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Texas Produced Documentary Film When I Rise to Screen at Odeon Theater
Free Admission Wednesday, February 6
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 • Posted January 30, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 25, 2013) – The Hill Country Film Festival (HCFF), an annual independent film event in Fredericksburg, Texas, has partnered with the Texas Independent Film Network (TIFN) and the Odeon Theater in Mason, Texas, to screen independent films made in the Lone Star State. The first film of 2013, When I Rise (Texas 2010), will screen Wednesday, February 6, at 6:00 p.m.

When I Rise is a documentary film that premiered on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens in 2011. The film follows the inspirational journey of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student who finds herself at the epicenter of a racial controversy, struggling against the odds and ultimately ascending to the heights of international opera.

As a black music student at the University of Texas in 1956, Barbara is cast in an opera to co-star with a white male classmate, fueling a racist backlash from members of the Texas legislature. When Barbara is expelled from the cast, the incident escalates to national news, prompting unexpected support from a pop superstar. This small-town girl, whose voice and spirit stem from her roots in East Texas, emerges as an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano and headlines on stages around the world.

Alison Beck, Co-producer and Associate Director of Special Projects at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas, will be in attendance for Q&A after the film. The screening is free and will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Odeon Theater. Interested parties can reserve a seat online by visiting

“Documentary films tell real life stories and often give us amazing historical accounts that are not always part of the typical history lesson,” said Chad Mathews, founder, HCFF. “We are thrilled that the partnership with the Odeon and TIFN support Texas filmmaking and brings these remarkable stories to an audience who would not normally have the opportunity to enjoy them.”

About Texas Independent Film Network

The TIFN is a statewide coalition of film societies, universities, and independent theaters that takes a different Texas made feature film on a circuit across the state each month. TIFN was co-founded by Louis Black and Ryan Long and is a program operated by the Austin Film Society. Black is best known as one of the founders of the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Festival. Black currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the Austin Chronicle, of which he was also a co-founder. Long is the manager of Programs and Operations for the Austin Film Society and founder of Screen Door Film, Austin’s premiere micro-cinema.

The Austin Film Society is a non-profit organization that promotes the appreciation of film and supports creative media production.

About the Odeon Theater

In 1994, Spider Johnson organized efforts to keep the historic Odeon Theater open for business by forming the Odeon Preservation Association (OPA), a private non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. The OPA has continued its mission to provide entertainment at the Odeon through the performing arts, to bring cultural enrichment to Mason and surrounding communities, and to maintain a suitable facility for such purpose. Current releases of movies are shown every week as they have been since the Odeon first opened in 1928.

About Hill Country Film Festival

Set in Fredericksburg, Texas, the Hill Country Film Festival (HCFF) is the vision of its director Chad Mathews, an actor, screenwriter, producer, and native Texan. Having participated in the film festival circuit, Mathews came to love the camaraderie and shared respect of those who are committed to the art of independent filmmaking. HCFF was created to celebrate and showcase filmmakers from Texas and around the world and is annually presented by the Hill Country Film Society, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. For more information, visit or

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