San Antonio natives shine on big screen at SXSW

The 37th edition of the South by Southwest Film and TV Festival is underway and KSAT’s coverage of this year’s festival included the world premiere of the new film by Julio Torres titled “Problemista.”

KSAT reporter RJ Marquez and social media producer Andrew Wilson were on the red carpet for the premiere.

Torres is an acclaimed comedic writer, but this was his first time writing, directing and starring in his own feature film. Torres plays Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer in New York City who goes to the extreme to avoid getting deported back to El Salvador.

The star-studded cast also includes Tilda Swinton and actor and musician RZA. San Antonio native James Scully is also part of the cast and plays the role of Bingham in the film. Scully graduated from the North East School of the Arts and started his career in theater in San Antonio.

“There’s a lot of good theater in San Antonio. That’s where I started training as an actor, and that’s not true of every city you grow up in, so in terms of being a creative, whether it’s acting or anything, just really appreciate the advantage you have of growing up and living in a place that has so much art to offer you. San Antonio is a culturally and artistically rich city. There is so much creative stimulation everywhere you go,” Scully said.

“There is so much of an origin story for any artist living there because there is so much to be inspired by and pull from. Before you set your sights on somewhere like New York or Los Angeles or like big entertainment cities, look around and see what can I learn from people already living in my community,” Scully said.

Scully said working on the project and acting in multiple scenes with Torres and Swinton was a dream come true. The film has already received good reviews.

The SXSW film festival also includes several short films and documentaries. San Antonio native Fidel Ruiz-Healy and his co-creator Tyler Walker are premiering their short-film titled “Dead Enders” at this year’s event.

“Dead Enders is our little, horror comedy short film we shot in San Antonio towards the end of 2021. It’s about a young, disillusioned girl who works a late-night shift at a gas station. She has no real hopes and dreams in life and after these these mind-controlling bugs take over the world, she kind of has to get her priorities back in order,” Ruiz-Healy said.

Ruiz-Healy said this was a passion project and he’s thrilled to present the film on this stage.

“We put all of our resources, energy, brain space into this little monster movie and send it out to the world to where we think would be the best places to screen it out, and sure enough it got into like one of our dream festivals, South by Southwest, which we’re just really excited for,” he said.

The SXSW Film and TV Festival runs through March 19.

Check out our livestream from the red carpet at the ‘Problemista’ world premiere on our YouTube page

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