Cinema lovers rejoice. The first-ever Round Top Film Festival is coming to the Texas countryside this fall with more than 40 feature films to be screened, along with Q&A panels, workshops and parties. This new movie festival will run Thursday, November 7 through Sunday, November 10 at Round Top’s beloved performance venue Festival Hill.

Round Top Film Festival’s founders are the mother and daughter duo of Shanna Schanen and Skylar Schanen, whose familial ties to the Round Top area go back generations. Shanna Schanen’s great grandparents were Czech and German settlers to the region, and she was raised in La Grange.

Round Top Film Festival co-founders Shanna Schanen and Skylar Schanen. (Photo by Alice Loyaza)

Relocating in her twenties, Shanna and her husband Rob Schanen raised their family in Houston, then Austin, while acquiring a Round Top property in 2007 as a weekend retreat.

“I would escape into the trees and make up stories about runaway girls and fierce horseback riders,” Skylar Schanen recalls of her childhood stays at the family’s Round Top retreat.

Skylar is a filmmaker, who at the age of 17 produced her first screenplay Space Case, which was made into a movie. Now 23, she’s been on both sides of many cinematic sets. She’s written, directed and starred in indie films, garnering awards along the way. 

“Some films never see past the final edit,” Skylar Schanen says. “Film festivals offer a vital platform for artists to create and exhibit their work, potentially launching careers in an industry hungry for fresh voices.

“We want to welcome the film community to the best little town in Texas, and are eager to cultivate opportunities for networking, and celebrate the beauty of storytelling.” 

And there’s no better time to celebrate film than fall in Texas.

“Fall is our absolute favorite time of year in Texas,” the Schanens write. “We thought it would be perfect for a film festival. The timing works to keep the buzz alive in town by bridging the gap between antiques fair and the holidays. Coincidentally, from a Hollywood perspective, it also lines up with the opportunity to screen great films vying for a final awards season push.”

Submissions for this first Round Top Film Festival are open now until August 20 in five categories. An Audience Award for the Best Feature Film; and Jury Awards for Best Live Action Short, Best Comedy Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Music Video will be handed out. Submissions can be made here.

Want to be part of this first Round Top Film Festival as a viewer? Significant savings are available if you buy early bird passes to the movie festival. For more information and to purchase the passes, go here. The special early bird passes are available now through July 31.