Sci-fi film gets Edinburg premiere

The sci-fi action thriller “Xenophobia” will get its Texas debut Sunday at AMC Edinburg 18.

“Xenophobia” was directed, written and produced by Steven J. Escobar, Joe Castro and Thomas J. Churchill. The film stars Manu Intiraymi (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “One Tree Hill”), Kristen Renton (“Days of our Lives,” “Sons of Anarchy”), Angie Stevenson (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Sigma”), and Baker Chase Powell (“Dating Pains, Irrational Fear”), and McAllen native Lisa Garcia.

The premiere event is hosted by co-director and Edinburg native Escobar, who — despite relocating to Los Angeles in 2000 — keeps close contact with his community and Rio Grande Valley peers in the industry.

“We filmed (part of ‘Xenophobia’) at my mom’s house,” Escobar said in a phone interview this week. “We hired an all-local crew. Always coming back home and supporting local filmmakers is something I have a passion for.”

The film follows victims of alien abduction who discover that their experiences were not isolated incidents.

“Xenophobia is an accumulation of actual alien events and encounters that have been documented over the years,” Escobar said. “Teaming up with Joe Castro and Thomas J. Churchill who co-wrote and co-directed the film with me, we were able to bring these stories to the screen using state of the art of special effects which we’re really proud of. Xenophobia is further proof that indie filmmakers can present epic stories and great effects without a studio budget.”

“Xenophobia was a chance of a lifetime for me as an artist and a filmmaker,” said Joe Castro, “it allowed us to create full scale alien creatures… something that I have always dreamed of as a child.”

“Spending so much of my career in the horror and action space prepared me for ‘Xenophobia,’ which is my first science fiction film,” said Thomas J. Churchill. “It was a truly organic transition and I could not have asked for a better team and partners to have done this with than Castro and Escobar.”

Escobar is an Edinburg High School and University of Texas – Pan American graduate. He spent some time producing commercials with a local company before relocating to Corpus Christi to work with Q Productions just as the movie “Selena” was being filmed.

He has worked on programs “Big Brother,” “Very Cavallari,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” and won a Primetime Emmy in 2007 for “The Amazing Race.”

While the film premiere is not private, Escobar said seating is limited. He invited potential attendees to email for tickets — or a movie poster, he said. “Xenophobia” is available on DVD or Video on Demand on Aug. 6.

If you go

WHAT — ‘Xenophobia’ Texas Movie Premiere

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with directors. Part of the proceeds will also go to the Palm Valley Animal Center in Edinburg to support animal adoption and fostering.

WHERE — AMC Edinburg 18, 3003 US-281 Business, Edinburg

WHEN — 5:30 p.m. Sunday

COST — COST $12 at or by emailing Escobar at