13th Annual Dallas International Film Festival LineUp Announced

Spanning April 11 to April 18 and presenting over 130 films from over 35 countries, DIFF is never likely to disappoint. 

Johnathan Brownlee is excited this year. Perhaps he should be. Considering the success of last year’s mini concerts in relation to musically themed films including Bone Thugs and Harmony, he’s expanded the idea to include seven music stages covering seven days of this flagship Dallas festival.

This year’s film lineup, powered by Capital One, includes five World Premieres, one U.S. Premiere, 37 Texas Premieres, and 15 Dallas Premieres.

The largest film festival in North Texas, will screen at Magnolia Theater, West Village in Uptown Dallas; Studio Movie Grill, Royal Lane; and Dallas Museum of Art.

For the first time at DIFF, all seats are reserved and tickets are available only through the Atom Tickets app or http://www.AtomTickets.com. Tickets will be available to pass holders beginning March 25 and to the public on March 27. For more information or to purchase passes, please visit go to http://www.dallasfilm.org,

But that’s not the only buzzworthy information about DIFF recently released from directors.

“At DIFF, we understand that film is the most relatable art form and connects individuals through shared experiences,” said James Faust, artistic director of Dallas Film. “Hundreds of hours went into hand selecting the films that will be screened at DIFF, and our goal is to offer a variety of fascinating, heartwarming, educational and insightful films that will be thought-provoking and relatable to DIFF festivalgoers. We have many engaging and entertaining events planned throughout the festival and are eager to provide a memorable festival experience for all who attend.”

This year’s lineup is extraordinary and is poised to bring Dallas screenings of performances by Elisabeth Moss, Lily Collins, and Zac Efron.

Sarah Mondale; Director of Backpack Full of Cash — holds out on elaborating on some education concerns in her film.

Sarah Mondale, the director of Backpack Full of Cash, has created a film that’s meant to spark some impressive conversations. She and I had one recently, despite some malfunctioning equipment. 

So to attempt to elucidate some deep elements of our conversation that she stated “weren’t in the film” and “weren’t what she usually spoke about” . . . she as a filmmaker, and I in my strange combinant dedication in filmmaking, Texas politics and publishing talked about our experiences with publicly-funded charters and our concerns both financial and ideological/structural with these institutions.

Sarah’s greatest concern eclipsed my usual attention paid to line-items paid out to nebulous administrators contributing questionable items of technology and curricula. She denoted that some charters, specifically requested by parents who wanted a more “reformatory” or “punitive” style of education to reach their children they were worried were on the wrong track.

I will admit that this element within all forms of education concerns me too, especially when it is aimed at minority populations. It’s troubling when other areas are primed for the to-prison pipeline, ideologically, and students of all backgrounds aren’t given what they need to thrive intellectually and physically, in trade and post-secondary training.

I regret I cannot bring you her direct words because of an equipment glitch — but I can say this — she is worth hearing speak more than once at your state convention, a private screening, or a phone call if she has time to grant it.

Host a screening of hers yourself (and potentially hear her speak) by contacting her at http://www.backpackfullofcash.com/host/

Dallas VideoFest presents Women and the Movies They Make

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We got a chance to talk to the amazing film essayist, professor and academic writer Shilyh Warren this week about DVF’s latest installment: Women and the Movies They Make in an interview she kindly granted on Monday. She granted us great insight to her process of curation.

Shilyh talked to us about some of the best films presented in this upcoming March 25th program taking place at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson which includes all the amazing women you haven’t yet heard about who  . . .  surprise, surprise have been making awesome films all along, well before the manipulative nature of Hollywood (and many other “official structures” for that matter) was exposed in the midst of the #metoo scandal.

In this clip Warren elaborates on Palestinan filmmaker Mona Hatoum’s work that is a series of letters to her mother as she wrestles with the concept of diaspora.

 

Presented by Dallas Video Fest in part with Women in Film Dallas and Flicks by Chicks. Special thanks to Women Make Movies, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Dallas Film Commission. This organization is funded in part by the City of Richardson through the City of Richardson Cultural Arts Commission.

 

Assistant Professor of Aesthetics and Film Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, Shilyh Warren’s essays on documentary and feminist filmmaking have appeared in Camera Obscura, South Atlantic Quarterly, Signs, Jump Cut, and Mediascape. She is also the co-editor of a special feature on feminist pedagogy and cinematic violence for Films for the Feminist Classroom.

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Pharrell Williams and Forest Whittaker’s Roxanne Roxanne has its upcoming Netflix premiere. Hip Hop Legend Spyder D is conisdering bio/historical pic of his own.

The legendary Spyder D is headed to New York to see two of his tracks as they appear in the Netflix Premeire of Pharrell Williams and Forrest Whittaker’s Roxanne, Roxanne today. This film looks like a can’t miss watch, but considering a crowd at Sundance and a Limited Release has already declared that, my opinion is only adding to the obvious fanfare about the ambitious (and well-recieved) project. Chanté Adams’s performance is clearly that compelling.

Word also has it that Spyder D is strongly considering a bio/historical pic chronicling the life and times of the legendary Power Play Studios and is talking to the right team to get it done.

We are definitely excited about the prospects of this project, for all the right reasons. There’s something about the art of the mix and the oral history that is just . . . appealing.

 

The Feetles play DVF30 AltFiction along with many other astounding acts.

It seems like in the age of Trump, it’s hard to tell which sock is right and which sock is left.  It’s as if the 1960’s reached out to tinge our present decade, but none of it is the good part where civil rights happen or women get liberated. It’s the same blather over and over again.

Who care’s if they’re legitimized? These sad men who can’t handle legitimate protest are all just trolls on Twitter in the end.

So what’s a person to do when every day civil liberty is eroding? Seek comfort, support and distraction. Live as though you’re forgetting that Nuclear Winter is just around the corner. Isn’t that what we did then?

Maybe we should all be after a better sense of nostalgia.

Like those invoked by parodies of sock puppets who are quite glad their lady love has washed them.

Just ask Bart Weiss, artistic director of VideoFest for his inspiration.

“There’s lots of talk today about alternative facts and political narratives. The line between fact and fiction in life and in cinema is blurring.

Filmmakers are making TV; TV shows become feature films. Who can even define what the idea of television is anymore with networks along with the gamut of streaming services? DVF30’s AltFiction Fest devotes the weekend to ways of telling stories on large screens and small – film and TV and web – mixing media and mediums,” said Bart Weiss, founder and artistic director of Dallas VideoFest.

The narratives that make up the majority of AltFiction Fest explore this moment in time at the intersection between media and how cinema artists can create original work in this new world.

“Over the 4 days at the Angelika, a great palace of traditional cinema exhibition, AltFiction Fest features new works from local and international filmmaker telling unique stories, working the edges and sometimes the centers of this world,” said Weiss.

See THE FEETLES, a short produced in the Dallas area by the ever-growing in popularity “Sock Puppet Parody” YouTube collective, and many other offerings ready to lift your spirits at Dallas VideoFest #DVF30AltFiction. 

Saving Brinton chronicles Michael Zahs’ journey to preserve cinematic history.

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A small-town Iowan collector cum hoarder, Michael Zahs, attempts to attract as much attention as he can to a treasure trove of American cinematic history in Saving Brinton — a documentary that chronicles his journey to share the contents of a box carelessly marked “Brinton Crap” found in a basement of a farmhouse in 1981.

When it comes to works that document a fanatic’s concern with details, that other people might have a harder time grasping (think Strad Style) this offering blends some awkward moments of rejection with moments of great reception from just the right audiences.

Tommy Haines and John Richard create a straightforward storytelling style makes this documentary one that delivers the facts with just a bit of wry humor.

The technology presented in Saving Brinton is fascinating. There are color projections and moving pieces that seem almost too advanced and complicated for the 1800’s that the Brintons were screening for sold out audiences across the American Heartland — that in many cases were a person or town’s first exposure to the moving picture.

But, unfortunately for Zahs, it seems people aren’t as interested in the minutiae of Victorian history as they used to be, unless they’re academics or film fanatics. The film literally depicts someone walking out on him as he’s explaining the painstaking detail of a Brinton production. Perhaps it’s a bit passe to be in love with the fruits of colonization that excluded other groups these days, even when they’re technological advancements. Maybe it’s just hard to capture an Iowan’s imagination.

I don’t get it. I’m certainly fascinated.

Zahs eventually makes some traction with the public once he screens the films at the oldest continually-operating cinema in the world — where they originally once did. That’s a long journey for films that almost made it to a dump if it weren’t for his intervention.

This offering out of Northland Films can currently be seen in Texas on Saturday 10/7 as part of Dallas VideoFest DocuFest.