What About Waco poster

"What About Waco"

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" will wash away a bunch of films beginning Friday, July 7, as theaters juggle to make a maximum number of screens available for the latest superhero movie, but the next few days also will offer two new made-in-Waco films, a free outdoor film screening and a reprise of audience-pleasing short films shown at this year's Deep In The Heart Film Festival.

Washing away are "Beatriz At Dinner," "Rough Night" and "Captain Underpants."

The first new made-in-Waco film is the four-part documentary "What About Waco" (a feature on the debut appears in Thursday's Access Waco entertainment section), Chris Charles Scott III's look at several pivotal moments in the city's history. It runs about two hours, all told, and will be shown Thursday and Friday nights, July 6-7, at the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas, one of Waco's largest auditoriums with some 3,000 seats.

The series looks at some things that made Waco stand out, both good and bad: the Waco Suspension Bridge, the first major structure to cross the Brazos River and a key to the city's subsequent economic success; the Reservation, the district near downtown where prostitution was legal and presumably confined for decades on either side of the turn of the 20th century; the horrific public burning and mutilation of Jesse Washington, for the murder of a white Robinson farmwoman; the World War I training facility Camp MacArthur; and the 1953 Waco tornado that killed more than 100 people as it ripped through central Waco.

It's solid work that both paints in bold strokes and dots with those juicy, quirky details that a good history offers. I've heard some concern that its two-part middle section "Three Years" may ruffle feathers, both in its look at how city fathers seemed OK with prostitution (money from licensing and medical inspection fees) and with the grisly, difficult images of the Washington lynching.

The latter is, admittedly, tough and hard to stomach. For those who feel any coverage of that incident merely rubs Waco's nose into something that happened then and not now, I'll offer another way of looking at it: White Waco audiences who feel sickened and saddened today means the city has changed for the good — in 1916, an estimated 15,000 people watched, live, Washington's burning and torture as entertainment, sport or an appallingly sadistic justice.

Another Waco-made film screens on Saturday night, July 8, when "A Sense Of Urgency" unveils at 6:30 p.m. at the Jubilee Theatre. Produced by Stuart and Cindi Miller ("Heavenly High"), and directed by David D. Ford, the film is the Christian filmmakers' foray into action-thrillers. Their last feature, the David Ford-written and -directed "Something In The Woods,"  dabbled in horror with its tale of a family terrorized by a Bigfoot-like creature.

"A Sense Of Urgency" follows a teen who's traveling by bus to meet her birth parents when hijackers take over and hold its passengers hostage, an occasion that tests her faith.

Film fans who like their movies in a lighter vein, outdoors or free get that trifecta Thursday night, July 6, when Magnolia Market at the Silos continues its Summer Movie Series with a screening of "Elf" beginning on the Silo grounds at around 8:30 p.m., when twilight starts to darken enough for a movie. It's free and several food trucks will be open for those wanting some food or drink.

Short movies — short as in 10-20 minutes long — make up the program on Monday night, July 10, for the Waco Hippodrome's Indie Movie Monday. It consists of short films that screened at this year's Deep In The Heart Film Festival in February, each considered the best in their category.

On tap are "A Way Out," "Dirty Work," "Twisted," "Maria Fernanda In Time," "Second Chance On The Caprock," "Ya Albi," "Three Dalmatians" and "This Is Normal." I'll attest to the ones that I saw then, the emotionally moving "Ya Albi" and the funny foreign comedy "Three Dalmatians" (the Dalmatians in the latter are not dogs but hunky policemen from Croatia who have three single moms in a Norwegian town committing crimes as an introduction).

Summer Shorts starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the Waco Hippodrome.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor