HICO — So far there have been no official Billy the Kid sightings reported from the weekend film festival that bears his name, but the spirit of outlaws and the Old West were well represented.
The inaugural edition of the “official” Billy the Kid Film Festival was a success, with a total of 25 films competing in five categories — all featuring the “outlaw” theme in one way or another.
The film “Foxy” won the award for Best Feature Film.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and the support of the local community,” said Philip Vasquez, a Hamilton County resident who was one of the organizers of the event. “We hope in the future to make this more of a regular film festival.”
Tarleton State University co-sponsored the event because of its new travel, event and activity management (TEAM).
“It does give us a level of prestige, partnering with Tarleton, that very few film festivals have,” said Vasquez’s wife, Luci Digiorgio, who also helped organize the festival along with Sue Land, director of Hico’s Billy the Kid Museum.
Vasquez and Digiorgio noted that more than 50 local and area businesses helped sponsor the festival as well as TSU. They hope to expand future festivals to include international films.
Erath County resident Ruth Buzzi, the veteran comic actress who played prominent recurring roles on the popular TV series “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” was on hand both Friday and Saturday as the festival’s official “ambassador of film.”
After the awards were announced in the art room at the back of Flaca’s Fitness & Brews Saturday night in downtown Hico, the film “Tejano” was shown. Buzzi and her husband, Kent Perkins, were on hand for that as well with a packed house. Also, actress and “Tejano” cast member Emma Perez Trevino attended.
Actor Matt Clark, a veteran of more than 50 feature films, attended the festival as its “special guest.”
Also attending during the day Friday and Saturday was Pennsylvania resident Daniel A. Edwards, author of the 2014 book, “Billy the Kid: An Autobiography.” Edwards signed copies of his book while hanging out of the Billy the Kid Museum.
Here are the winners in the five film categories:
Best Feature Film — “Foxy” directed by Trista Suke.
Best Short Film — “Walking Papers” directed by Michael Willbanks.
Best Local Film — “All Gut Things: The Life and Death of Texas German” directed by Chase Honaker.
Best Performance — Mindy Bledsoe in “The In-Between.”
Audience Choice — (tie) “Not Your Day” directed by Geroge Meyers and “Smile” directed by Jay Pennington and Gerry Olert.