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Don’t miss DIM THE FLUORESCENTS as the Slamdance Cinema Club continues screening at ArcLight Chicago.

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Work. It’s usually a drag. But, sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’s also an opportunity to create art. Most creative people, at some point in their life or another, make a compromise for the sake of advertising or the corporate agenda. For some of us, it’s a cry for acceptance. For others, it’s about survival.

But how, do we as creatives, transcend these boundaries we find arbitrary? That’s what some of the best corporate training videos and Dim The Fluorescents are really all about.

Share Audrey and Lillian’s journey through the world of the “corporate presentation.”

See Dim The Fluorescents on July 19 at 8 p.m. as it screens at ArcLight Chicago

 

HAPPY VACATION is the eerie short film that will make you double-check the reviews on your AirBnb this summer.

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If you and your best friend are the kind of worriers that will imagine everything that can go wrong with your summer trip before it transpires, you’ll love Colby Day (In The Blink of an Eye as featured on The Black List 2016) and Tess Harrison’s “Summer Vacation.”

It’s a beautifully comprised and emotionally riveting short from the writing/directing pair.

There’s not much to say without giving it all away, but you might want to think twice before you go for your next swim.

24 HR Video Race Contestants Compete in classic Video Association of Dallas Event

2017-05-22 - 24-Hour Video Race Finals (RC) 049Bart Weiss, Artistic Director at Dallas VideoFest, speaks with Chase Arrington of TAG, who won 1st Place in the “One Person Orchestra” division of the 24 Hour Video Race. This year’s theme was “Finding the Truth,” for the 16th iteration. Photo Credit: John R. Strange

Congratulations to the winners of the 16th 24 Hour Video race conducted by the Video Association of Dallas!

Many filmmakers and teams reached out to best depict “Truth” in their quest to find it. A full list of winners and links to their films appears below.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing some great things to come from these student and seasoned filmmakers.

 Winners 2017

Super 8 (10th grade and under) 

1st  The Reel Deal

2nd Dyas Filmmakers

3rd FWTV

 

16 MM Division (11th-12th Grade)

1st Holly Shot

2nd Aledo High School

3rd DTF (Down Town Film)

 

Joel Rosenzweig Award Aledo High School

 

Animal House Division (college) 

1st Midcities Blvd

2nd After Hours Productions

3rd  The Conquered

 

One Person Orchestra (Individual Adult) 

1st Tag Expert

2nd Daddy Daughters Day Off Production

3rd James Phan

 

Old Enough to Know Better 

1st Catching Ghosts by Team Cyclone

2nd Weresquirrel Production

3rd Two Chicks Flicks

Raquel Chapa and Bart Weiss seriously have an excellent organization in their hands.

Filmmaker Lonnie Edwards brings the Great Migration to life in his avant-garde work Exodus at the 24th Chicago Underground Film Festival

Lonnie Edwards, an award-winning Chicago filmmaker, (think Cannes) is screening his short Exodus: Sounds of the Great Migration on June 3 at Chicago Underground Film Festival in the “Shorts 6” Block, otherwise called “The One With the Governor.”

He related to us his aim for people to get intrigued about this important diasporic aspect of American Art History by intersecting with his film in an exclusive interview. We’re honored.

Learn more about what’s screening at CUFF here, where you can access the full schedule.

“BloodSpray” the Musical is an essential earwormy punk/horror stylistic short you need to experience right now.

For those not in the know: Film Will Never Be Dead is in the middle of a relocation to the Greater Chicago Area. We don’t plan on saying a permanent goodbye to Dallas by any means — but we are going to be here for awhile. It’s a little strange for us, but we’re happy to be making new connections and starting a new life.

One of the first places we knew we had to go when we got here was Comfort Station: a sweet little spot in the middle of Logan Square that has a reputation for screening programming put together by an amazing team:

Raul Benitez  Lead Film programmer.
Nando Espinosa  Lead Film programmer.
Clare Manning  Assistant Film programmer.
Emily Perez  Assistant Film programmer.

There were many excellent short horror films that screened there on Wednesday evening, as part of “Werewolves, Clowns, Perverts and Cops,” but the crowning gem of all of them was BloodSpray: The Musical. It’s dark. It’s whimsical. It’s catchy — and it was filmed as part of Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project last year by Daily Grindhouse and Drinks on Monday Productions.

It’s worth a listen/watch. Or three. It’s a lot like a brand of well-marketed potato chips. It’s hard to stop with just one.

Summer with the Dallas Skyline: James Wallace, Alamo Drafthouse Creative Manager, Has Crafted a Season of Awesome.

We recently got the opportunity to probe James Wallace’s brain about Alamo DFW’s
new summer lineup of fantastic events at the Vetted Well, his thoughts about Free Fire (and the Director’s Q&A), the MST3K showing with Frank Conniff and Trace Beauleiu, and some other items. It looks like he and his teams have gone out of their way to craft some really fun times.

Kate: So, it looks like we can look forward to a summer full of patio-themed entertainment events. I think the inspiration there is obvious, but if there’s something specific there, I’d love to discuss it. What’s your favorite aspect of the Vetted Well’s patio? It’s quite nice. 

James: Well, it’s hard to ignore that beautiful view of the skyline! I think that’s everyone’s favorite aspect so any excuse to have fun stuff going on outside when the weather is nice is a bonus.

Beyond that, it’s just coming up with creative ways to use the Vetted Well space outside of just being a place that people may grab a drink before or after their movie.

That was the concept of Vetted Well from the inception really – to go beyond just the movie theater lobby bar and have a multipurpose entertainment space that was connected to the theater and could tie into events there but could also exist on its own with its own programming. And it’s been great to see that happen; where people just come to Vetted Well for the karaoke rooms or Geeks Who Drink or Outdoor Comedy or any of the other signature programming we have had going on up there.

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The Vetted Well is a great place for cocktails, brunch, karaoke, or just an overall good time.

I’d say our crowning jewel in the new programming is Funky Brunch (at least that’s my favorite!) and that inspiration came out of just trying to come up with a really fun and unique brunch on Sundays. Dallas is such a brunch city with a pretty competitive market for it, and everyone who does it has their hook. So we had to have ours, besides of course having great brunch offerings. I have to admit that the concept really started with the punny name and pretty naturally and quickly developed out of that.

That theme really informed the inspiration for the menu and the vibe. Then we found the perfect DJs for it in PICNICTYME & Cory Kilduff who are not only Funk & Soul aficionados but spin vinyl. And then it all came together!


Kate: Free Fire is a film I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Good to see you guys have set up an awesome Q&A. Are there any burning questions you’re looking forward to asking Ben Wheatley?

James: Me too! Yeah, you know Ben Wheatley is one of those filmmakers that I see as kind of part of the Alamo Drafthouse extended family. I remember when his first feature DOWN TERRACE has its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2009 (Alamo’s film festival in Austin).

I remember seeing the film there and just being blown away and so excited to see what else he was going to do. And here we are eight-years-later with KILL LIST, SIGHTSEERS, A FIELD IN ENGLAND (which Drafthouse Films released), HIGH-RISE, and now FREE FIRE.Looking at his filmography, I think he just makes the kind of films that we’re all about at Alamo. And FREE FIRE looks to be very much that type of movie. Not to mention it’s from A24 and we’re all such huge fans of the movies they release.

I do have a lot of questions I’d love to ask him but firstly I think I would have to ask him how it felt shooting a shirtless Tim League with paintballs.

Kate: It looks like we have a lot to look forward to when Frank Conniff and Trace Beauleiu come to visit Richardson at the end of the month. Do you have a favorite MST3K moment?

James: Oh man, you have no idea how excited I am that we get to have The Mads at Richardson! I mean it’s Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV’s Frank live and in-person riffing in the theater! And it couldn’t be better timing with the premiere of the new MST3K on Netflix. 

I have so many fond memories of watching the original run on Comedy Central when I was a kid and then later on the Sci-Fi Channel in my formative teenage years as a budding comedy nerd and genre film nerd. But there’s one that sticks out and, at the risk of being boring, I have to say it’s the episode with MANOS: HANDS OF FATE. That was the moment that my eyes were really open to the world of “best worst movies” that would inform so much of my tastes as a fan of those gems of obscure ’60s/’70s genre movies.

Side Note: Someone should do a movie mashup called MANOS: HANDS OF FATE OF THE FURIOUS

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Tickets available in advance at https://drafthouse.com/dfw.


Kate: Are there any films on your radar you consider a Drafthouse must-see?

James: Well, there are the obvious big ones coming next month – GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2… ALIEN: COVENANT….

But in terms of indie fare that might not be on people’s radars, there are a few in the next couple of months that I’m really excited about – IT COMES AT NIGHT, BABY DRIVER, and A GHOST STORY. COLOSSAL is also great and now playing at an Alamo Drafthouse near you!

TROPHY is a documentary unafraid to ask serious questions, even when they provide unexpected answers.

A rhinoceros is felled to the ground by an emission from a weapon fired. A group of people walk over. They cover its face. They hold its legs. They give it an injection. They saw off two horns. It’s a strange scene of barbarism.

And then the two parties walk away, for the most part, unscathed.

Documentaries about poaching, and as part of a contemporary trend, documentaries in general, are sometimes one-sided. Issues are often presented as a means of furthering a platform rather than remaining tools of exploration for staging the later presentation of facts.

Thankfully, this is not always the case, even when a documentarian sets out with a mission in mind.

TROPHY is a rare case in documentary filmmaking that shouldn’t be one. It changed everything about what it was doing midstream, and proudly admits it. That’s bold. Even if backers want filmmaker to see things a certain way,  even if there were convictions going into something, being able to learn from experience is critical.

Co-Director Christina Clusiau explained the situation she found herself in while making TROPHY Sunday night at the first screening of the film for Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). She stated that even though she and Reel Peek Films co-founder Shaul Schwarz planned to hit the hunting industry hard, they encountered some situations that made their filmmaking decisions difficult.

It ultimately came down to considering the stances of a South African man named John Hume who is on a quest to farm black rhino horn as a matter of profit that will bring a sense of value to a creature facing extinction.

It seems that the domestication of animals keeps some people in the business of preserving animals, even when they’re being bred to later be hunted or otherwise exploited. For animal rights groups, this may be a hard pill to swallow. But in a world where compromise is sometimes necessary, the appeal of turning a rhino’s horn into a consumer product to be farmed rather than hunting trophy becomes easier to understand.

If only the whole world could be so flexible.

Filled with scenes of excruciating pain and beauty as hunters, farmers and conservationists make their case, it’s no wonder IndieWire called TROPHY “jaw-droppingly beautiful and appalling” in the same headline.

TROPHY is not always an easy documentary to stomach. But it’s important one to see.

This film has screened at DIFF as presented by EarthxFilm and premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Clusiau will continue the festival circuit, with her next stop being in Durham, North Carolina. 

Clusiau also shot the Emmy Award-nominated web series A Year in Space and the documentary feature AIDA’S SECRETS (2016).  

You’ll encounter this film again, even if you don’t see it in a theater. It’s been acquired by Orchard Films and CNN. It’s just got too much to add to a conversation on a subject with a lot of polar opinion.

Shaul Schwarz is a documentary filmmaker, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of Reel Peak Films, a short films production company which makes documentary content for magazines and news outlets. Schwarz’s debut documentary feature, NARCO CULTURA (2013), premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. He directed the Emmy Award-nominated web series A Year in Space, and co-directed the documentary feature AIDA’S SECRETS (2016). Schwarz also contributes to Time, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and CNN.

Christina Clusiau is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, photojournalist based in Brooklyn. She co-founded Reel Peak Films with Shaul Schwarz. Clusiau shot the Emmy Award-nominated web series A Year in Space and the documentary feature AIDA’S SECRETS (2016).

Christina explains the film’s mission in her statement below:

Follow Trophy on Social Media at @trophythefilm.

 

Star Power lights up new Texas short FAR FROM THE TREE.

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When we think of the “American” filmmaker, a lot of people come to mind. There are the big names of course. Speilberg, Scorcese, Bay, Cameron, and Coppola (x2) — just to name a few.

But there’s something about a distinctly Texan film and something about friends making films together. That’s why Far from Tree is a short worth some of my attention right now, even though it is limited in the middle of DIFF.

It’s not every day a Southern short dealing with such powerful feminist subjects comes up. They’re the kind of material to get the right audiences buzzing.

Check out Cheryl Allison (NO LETTING GO, Broadway star), Angie Bolling (ROBOCOP, TEXASVILLE) and Gabriel Rush (MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL) as family dynamics and “apples” are explored.

See it at the USA Film Festival:

TEXAS SHORTS SHOWCASE including FAR FROM THE TREE
Sunday, April 30th, 7 pm
Full schedule of events and ticket info will be available in early April at www.usafilmfestival.com