San Antonio Film Festival is back for its 28th year of spotlighting emerging filmmakers. This year, the festival will showcase the work of 220 filmmakers from around the world. The six-day festival will take place Aug. 2-7 at the Radius Center in downtown San Antonio. 

San Antonio Film Festival is a big event for small-time filmmakers aiming to get their start in the industry, said Adam Rocha, executive director of the festival. “The second year we had our show there was a young filmmaker that came to our event. His name is Todd Phillips. He went on to make the movie The Joker.”

Wednesday’s feature film, Deep in the Heart, explores Texas through the eyes of its wildlife. Directed by Austin filmmaker Ben Masters and narrated by Matthew McConaughey, the film aims to show “our ability to destroy, conserve and recover wildlife and the habitat we mutually depend on.”

Also on Wednesday, San Antonio’s own Stephen Snavely shares Think Lovely Thoughts, a film about living with severe depression and anxiety. Snavely’s film is part of the Complexities (Black Voices) shorts block that starts at 3 p.m. Deep in the Heart shows at 7 p.m.

Among the other films featured will be Backstreet to the American Dream, directed by journalist and filmmaker Patricia Nazario and produced by 2012 Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta. The film, showing Wednesday at 3 p.m., follows two food trucks in Los Angeles: El Pescadito, a small seafood truck, and Grill ‘Em All, winners of the first season of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” 

Doña Guillermina Vella Rio, a Mexican immigrant who owns and operates El Pescadito since 1982, demonstrates the struggles of relying solely on the blue-collar immigrant community to support her business, all the while fighting racism in the community and competing with a well-known food truck, said Nazario. 

Along with a full slate of movie screenings, the festival will offer free filmmaker panels Friday and Saturday. Panels include discussions about film school and the business of film, along with conversations with film editor Michael Jablow and animator Tyler Chen.

For access to the entire line-up of films, attendees can purchase a VIP pass for $149. Weekend passes are $99, and day passes are $59.99. Individual movie tickets are $5.99 for matinees and $10.99 for evening films. Tickets can be purchased on the San Antonio Film Festival website.

Ava Flores is a Scripps Howard Foundation Emerging Journalist intern and a rising senior at the International School of the Americas in San Antonio.