About the film

Now in Postproduction

Hot Town, Cool City is a new film project by Maureen McNamara. The story concept is one of an underground, insider’s view of what makes Houston a COOL city. Looking beyond the freeways, strip malls, stadiums, mega oil corporations, and NASA, Hot Town, Cool City will read between those lines to find the gems that make Houston one of the COOLest cities in the US— to live in or to visit.

Any Houstonian who has friends or family from another COOL city is challenged with questions about WHY s/he would want to live in Houston. The national media often promotes a negative mythology about Houston. Even many of the people who live in Houston don’t know about all the gems the city holds open for their delight and consumption. In other COOL cities (such as NYC, Chicago or San Francisco) everyone knows to go to a particular neighborhood to find all of a particular kind of riches. Houston is more of an adolescent, renegade COOL city. Things are a little more spread out in Houston. Houston is full of surprises and discoveries; it’s an interactive city.

Format and style

A survey of Houstonians dictated the sites featured in the current production— things like the local art scene, local organic farmers’ markets, cool local restaurants, and hidden treasures- places like the Glass Bros. Watermelon Stand. Another project goal is to have surprises, even for long time COOL Houston residents. The film’s soundtrack music will be works by local musicians, and non-profit organizations that make Houston a better place to visit and to live will be featured.

This project is a “pilot” production, and may be expandable in the future if funding is available. Expansion of the film project may include the partnering with a local organization that is simpatico with our philosophies.

The Shoot List for this production included 12 COOL Houston experiences:

  1. New World Museum- Interviewed Armando Palacios- Founding Director
  2. The Chocolate Bar- Interviewed Lynn Wyatt here talking about culture, philanthropy and individual artists/people’s passion as being the way that Houston has grown into a COOL city
  3. Moonlight Ramble- Interviewed riders
  4. Alternative theatre- Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre and Infernal Bridegroom Productions
  5. Cafe Brasil- Interviewed poet Mark Doty about Brasil and UH-Creative Writing Program and Inprint
  6. Glenwood Cemetery- Interviewed Devin Borden here and at the Gallery; he also spoke about the MFA-H CORE Fellows/program A picnic Glenwood with Cali’s Vietnamese Sandwiches- Interviewed owner Chung Nja
  7. Glass Bros. Watermelon Stand- Interviewed Mr. Glass and his son, Raymond Jr.
  8. Menil Campus- Interviewed Director Josef Helfenstein @ Menil, Architect— Francois de Menil of/at the Byzantine Chapel, and KC Eynatten, Director Rothko Chapel at the Rothko.
  9. Project Row Houses- Interviewed Rick Lowe, founding Director; also shot Milton Hopkins @ Eldorado Ball Room
  10. Farmer’s Market tour- Interviewed Bill White at Onion Creek, and Monica Pope at t’afia Restaurant / Midtown Farmer’s Market, as well as some local farmers at all of the markets.
  11. Aurora Picture Show- Interviewed Andrea Grover- Founding Director
  12. Art Cars- at the museum and interviewing Kim Stoilis, Artistic Director from the Orange Show.

A primary goal was to create an intimate feel in the film — like being shown around by a friend and discovering the City through new eyes. The film will have a narrative approach. The viewer will have a feel for the PEOPLE behind the organizations or experiences.

The film will be edited to different lengths to work with different exhibitor’s formats (approximately 90, 30, 20, and 5 minute pieces). The film is shot on digital video.

Houston, Texas, U.S.A
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