Deep in the Heart Film Festival expands Waco’s movie scene

Louis Hunter, the festival’s co-director, and Maverick Moore, programming director and lecturer in the department of film and digital media at Baylor, discuss the upcoming Deep in the Heart Film Festival. Credit: Meghan Mitchell | Sports Editor

Bradi Murphy | Arts & Life Editor

As large cities such as Dallas and Austin are expanding, Waco has been slowly catching up by increasing its music, film and art scene. While Waco is home to a lot of unique sightings and events, one thing it lacks is a film festival.

Video and film producers Samuel Z.P. Thomas and Louis Hunter are changing this by bringing forth the Deep in the Heart Film Festival to the Waco Hippodrome Theater on Feb. 17 and 18, 2017. They are still taking submissions, and Baylor students are encouraged to submit their films before December.

Hunter explains that he and Thomas have made several films together over the years. Being on the festival circuit, they saw what a great opportunity Waco was to bring the camaraderie that the festival offers for both film makers and the community at large.

The festival anticipates having eight short film blocks and six feature film blocks along with panels and parties after showings. A block of films is a 90 minute slot of time where different short films (ranging from five minutes to 25 minutes) are put together to make a block.

With the slogan, “Heart-warming, Heart-breaking, Heart-stopping Films,” the festival focuses on films that engage audiences and really affect people.

“Whether that makes you laugh, makes you cry, or scares the bejesus out of you, we want those things. At the end of a screening block, we want people to say, ‘Oh man, I need to tell someone about this film,’” said Hunter, the festival’s co-director.

They are very excited for Baylor’s film students to be involved in the festival. Submissions are available for students until Dec. 15 and should be sent to Other filmmakers can submit their movies through the website, FilmFreeway.

During the festival, there is going to be a section specifically to showcase college students, one of which is for Baylor.

“I always tell my students to go to film festivals and to submit to film festivals because there’s nothing quite like … your film getting in and seeing your film with other films from across the world. It’s a really great experience where you are able to compare yourselves not only with the Baylor filmmaking community, but the filmmaking community of the world,” said Maverick Moore, the programming director and professor of Film and Digital Media at Baylor.

With films submitted from all over the world including countries such as Russia, France, US, Norway and Canada, there will be a variety of films Hunter and Moore cannot wait to share, films that audiences won’t forget.

Viewers can look forward to incredibly well-made films that show a story which affects them each in many different ways, including genres such as foreign, drama, comedy, horror and documentaries. There will be something for everyone.

“We want to not only recognize great filmmaking, but celebrate it,” Hunter said.

The Deep in the Heart Film Festival will also feature a unique pop-up museum.

The producers are inviting the Waco community to bring any film-making memorabilia they have, as well as encouraging the filmmakers to bring in props, costumes, scripts or any memorabilia from their films. This offers guests a look behind the scenes while still letting filmmakers promote their films.

“It’s a good time at the movies for everyone involved,” Moore said.