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Hollywood Comes to the Alamo City

The Greater San Antonio Film Council is on a mission and that’s to bring Hollywood’s big bucks to the Alamo City.

In 1927, a silent movie about World War I was filmed in San Antonio and it went on to become the first film to win the Academy Award for “Best Picture.” Furthermore, “Wings,” also won a second Academy Award for “Engineering Effects.”

Since then, numerous other movies have been produced in the River City, but not as many as Austin. The state’s Capitol City boosts a total of four film organizations and this accounts why Austin gets so many of Tinseltown’s productions.

“All that is about to change because we have a great film community,” Al Frakes said during an interview at the Lion and Rose pub. Frakes is the chairman of the board of the S.A. Film Council. Minerva Nadler, vice president of Nadler’s Bakery and Delicatessen, plus also a member of the council’s board of director echoed his remark.

“We have actors, directors, producers, entertainment attorneys, film editors and scriptwriters,” Frakes continues.

“Minerva owns a bakery, but the bottom line is that everyone is part of the film industry because crews have to eat, dress, sleep and drive. This means they spend for restaurants, hotels, car rentals and gas. This is why the film industry is so important to San Antonio.

“Mayor Julian Castro is a strong supporter. Furthermore, his brother Joaquin and Councilman John Clamp serve on our board. The reason is because there’s money to be made.” Tejano singing superstar Rubén Ramos is another board member.

In fact, some of the celebrities present at the Northside pub were songbird Patsy Torres, Rita Verreos (“Survivor Fiji”), Brandy López (“General Hospital”) and Ricardo Lentini. The Italian actor was once Roberto DeNiro’s bodyguard and also appeared in “The Untouchables,” “Crime Stories” and “Good Fellas.” Now a local resident, he and Joel Sauceda are the co-owners of two New Forces Fitness Juice Bars.

Frakes and Nadler — who were once part of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau over six and a half years and oversaw the film commission — decided the film-makers community needed a civilian side because the S.A. Film Commission was so limited.

“It is only allowed so much because of their budget,” Frakes continued. “So in a way, their hands are tied. Meanwhile we have strong connections in Los Angeles.”

The result of these connections is that their first venture, “From Mexico With Love” starring Kuno Becker, Steven Bauer, Bruce McGill plus others will hold its Texas premiere here on September 29th.

“Therefore our priority is to bring more movie productions, to get more work for our city and that translates to more money for the city,” Frakes stated.
The S.A. Film Council’s motto is “Bringing the passion of filming back to San Antonio, Texas.” A tag line on their Web site also reads: “Remember when making movies was fun? Then come to San Antonio and find that magic again.”

For more information, or if you’re looking for the perfect location for those exterior shots, check out