Comicpalooza: Inside Texas’s largest comic and pop culture film festival
It’s been ten years since entrepreneur John Simons launched Comicpalooza as a one-day event in the lobby of Houston’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, featuring just a handful of tables with local comic book artists to correspond with the release of The Dark Knight. However, the event has steadily grown over the years into what it is today – the biggest and most popular fan convention in Texas and quite possibly the whole of the U.S. Southwest.
Today the annual event – which is just one day away from its annual kick off on May 25 – runs for three days and is a hotspot for fans of comic books, science fiction, fantasy, video and tabletop gaming, anime, music, and (what we’re here for) film. Entering its sixth year, Comicpalooza’s Film Festival features submitted movies that have been reviewed and measured against peers in each category. The fest features more than 22,000 hours of programming, 200 guest artists on the schedule, and draws more than 40,000 fans to the George R. Brown Convention Center where it is now held. In 2018 for the sixth year running, the Comicpalooza Film Festival team will continue presenting its attendants with an outstanding program of narrative and animated feature-length and short-subject independent genre films.
Award certificates are handed out for the following categories: Best Picture (Feature); Best Animated Film; Best Short; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Actress; Best High School Short; Best Cinematography; Best Editing; Best VFX; Best Costumes; and Best SFX / Makeup. Founder John Simons noted how they had a very successful year in 2017, having made huge strides in serving the film community and filmmakers alike. And the team is working even harder to improve. “Due to feedback from our film community, we have begun implementing more film related events and overhauling communication protocols that will allow for greater engagement with the fest and with other filmmakers.” Winners from the 2017 event include director Steve Desmond for his short Monsters, actor Will Parker for his role in Bullock the Bruiser, and actress Caitlin Carmichael for her role in Monsters (a movie that also took home the prize for Best Short Film).
With the worldwide success of the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes and the strength of DC Television and the Netflix / Marvel collaboration, it’s clear Comicpalooza Film Festival is nestled within a strong market. Focusing on genre flicks, the festival’s organizers strive to create as many opportunities as they can for creators and artists while providing the fans with unbeatable experiences. For example, in 2015 during the height of the buzz for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Simons told Houston Public Media, “Aside from getting comic books on everyone’s mind, we’ve really focused on people from the Avengers movie. We brought in Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) for his first signing appearance anywhere . . . It could be the only convention appearance he ever does, because people at his level, they don’t show up at cons.”
With the growth of Comicpalooza showing no signs of slowing, it’s clear the annual film festival will continue to provide a platform for the hottest up-and-coming genre content creators on the circuit while offering its attendants the opportunity to enjoy a comic convention alongside an outstanding program of narrative and animated feature length and short indie genre films. Those who are geared up and ready for the 2018 event, have an absolutely riotous Comicpalooza. If not, get yourself involved in Comicpalooza 2019 and beyond!