Film Reviews: Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Endeavor Cinema
2pm Sun. Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N Main St, FW. Free. 214-732-3115.
Mighty Endeavor

A Fort Worth film series returns, with much bigger goals.


Carlos Aguilar is no stranger to the pages of Fort Worth Weekly. The 43-year-old Fort Worth native was the subject of a cover story (“McHood,” June 30, 2004) about the inventive design of his house. Before that, he was profiled in an arts story (“A Different Film Fest,” May 4, 2000) about Endeavor Cinema, the series of independent shorts and features he was running. “My intention was just to screen stuff that you couldn’t see at SXSW,” Aguilar said last week. “I didn’t have a true vision.”
Now, eight and a half years after Endeavor Cinema’s unheralded demise, Aguilar is bringing it back with an eye toward using it to create an entire filmmaking industry in Fort Worth.
The series will run every three weeks at various locations, though the Rose Marine Theater will serve as the venue for the first two screenings. Each season’s worth of films — spring, summer, fall — will carry out a different theme. The series will consist of various short films (the identity of which Aguilar and the series’ co-director, Michael Rodriguez, want to keep secret until they’re actually shown) followed by a feature film. This week’s session is anchored by Terry Gilliam’s 1985 fantasy Brazil, while subsequent screenings will be built around The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and The Gods Must Be Crazy. Those titles notwithstanding, the series won’t feature only 1980s cult cinema — as Endeavor Cinema gathers funding, Aguilar and Rodriguez hope to be able to afford the royalty fees to screen more recent movies.
Showing movies, however, is only the first step. Aguilar and Rodriguez want Endeavor Cinema to be a gathering place for local filmmakers and other creative people. “I got this philosophy from the construction business,” said Aguilar, who has established a successful drywall company. “If you give filmmakers a place to go and screen each other’s work, you set up a creative dialogue that’ll result in everyone doing better work. Right now the only place filmmakers can meet is at the film festival, and that’s once a year. How does that help anyone? We need something more centralized.”
More than just providing a salon, Endeavor Cinema is intended to eventually fund local film production. The 35-year-old Rodriguez hopes by the end of the year to purchase cameras, lighting equipment, music, and other facilities to rent (at low cost) to filmmakers who pay membership dues. He and Aguilar are also tinkering with a bartering system by which artists can work on one another’s films. Beyond that, the two imagine Endeavor growing into an empire that includes an education program (Rodriguez already teaches a film class for kids at Rose Marine Theater) and a specialty movie theater along the lines of Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse.
All this will take serious money, but Aguilar is unfazed by the current economic climate. “A downturn forces people to rethink the old models,” he said. Having already landed a couple of corporate sponsorships, Aguilar and Rodriguez are now exploring many different avenues of financing. In the meantime, the two are determined that Endeavor remain close to its Fort Worth roots no matter how big it gets.
“It’s all about the grassroots,” said Aguilar, citing his father — a longtime professor of art in the Tarrant County College system — as an example of fostering art at the community level. “We’re building a dream.”

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