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Winners of annual #FilmSA contest highlight San Antonio's culture and heritage during the pandemic


The winners of the 2021 #FilmSA contest include (left to right) Kyle Ward, Evan Materne and Amadeo Rivas. - COURTESY / SAN ANTONIO DEPARTMENT OF ARTS & CULTURE
  • Courtesy / San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture
  • The winners of the 2021 #FilmSA contest include (left to right) Kyle Ward, Evan Materne and Amadeo Rivas.
The two winning entries in San Antonio's 2021 #FilmSA contest examined the cultural heritage of their city during the pandemic, highlighting a local restaurant's service to the community and efforts to reopen tourist attractions.

The San Antonio Film Commission and the city's World Heritage Office operate the annual contest for young filmmakers, which this year focused on the theme "New Beginning. New Vision. New City." Entrants were asked to show how San Antonio continued to celebrate its cultural heritage during the COVID-19 crisis.

Winners were announced Friday in separate categories for filmmakers of ages 14-17 and ages 18-21.

John Marshall High School sophomore Kyle Ward won for the 14-17 age group with his film "San Antonio Strong." It showcases local tourist locations such as the Alamo and River Walk and shows how they're welcoming back visitors following a period of virtual events. The entry was Ward's first attempt at filmmaking.

The duo of Evan Materne and Amadeo Rivas topped the 18-21 category with their film "Maria's Cafe: A Small Business in a Big World." Their documentary focuses on family-owned restaurant Maria's Cafe's support for its community during the pandemic. The pair are graduates of North East School of the Arts. Materne now attends the University of Texas at Austin, while Rivas at is a student Our Lady of the Lake University.

In addition to receiving $1,000 cash prizes, each winning team will have their film entered into the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) International Video Production Competition later this year. The OWHC network connects over 300 cities with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including San Antonio, which received the designation in 2015.

“The exciting aspect about this contest is how it involves our youth in the conservation of our heritage and culture, not just in the film that results from their work, but in the connections made through the filmmaking process,” World Heritage Office Director Colleen Swain said in a release.

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