The Garden and the Wilderness Selected for Texas Filmmaker's Showcase by Houston Film Commission

Award-Winning Western Coming to Los Angeles for Screening with Best of Texas Short Films

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (06/04/2013)(readMedia)-- The award-winning film The Garden and the Wilderness has been selected by the Houston Film Commission for inclusion in its 2013 Texas Filmmaker's Showcase. The exclusive screening event will take place at the Director's Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles on June 30.

The Texas Filmmaker's Showcase is an invitation-only presentation of films chosen annually from among the best of Texas short films and videos. The 90-minute showcase is accompanied by a reception where filmmakers and members of the film industry can discuss filmmaking, financing, distribution, and other aspects of the movie business. Additional public screenings of the Showcase will be held at film festivals and theaters around Texas throughout the rest of the year.

After premiering in 2011 at the Rome International Film Festival, The Garden and the Wilderness was awarded the prize for Best Editing at the 2012 Beverly Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Drama at the Trail Dance Film Festival in 2013. The film has competed at several other film festivals across the country, including the Garden State Film Festival, the Hill Country Film Festival, and the upcoming Long Island Film Festival.

"On behalf of the cast and crew of The Garden and the WIlderness, I would like to thank the Houston Film Commission for inviting us to take part in this year's Texas Filmmaker's Showcase," says producer Stephanie Huettner. "We are honored to have been chosen to be be part of such an incredible roster of films and would like to congratulate all of the other filmmakers for their amazing accomplishments."

A poetic re-imagining of the Western genre, The Garden and the Wilderness examines the intersection between the demands of work and family in our lives, and how they can both help and hinder our ability to deal with life's hardships.

After 30 years spent caring for a Texas hunting estate, ranch hand Will James must confront the prospect of moving on from his life's work when he learns that the property will be sold following the owner's death. A final visit from the late owner's son offers him a chance to reflect on his past, and to figure out what to make of himself in the uncertain future that awaits his family.

The Garden and the Wilderness was written and directed by Craig Whitney, whose credits include the short film Harvest Home and music videos by Miranda Cosgrove and the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines. Produced by Stephanie Huettner (The Peacemaker, Mighty Mutant Mollusks) and photographed by Christopher Rusch (Closing Night), the film stars Larry Harbin, DJ Economou, Terri Bennett, Billy Kring, and Julia Lorenz.

Whitney says that during its nationwide festival run, the universal themes of The Garden and the Wilderness have been warmly received by audiences far afield from the movie's central Texas origins.

"No matter where we have screened, from New York to California, one of the things that I have found truly remarkable is the way in which The Garden and the Wilderness has connected with audiences regardless of their personal background," Whitney says. "Although some of the details in this movie are unique to the land where it was filmed, I think this is a story that a lot of people have become all too familiar with during the economic upheaval of the last few years."

"In some ways, The Garden and the Wilderness carries a lot of the traditional themes of the Western film, but in a way that undoubtedly reflects the realities of the 21st century. The Western has evolved from legends like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to more ambiguous, contemporary figures like No Country for Old Men's Llewelyn Moss and the two lovers of Brokeback Mountain. The Garden and the Wilderness continues this evolution, exploring the western hero through the economic prism of the Great Recession and the closing of the American West."

Already in its 20th year, past selections for the Texas Filmmakers Showcase have included Ain't Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery's Pioneer, Grammy's by Bryan Poyser (The Bounceback), Bradley Jackson's The Man Who Never Cried, Doki-Doki by Chris Eska (August Evening), and films by Kat Candler, Ya'Ke Smith, and other talented Texas filmmakers.

In addition to The Garden and the Wilderness, the other films featured in this year's Texas Filmmaker's Showcase include Cork's Cattlebarron by Eric Steele, Hellion by Kat Candler, Little Lions by Tony Costello, Vincent Valdez: Excerpts for John by Angela and Mark Walley, and Vultures of Tibet by Russell Oliver Bush.

About Better Archangel Pictures

Better Archangel Pictures was founded in 2008 in Austin, Texas by writer and director Craig Whitney. Whitney and his producers are currently developing Una vela en el entierro (A Candle in the Funeral), a feature-length examination of violence along the Texas border and one family's struggle to persevere amidst these tragedies. For more information about The Garden and the Wilderness and other Better Archangel Pictures films, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit us online at


Craig Whitney


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