San Antonio workers march to commemorate Martin Luther King. Courtesy photo.

San Antonian filmmaker Taylor James Johnson has produced one of three award-winning films that will be featured during the Neighborhood Film Project‘s first-ever screening of contest winners on Wednesday, July 22 at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.  The screening, in partnership with the San Antonio Film Commission, is the first of a Rivard Report series called City Block Cinema.

We’ll announce two more prize-winning submissions as well as an honorable mention for this year’s competition in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.

Johnson’s film, with the straight-forward title “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, San Antonio,” is a mini-documentary that captures what it’s like when “thousands celebrate the life and legacy of MLK.”

Taylor James Johnson
Taylor James Johnson

Footage for this film was collected during the local 2015 MLK march while shooting for a feature-length documentary project called “The Power of a Dream.” He discovered, however, that a moment within a larger documentary wouldn’t do the footage justice.

“It was supposed to be a little chapter in a documentary, but it accidentally became it’s own film,” he said. This “accidental film” is now a Neighborhood Film Project award winner.

Taylor knew from an early age that film would be his passion and career.

“There was never any other option. I remember when I saw ‘The Lion King’ at five years old and thought, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what I want to do.’”

A crowd marches for the cause. Courtesy image.
A crowd marches for the cause. Courtesy image.

He has been making films since before high school, studied film at the North East School of the Arts, and continued his film studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Johnson notes directors such as Werner Herzog and Stanley Kubrick as major influences. He recalled Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” as “the first movie that I thought was more than a movie.”

He is also preparing for a screening of his documentary “Power of a Dream” at the Santikos Palladium IMAX Theater on July 26.

Having local artistic opportunities like the Neighborhood Film Project and their impact on the arts is not lost on Johnson.

“I’ve seen friends compete and win in the Neighborhood Film Project. Most of the greatest short fills that come out of San Antonio are inspired by it because we’re making films about us. No other film festival does that,” he said.

The films are based around local neighborhoods, providing an intimate view into the life experiences of the documentary maker.

Watch Johnson’s and other local directors’ award-winning films at City Block Cinema at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22. Tickets are $10 and available via Brown Paper Tickets.

The one and only Molly Cox, interim President and CEO of SA2020, will serve as the emcee for the night. Libations will be provided by Dor?ol Distilling Company and Alamo Beer Co.

*Featured/top image: San Antonio workers march to commemorate Martin Luther King. Courtesy photo.

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Darian Thomas. Courtesy photo.

Darian Thomas

Darian Thomas was born and raised in San Antonio. He studied at Mannes The New School for Music, and is currently a Music Composition major with a minor in Philosophy at the University of the Incarnate...