies at TSU. “This amazing opportunity will be held in a wonderful venue featuring old relics like the Hico Jail, mercantile stores and the city of Hico golf course.
“The Billy the Kid Film Festival provides opportunities to mix and mingle with film experts, and the community will gain exposure to ideas and topics in the film industry. Also, the community can hear about new film technology and will get the chance to ask questions about cinematography.”
Buzzi will be meeting with All-Access Pass holders for a kickoff party at 6 p.m. Friday at the Silver Spur Winery, next door to the museum. She will speak, and some of her career highlight clips will be shown. Later that evening, Buzzi will be on hand at the Bluebonnett Country Club for a screening of the film, “Iron Orchard.”
Hico’s Billy the Kid Festival is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) event dedicated to supporting film, filmmakers and film education.
Tickets can be purchased either in advance by going online to the festival’s website (billythekidfilmfestival.com), or at the Billy the Kid Museum, at 114 N. Pecan St. in Hico.
A VIP all-access pass costs $100. A single-day pass for all movies costs $50. A ticket to see one movie is $10.
The festival’s movie screening locations will be in the William Connelly Building, across Pecan Street from the Midland Hotel, and in the back room at Flacas Fitness & Brews, 110 Pecan St.
The festival’s awards ceremony will take place Saturday night, spotlighting the best film, best performance, and best local film (within 150 miles).
For more information visit the website or call 817-228-0854.