The 10th-annual Boomtown Film & Music Festival, which showcases local musical acts and independent and international films in venues across Beaumont, will begin today and continue through Sunday.

Weekend passes are $30, with VIP tickets for $50, and single-day tickets are available. Weekend passes for students are $18 and may be purchased on the Boomtown Festival website.

“This year’s festival is not just bigger, better and longer, but it is also more accessible with activities taking place at fewer venues,” festival director Chase Kiker said. “Surviving an entire decade is a massive accomplishment for the festival’s volunteers, and stands as proof that Southeast Texas can and does support an active community of both filmmakers and musicians.”

Kiker said that sponsor donations made it possible for Boomtown Festival to hire bigger touring acts this year, add a screenplay category to the contest, and offer panel discussions that aspiring filmmakers of all skill levels “would be wise to attend.” The festival will also hold a panel for musicians, and local vendors, like Dat Mac food truck, will be on-site.

“Attendees can expect music and films sitting on the cusp of greatness,” Julia Rodriguez, film committee chair, said. “Houston natives, ‘Deep Cuts’, are expected to play at Free Press Summer Festival in Houston, which marks a huge advancement in a band’s career. Our music theme this year can best be described as eclectic, with a mix of locals and out-of-town bands. On the film side, we have an outstanding mix of serious and thought-provoking films as well.”

Films include “Dixie,” a documentary about a song of the same name, “The Example,” which revolves around race riots-era Beaumont, as well as more lighthearted pieces like “‘Mad for Madonna,” documenting the “fandom” surrounding Madonna.

Rodriguez said the festival will also feature “The Letter Carriers,” the directorial debut of Jesse L. Martin, who starred in “Rent” on Broadway as well as “Law & Order” and “The Flash.” The horror film “Dawn of the Deaf,” fresh off the Sundance circuit, will also be shown.

“We work to be inclusive of every community that makes up our great city,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone can come out and have a good time with us.”

Christopher Dombrosky, festival founding board member, said over the past decade the festival has engaged the local film community, citing the success of the festival’s 48-Hour Film Race and partnership with the Jefferson Theatre, as well as drawing international film entries.

“It’s truly an international film festival,” he said.

The underlying purpose of the Boomtown Film and Music Festival, Kiker said, is to cultivate a greater appreciation for the art forms of film and music in Southeast Texas, to educate aspiring artists, to provide exposure for emerging artists and to give Southeast Texans an opportunity to celebrate the area’s rich culture.

“Our mission results in one of the most unique opportunities to experience the product of hours upon hours of hard work, put in by truly talented artists that get their drive from the most intense emotion known to humanity — passion,” he said.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit boomtownfestival.com.

Tara Hoch

UP contributor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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