Flannery is a documentary that details the life of an amazing writer who still resonates with the world.

Flannery previewed at DallasVideoFest Docufest to a riveted audience that appreciated the life and times of one of America’s most interesting writers.

There’s a particular energy that Elizabeth Coffman exudes when speaking on the subject of Flannery O’Connor and her Southern Gothic canon of work that exposed the prejudice of a nation.

Noting that what is often considered “Southern Prejudice” is really, honestly “American Prejudice” and “found all over,” Coffman stated that Southern Gothic is an artform that conveys a message for humanity, as she discovered in her documentary process as we spoke.

There has been no better time for a film that so deeply and accurately details the life of a famed writer through the work she inspired, the people she knew and the stories people told about her.

Look for it traveling the festival circuit this fall before it hits your local Public Access station. It has upcoming stops in Austin, Hot Springs and Austin.

 

“A Woman’s Work” by Yu Gu highlights the exploitative practices of the NFL against its barely-paid Cheerleaders.

There has never been a film that has made me more glad I grew up “acculturated against professional sports,” and in some senses “male,” than this one.

In high school, I played guitar and shredded better than most men. I knocked my peers on their feet in combat with my Sarah McLaughlin haircut that made people scream “Lesbo.” I made highest marks in Stoichiometry and AP History. I produced news content at the “student executive” level.

I slept with and broke the heart of any man I wanted, sometimes in an act of deliberate egocentricism. Some of them were running backs and quarterbacks — and wrestling captains. I laughed at trophies and brought home my letters and medals. My self-esteem never suffered. I knew the game was impossibly stacked and learned not to care about anyone or anything, deep down in that place inside that makes a person invincibly tough. A therapist and I figured out in my adulthood that — “schadenfreude and enjoyment at the emotional collapse of a male sex partner for the unfair expectations he possesses of the world to serve him,” is likely a difficult orientation to rehabilitate.

“So you only really sexually enjoy activity with men if you break them somehow.”

“Yes.”

“But women?”

“No longer excite me. In my youthful experimentation, I was very kind, loving, supportive, and respectful of boundaries.”

“So you’re not attracted to them?”

“No. Not really, physically. In my youth I was always in one altered state or another and angry with men for the state of the world.”

“But you’re not asexual?”

“No. I orgasm six and seven times daily and am most classically described as oversexed.”

“Curious.”

 

Before I joined the military in my 20’s, I almost took a job in the broadcast industry, aligned with my almost associate’s degree, selling advertising time during football and basketball games.

But a little inner voice I thought was “God” told me to turn it down, flatly, and enlist the same way my  college foray with the Cheerleading team asking me if I wanted to join resulted in laughter and my time in graduate school had me pledging a fraternity I didn’t finish out the requirements on.

That journey through the military a terrifying marriage and a husband who tried to re-acculturate me California Baptist “female” through a series of drugs and rapes supported by our nation’s mental health system, graduate school, communes, activist enclaves and watching my mother’s subsequent genocide by Evangelical Lutherans for being at her core raised by a Jewish, Feminist Atheist, has made me “unique.”

I see abuse for what it is — all over the system. It makes me untenable to a lot of people. Some still threaten forcible Kirkbride-era inspired medical treatment for talking about how factory farmed meat literally severs the arms of undocumented teenagers who can’t see doctors, because their charity really needs to feed unwitting AIDS patients spiral ham and Factory Farm Charoset for Passover with no intellectual challenge or organic non-GMO root beer at the table.

As YuGu so aptly highlights, women are literally making next to nothing and are paying thousands of dollars to appear in calendars they don’t get proceeds from while men make millions to give one an other concussions and create a programming block to place commercials that sell food made with coerced, undocumented child labor stolen from unstable countries.

These women are conditioned from childhood to find this rewarding while they are robbed of all personal power and identity in strength. Her storytelling ability is strong and all of the women in this film have always deserved much more in terms of identity and compensation.

I’m completely done Western Civ. There is simply nothing left to stick a fork into that isn’t patently exploitative to the world’s children, women, or the environment.

But if you’re going to do something this weekend, get a bar of fair-trade chocolate and see this film at VideoFest’s Docufest tonight along with a lineup of films highlighting the often overlooked careers of women.

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.

Time for Ilhan: A Well-Made Biopic that Chronicles the rise to fame of a Boundary Breaking Somali Congresswoman.

I as a voter, as an “American,” as someone who favors Western Values, am utterly and totally confused by Ilhan Omar as a politician.

I’m not confused by how she wins a constituency. She resonates with her district’s values, a Somali refugee diaspora, women of color, and those tired of politics with a male-preferent rationale. I get this, and I understand why this group is strongly-interested in changing the scale and conversation in American politics.

I’m not confused as to how she wins the hearts of people. As her adorable daughter pontificates that she is “President” of the house, because she takes care of her children, it’s not hard to agree. Good mothers make good community leaders. It’s a good value to instill in a politician–or a human being, taking care of others.

Ilhan is very human, which is something her detractors don’t generally grant her enough credit for and it’s absolutely time they stopped.

She’s quite the opposite of some kind of hijabed monster, out to kill family values, and there’s really not much reason to think she is one, despite her detractors.

She’s got a wonderful family and she takes good care of it despite having lived through a lot of turmoil.

She’s got a strong community, even though it comes together after being fractured. She’s the picture of inspiration. That’s why — in some respects the rest of her platform is so confusing.

The thing I don’t understand about Ilhan, is that she is vehement support of anything meant to bring down Israel’s economy without explicitly fighting for an economy in Gaza that isn’t run by the more militant members of Hamas, because of Israel’s actions to defend itself.

If Hamas would run Gaza and all it could claim as Al Shabaab would run Somalia, wouldn’t you at least be fighting for a more liberal PNA and a less militarized Israel — and perhaps a Gaza that gets stronger and more liberated on accepting pacifist, feminist values and free trade on a world scale?

Palestinians, and Muslims in general have got an international and national stage like they’ve never had before, and I’m glad of it. I often wish it wasn’t as easily dismissible by the Right as, “All they want is Israel’s death, instead of its cooperation in increasing autonomy and peaceable action.”

Everyone’s eerily silent about the recent ruling in Detroit to make FGM possible in U.S. jurisdictions. Not just the Muslim politicians you’d expect to take offense, because they’ve experienced the brunt of the problem.

Why be a U.S. refugee if it’s not going to be markedly different for the little girl’s hair you’re braiding at all?

I want you here. I like that you have organized power. I just wish it spoke more to the issues you don’t want your daughter to face in raising her here than enabling cultures of militancy that even Egypt wants to subdue.

The doc is emotional and riveting, and it’s obvious to see why it’s an award winner. I just can’t get over the politics, the politics that want to destroy a singular country instead of terror factions — instead of governments destroying democracy all over the Middle East and world.

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/