Residents of the Coastal Bend were offered a plethora of options this weekend with Realms Con invading the American Bank Center, the First Friday ArtWalk and MusicWalK, and the newcomer, the 2nd Annual South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF). 

The four-day festival, which kicked off on Thursday, was free and open to the public. It took place at several premier venues in downtown Corpus Christi, including the Art Center of Corpus Christi, American Bank Center and the House of Rock.

The festival screened a variety of feature-length and short-form films, and also held conferences and workshops on the craft of filmmaking.

“The festival, I feel has grown because of partnerships and collaboration with various groups, our relationships with filmmakers, people in the community, and a lot of hard work,” said festival director Mariella Perez. “It continually evolves and grows."

Showcased films and filmmakers were from all over the world and close to home, including Robstown native Kippy Edge.

"I think that we are all unique. I think that the best stories are personal. I am not very tech savvy, so I do not know my limitations," Edge said. "Sometimes this leads to happy surprises."

Edge is an amateur and award-winning filmmaker who has entered into several local film competitions. At this year’s festival, he premiered his brand new stop-motion animated short film, “Plum Tree,” which is about a boy and girl who grow up under a plum tree and share the joys and sorrows of life together. 

"'The Plum Tree' is a film that I made because I was interested in using stop animation to tell a simple story about life," said Edge. "I wanted it to look like a moving collage."

The screenings showcased more than 100 films, giving attendees many options to choose from, spanning all genres. But the event didn't stop there. VIP badge-holders were offered a myriad of special events. 

The South Texas Underground Film Festival kicked off on Thursday at 6 p.m. with a welcome barbecue for badge holders. Opening night films screened at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and then the rest of the weekend opened up. Attendees wandered downtown in a PubCrawl, learned about screenwriting from local screenwriter Michael James Canales, and observed a panel of filmmakers talking about the process, including Edward Tyndall, Assistant Professor of Media Production at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

"I'm just so thankful for everything and having a successful Film Festival. It was our second year and we took a big leap from year one," said Robert Perez Jr., festival co-founder and programmer. "Everything about this year was a big step."

Perez Jr. states that planning is already underway for the next film festival, due in 2014. The festival's founder, Mariella Perez, is hoping to let people know the importance of holding such a festival in Corpus Christi.

“The festival brings people in from all over the world. It brings in tourism. There are a lot of filmmakers from out of the country whom have never been to, nor seen, Texas. When people visit they see the beauty in our area,” Perez said. “I want people to see the potential of seeing our area as a destination for filmmaking; showing that the Coastal Bend supports the arts.”