Houston Film Critics Society names five nominees for 2021 Texas film


Brittany S. Hall and Will Brill in ‘Test Pattern’

Photo: Kino Lorber

The Houston Film Critics Society has named the five films that will compete for the organization’s Texas Independent Film Award (TIFA), the annual honor bestowed on the best independent film released that year and set in the Lone Star State.

The nominees, published Thursday, are, in alphabetical order, “Amaraica”, Tim Sparks’ El Paso story about an undocumented immigrant struggling to become a US citizen; “Playing God,” Scott Brignac’s Houston-based comedy-drama about sibling crooks starring Michael McKean, Alan Tudyk and Marc Menchaca; “Red Rocket” by Sean Baker, the story of a porn star who leaves Los Angeles to return to her hometown of Texas City; Shatara Michelle Ford’s “Test Pattern,” in which an interracial couple from Austin is tested for relationship as they roam the city looking for a rape kit; and Ty Roberts’ biographical drama “12 Mighty Orphans,” a look back at the triumphant high school football team at a Great Depression orphanage in Fort Worth.

“This year’s TIFA nominees tell the story of top Texas cinema,” HFCS President Douglas Harris said in a statement.

To be eligible, a movie had to be shot in Texas, released commercially in 2021, and submitted to the HFCS by October 31. The winner will be announced on February 19, 2022 at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center (MATCH) as part of the Society’s awards night honoring the best films of 2021.

Last year’s winner was Diane Paragas’ drama, “Yellow Rose,” which took place on the Austin country scene.

The 40 members of the Houston Film Critics Society work on television, radio, print or online in the Houston and San Antonio markets. For more information, visit www.houstonfilmcritics.com.

  • Cary Darling

    Cary Darling joined the Houston Chronicle in 2017 where he writes on the arts, entertainment, and pop culture, with an emphasis on film and media. A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, he has served as a reporter or editor at the Orange County Register, the Miami Herald, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In addition, he has freelance work for a number of publications including the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Morning News.


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