The Dallas Film Festival has me intrigued. If I hadn't committed to covering Tribeca I might have jumped on a plane and gone to Texas. But I can't go so I'm going to throw this out to you who are not going to Tribeca to go and enjoy.
In all seriousness the festival looks awesome based on the dozen or so films we've seen already. Its so awesome that I'm trying to figure out how to get access to a large double handful of films. I don't think it will happen but I'm hoping it does.
Right now I'm giving you the press release they sent out listing all the films-shortened to remove all the shorts. I've done this because if I don't you'll be reading until next Tuesday. I will follow this up with a curtain raiser linking to all our previous reviews and giving you word on the films that over lap with Tribeca
This is a festival you want to go to- you just don't realize it yet.
The Dallas Film Society announces the full schedule for the
10th edition of the Dallas International
Film Festival (April 14-24)
Academy Award-nominated DP Ed Lachman will receive the Dallas Star Award,
and legendary director Monte Hellman will receive
the first L.M. “Kit” Carson Maverick Award
USA Network’s Queen of the South debuts first episode
on the big screen as Centerpiece presentation
Nine world premieres include Shaun M. Colón’s A FAT WRECK,
Alix Blair and Jeremy M. Lange’s FARMER/VETERAN,
Ben Caird’s HALFWAY, Ciaran Creagh’s IN VIEW,
Jeff Barry’s OCCUPY, TEXAS, Willie Baronet and
Tim Chumley’s SIGNS OF HUMANITY, Jenna Jackson and Anthony Jackson’s
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT, and the next episode in
Randal Kleiser’s VR series, Defrost
Dallas, TX (March 21, 2016) – The Dallas Film Society today announced the full schedule of film selections for the 10th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival. The list of titles and events are led by an Opening Weekend Celebration at the Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora Street), Presented by One Arts Plaza on April 14-17. Centerpiece Gala presentations include the first episode for the USA Network’s locally shot new television series, Queen of the South, and the previously announced selection of Chris Kelly’s OTHER PEOPLE. The famed Dallas Star Award will be presented to Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, Ed Lachman, and the inaugural presentation of the L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Filmmaker Award to director Monte Hellman. The Opening Weekend Celebration will serve as one of the anchor events for Dallas Arts Week (April 10-17) as DIFF continues to put film on the arts pedestal in the City of Dallas.
Among the 113 films (63 features, 50 shorts), representing 31 countries, are nine films making their world premieres, including Shaun M. Colón’s A FAT WRECK, Alix Blair and Jeremy M. Lange’s FARMER/VETERAN, Ben Caird’s HALFWAY, Ciaran Creagh’s IN VIEW, Jeff Barrry’s OCCUPY, TEXAS, Willie Baronet and Tim Chumley’s SIGNS OF HUMANITY, and Jenna Jackson and Anthony Jackson’s UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT joining the previously announced THREE DAYS IN AUGUST (directed by Johnathan Brownlee) and DAYLIGHT’S END (directed by William Kaufman), as well as the world premiere of the next episode in Randal Kleiser’s groundbreaking VR series, Defrost. U.S Premieres include Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang’s HOTEL DALLAS, and Emre Şahin’s TAKIM (THE TEAM), as well as the previously announced ORION (directed by Asiel Norton).
Films in the Narrative Competition are: Carlo Lavagna’s ARIANNA, Maris Curran’s FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE, Ben Caird’s HALFWAY, Creagh’s IN VIEW, Diego Luna’s MR. PIG, Greg Kwedar’s TRANSPECOS, and Elizabeth Wood’s WHITE GIRL
Films in the Documentary Feature Competition are: Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s THE BAD KIDS, Garrett Zevgetis’s BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS, Blair and Lange’s FARMER/VETERAN, Nanfu Wang’s HOOLIGAN SPARROW, Patrick Shen’s IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE, Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca’s THE PEARL, and Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s SONITA.
The recipients of the 2016 DIFF awards will receive MOVIE MAGIC Budgeting and Scheduling software bundles from Entertainment Partners.
Films in the Texas Competition (with the winner receiving a camera rental package valued at $30,000 courtesy of Panavision) are: Berndt Mader’s BOOGER RED, Kaufman’s DAYLIGHT’S END, Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas’s HONKY TONK HEAVEN: LEGEND OF THE BROKEN SPOKE, Jeff Barry’s OCCUPY, TEXAS, Clay Liford’s SLASH, Keith Maitland‘s TOWER, and Jenna Jackson and Anthony Jackson’s UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.
Films eligible for the Silver Heart Award (Presented by the Embrey Family Foundation and bestowed on an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity. The Silver Heart Award winner receives a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Embrey Family Foundation) include: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger’s THE ANTHROPOLOGIST, Fulton and Pepe’s THE BAD KIDS, Blair and Lange’s FARMER/VETERAN, Wang’s HOOLIGAN SPARROW, Dimmock and LaMarca’s THE PEARL, Maghami’s SONITA, and Jackson and Jackson’s UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.
The Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation Audience Awards will be presented to: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film.
“This year’s 10th anniversary edition of the Dallas International Film Festival appropriately does what we do best: present films from around the world, independently produced, and locally shot productions, that are entertaining, exciting, surprising, and challenging for Dallas audiences to see for the first and possibly the only time,” said James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society. “In our 10th year, we will once again bring to Dallas our favorite films from the festival circuit, as well as new discoveries, we’ll celebrate the work of film legends and amazing artists behind the camera, and we’ll add some brand new, fun wrinkles to our programming – like the debut of a locally shot television series. and the next episode of a new VR series, as well.”
As a nod to the vibrant film and television production hub that the city of Dallas has been over the past decade, DIFF will debut the first episode of the USA Network’s new series, Queen of the South as its Centerpiece presentation on Saturday, April 16 at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Based on the global best-selling novel “La Reina Del Sur,” by internationally-acclaimed author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Queen of the South is a thrilling drama following the journey and exploits of a woman (played by Alice Braga) who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her boyfriend, a drug-dealer, is murdered in Mexico. As she faces new challenges and dangers, she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run.
On Friday, April 15, DIFF will also make a special presentation of the world premiere of Willie Baronet and Tim Chumley’s documentary, SIGNS OF HUMANITY at the Dallas City Performance Hall. The film documents artist and professor Willie Baronet’s cross-country trip from Seattle to New York City as part of his ongoing campaign to purchase more than 1,000 homeless signs over the past 22 years, then use them to create installations to raise awareness about homelessness. Since the film festival’s inception, the Dallas Film Society has made a dedicated effort toward working with and contributing to local Dallas-based charities and non-profits, and once again, putting their “film festival” where their heart is, DIFF and The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center will utilize the screening of the film as a fundraiser to aid Dallas’ homeless community and those in need.
Three world premieres promise to be major events in Dallas, with the likelihood of more than a few emotional moments on screen and in-person. Caird’s HALFWAY looks at the systemic failure of the American prison system via a drama starring THE BLIND SIDE’s Quinton Aaron, and a supporting cast including Jeffrey DeMunn (The Walking Dead), Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City), and Gillian Zinser (90210), with several expected to be in attendance. Barry’s OCCUPY, TEXAS is a locally produced drama that follows a washed up Occupier who returns home after the death of his parents to find himself responsible for his two teenage sisters and his Texas-sized past. The film’s cast includes Gene Gallerano, Lorelei Linklater, Catherine Elvir, Janine Turner, Nikki Moore, Reed Birney, Paul Benjamin, David Matranga and Peri Gilpin with some expected to be on hand at the screening. Jackson and Jackson’s UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT, about a 2006 case where a four-year-old died mysteriously of salt poisoning and his foster mother was charged with capital murder, and sent to prison for life is almost certain to inspire an emotional response from the Dallas audiences.
A heartfelt drama, Ciaran Creagh’s IN VIEW, and a stirring documentary, Alix Blair and Jeremy M. Lange’s FARMER/VETERAN will also make their world premieres at DIFF. IN VIEW follows a woman’s extreme attempt to right a wrong, make peace with a past drunken indiscretion and placate her soul, while FARMER/VETERAN deals with an Iraq war veteran’s struggles to acclimate himself to life on the farm, as he is haunted by, and actually missing somewhat, the experience of war. Another documentary making its world premiere is Shaun M. Colón’s A FAT WRECK, which tells the story of founders Fat Mike (of the legendary punk band NOFX) and his ex-wife Erin Kelly-Burkett, spanning the birth, growth, struggles, and survival of the Fat Wreck Chords label.
Randal Kleiser’s VR series, Defrost, stars Tanna Frederick (who also produces), Harry Hamlin, Bruce Davison, Christopher Atkins and Carl Weathers, in a virtual reality experience of a woman who has been awakened after being cryogenically frozen for 30 years. She immediately finds her family has aged while she has not, and in some cases have become strangers to her now. The debut episode made a splash at Sundance, and this would be the first opportunity for the public to experience the next episode in the series – which places the viewer in the newly revived woman’s shoes and allows them to see the world as she sees it and her family and friends, as they interact with her. Kleiser, Frederick and one of the other stars from the project will be in attendance and participate in a special panel on storytelling in the VR world.
A hallmark of the Dallas International Film Festival has been presentation of the Dallas Star Award. Joining the illustrious group of legends and notable film artists that have received the award, will be cinematographer Ed Lachman. Nominated for an Academy Award this year for his sublime work on Todd Haynes’ masterpiece CAROL, and known for his masterful and influential work on films like DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, TRUE STORIES, LIGHT SLEEPER, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, ERIN BROCKOVICH, and LIFE DURING WARTIME, Lachman will receive his award during the DFS Honors Presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation event at The Highland Dallas (5300 E. Mockingbird Lane) on Friday, April 22, as well as participate in a special Q&A following the screening of another of his classic collaborations with Haynes, FAR FROM HEAVEN, for which he received his first Oscar nomination.
This year will also mark the first presentation of the L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Filmmaker Award. Named after the iconic and influential Texas film artist (PARIS, TEXAS) who was a true friend of the film festival and frequent attendee, and designed to honor filmmakers that exemplify the unique visionary work that Carson was known for, the Maverick Award will first go to director Monte Hellman. In a career spanning six decades, Hellman has personified cutting edge filmmaking across multiple genres, working within budgets from high-to-low, and cast from stars to unknowns. Two films in particular, THE SHOOTING (1966), and TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971) are examples of Hellman’s rare ability to take two vastly different genres - the western and the road movie, and deconstruct, strip them down, and make them into singular entries in what is a remarkably diverse filmography.
Hellman began working with legendary producer Roger Corman, debuting with BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE (1959), and later delivered another of his more notable films, RIDE THE WHIRLWIND (1966) for Corman, further cementing his reputation among critics, fellow filmmakers, and cinephiles, as a director with a singular and influential style. After an unusually long hiatus (more than 20 years), Hellman came back to the big screen with a vengeance with the visionary neo noir, ROAD TO NOWHERE (2010).
The Maverick section will include Ungur and Huang’s HOTEL DALLAS, which mixes fiction and documentary in a story set in the 80s, in the twilight of communist Romania, where Dallas is the only American show allowed on TV. The show inspires a man to build the Hotel Dallas, a life-size copy of the “Dallas” mansion, while his daughter immigrates to America, becomes an artist, and directs a film starring Patrick Duffy, as a soap opera character who dies in Texas and wakes up in Romania, in a hotel that looks just like home. And to continue the meta-theme, Duffy is expected to attend the screening. Norton’s gritty ORION stars David Arquette and Lily Cole in a sci-fi film set in a future dark age, after civilization has collapsed, where rumors and prophecies of a savior has survivors on edge. Meanwhile, a hunter fights to save a maiden from a cannibal shaman and searches for the world's last city. Arquette is also expected to attend the screening.
Previously announced, is a special concert and screening celebrating the career of award-winning composer John Williams at the Dallas City Performance Hall on Saturday, April 16. The Dallas Winds, also honoring a significant anniversary – their 30th, begin the afternoon with a performance of some of Williams’s signature works. A Q&A with Dallas Winds Artistic Director and Conductor, Jerry Junkin, will follow as the Hall is prepared for a special screening of Steven Spielberg’s family classic, E.T. – THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, which will also include a special Q&A with the film’s star, Henry Thomas.
Additional highlights among the feature film selections in this year’s edition of DIFF include Ben Wheatley’s highly anticipated HIGH-RISE, starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, Luke Evans, and Jeremy Irons, ONCE’s John Carney’s musical romance SING STREET, Elizabeth Wood’s controversial semi-autobiographical WHITE GIRL., and another fascinating narrative/documentary hybrid, BOOGER RED. Directed by Berndt Mader, BOOGER RED delves into the American legal system, as it examines an investigation of purportedly the largest child sex ring in Texas history--inside of a swinger’s club in Mineola, TX.
Award winners from past festivals also dot the schedule, including recent SXSW winners, like Greg Kwedar’s TRANSPECOS (Narrative Film Audience Award), Keith Maitland’s TOWER (Documentary Grand Jury and Audience Award), and HONKY TONK HEAVEN: LEGEND OF THE BROKEN SPOKE (24 Beats Per Second Audience Award), joining the previously announced selection of Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s SONITA, which was the winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards. Finally, the celebration of films enjoying anniversaries themselves along with DIFF itself include the 20th Anniversary of Julia Dyer’s delightful lesbian comic romance, LATE BLOOMERS (1996), and Mike Nichols’ acidic relationship parlor game, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (1966), celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
Once again, the Dallas Film Society has teamed up with DART for their successful partnership called DART to DIFF. Many DIFF activities and events take place in the heart of Dallas and the partnership with DART will provide quick and convenient transportation for all festival attendees.
Online ticket sales will be available for Dallas Film Society members beginning Monday, March 21 at DallasFilm.org, and will open to the public on Thursday, March 24. The physical Prekindle Box Office at Mockingbird Station will open on Thursday, March 31.
THE 2016 DIFF OFFICIAL SELECTIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS
CENTERPIECE GALA SELECTION
Director: Chris Kelly
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
A struggling New York City comedy writer, fresh from breaking up with his boyfriend, moves to Sacramento to help his sick mother. Living with his conservative father and younger sisters, David feels like a stranger in his childhood home. As his mother worsens, he tries to convince everyone (including himself) he’s “doing okay.” The film stars Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons.
CENTERPIECE GALA SELECTION
Queen of the South - Pilot
Director: Charlotte Sieling
Country: USA, Running Time: 42min
Based on the global best-selling novel “La Reina Del Sur,” by internationally-acclaimed author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), a woman who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico. In the process, she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run.
Director: Joshua Marston
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
As a man (Michael Shannon) contemplates moving to a new state with his wife for her graduate program, an old flame (Rachel Weisz) - a woman who often changes identities - reenters his life at a birthday dinner party.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Country: UK, Running Time: 119min
HIGH-RISE stars Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, the newest resident of a luxurious apartment in a high-tech concrete skyscraper whose lofty location places him amongst the upper class. Laing quickly settles into high society life and meets the building’s eccentric tenants: Charlotte (Sienna Miller), his upstairs neighbor and bohemian single mother; Wilder (Luke Evans), a charismatic documentarian who lives with his pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss); and Mr. Royal (Jeremy Irons), the enigmatic architect who designed the building. Life seems like paradise to the solitude-seeking Laing. But as power outages become more frequent and building flaws emerge, particularly on the lower floors, the regimented social strata begins to crumble and the building becomes a battlefield in a literal class war.
MORRIS FROM AMERICA
Director: Chad Hartigan
Country: USA/Germany, Running Time: 89min
A heartwarming and crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy with a unique spin, Morris from America centers on Morris Gentry, a 13-year-old who has just relocated with his single father to Heidelberg, Germany. Morris, who fancies himself the next Notorious B.I.G., is a complete fish-out-of-water—a budding hip-hop star in an EDM world. To complicate matters further, Morris quickly falls hard for his cool, rebellious, 15-year-old classmate Katrin.
Director: John Carney
Country: Ireland/USA/UK, Running Time: 105min
SING STREET tales us back to 1980s Dublin seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old-boy named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles, while trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, über-cool and beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton), and with the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in the band’s music videos. There’s only one problem: he’s not part of a band…yet. She agrees and now Conor must deliver what he’s promised – calling himself “Cosmo” and immersing himself in the vibrant rock trends of the decade, he forms a band with a few lads, and the group pours their heart into writing lyrics and shooting videos.
A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
Director: Natalie Portman
Country: Israel/USA, Running Time: 98min
Based on Amos Oz's international best-seller, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS is the story of Oz's youth at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details young Amos' relatinship with his mother and his birth as a writer, looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live.
THREE DAYS IN AUGUST – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Johnathan Brownlee
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
Starring Barry Bostwick, Meg Foster, and Mariette Hartley, the film is about an Irish American artist who is forced to confront her past when both sets of parents come together over a weekend for her to paint a family portrait.
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Director: Carlo Lavagna
Country: Italy, Running Time: 84min
At the age of nineteen, Arianna still hasn’t had her first period. The hormones that her gynaecologist has prescribed don't seem to have any effect on her development. In the heat of the silent summer afternoons she spends in the family’s hunting lodge in Tuscany, she starts inquiring about her body and her past, to finally face with the true nature of her sexuality and her true identity.
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE
Director: Maris Curran
Country: USA, Running Time: 82min
Sherwin is a good man, flawed like any other, but deeply invested in his family and in love with his wife, Fiona. When she returns from visiting her estranged and ill mother and acts distant, he shows concern. Their conversations lead to fights, the worst in their marriage. Fiona no longer sees herself as a mother; she does not want children. Sherwin is confused and angry. The life they have built begins to break down. And before there can be resolution, Fiona dies, in an auto accident after driving distractedly on the freeway. Sherwin is devastated. All that is dear to him — his wife, his sense of self and his future, vanish. In the middle of his grief, Sherwin receives a phone call from the person he least expects, Fiona’s mother. She invites him to visit her in rural Maine, saying: “it might do us both some good.” Sherwin decides to go to Maine, and embarks on an unlikely journey of healing, compassion and empathy.
Director: Ben Caird
Country: USA, Running Time: 103min
Starring Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side) and Jeff DeMunn (The Walking Dead), HALFWAY tells the story of a recently released convict who faces the conflict of enduring ties with his old criminal world while struggling to adapt to life on probation as the only black man in a conservative white farm town. Among prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 roughly 68% were rearrested within 3 years with over 75% rearrested within 5 years. Halfway wants to bring to light that there is a serious systematic failure within the American prison system, where a lack of opportunity for those who have transgressed in their past seems to guarantee a future behind bars.
IN VIEW – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Ciaran Creagh
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 93min
Ruth’s life is one of burgeoning guilt dominated by rage, alcoholism, depression and self-loathing which has its origins in a once-off drunken indiscretion with a work colleague some years previous. Having lost all that was dear to her, Ruth is still trying to seek out help but is coming to realize that there is only one course of action that may placate her soul. To end her life so as her organs can be donated to help others which will, in her mind, be payback for her perceived sins.
Director: Diego Luna
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 100min
Eubanks (Danny Glover), an old-school pig farmer from California, leaves his foreclosed family farm and sets off on a road trip to Mexico with Howard, his last beloved and very large pig. Ambrose must smuggle Howard across the border to find him a new home. As they embark across Mexico, Eubanks’ drinking and deteriorating health begin to take a toll, derailing their plans. His estranged daughter, Eunice (Maya Rudolph), shows up unexpectedly and joins them on their adventure. Driven by strong convictions and stubbornness in his old ways, Ambrose forges ahead to make sure he finds Howard the home he deserves and potentially mend many of the relationships that mean the most to him.
Director: Greg Kwedar
Country: USA, Running Time: 85min
On a remote desert highway, a makeshift Border Patrol checkpoint is manned by three agents: Flores (Gabriel Luna): with an uncanny ability to track; Davis (Johnny Simmons): joined the Border Patrol with dreams of romancing señoritas and riding on horseback; Hobbs (Clifton Collins Jr): one of the old guard who believes a college degree can’t stop a bullet. It's like most boring days, but soon the contents of one car will change everything. What follows is a journey to uncover the surreal, frightening secrets hidden behind the facade of this lonely outpost. The end of the path may cost them their lives along a border where the line between right and wrong shifts like the desert itself.
Director: Elizabeth Wood
Country: USA, Running Time: 88min
Summer, New York City. A college girl falls hard for a guy she just met. After a night of partying goes wrong, she goes to wild extremes to get him back.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
THE BAD KIDS
Directors: Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe
Country: USA, Running Time: 101min
At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age drama watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called "bad kids."
BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS
Director: Garrett Zevgetis
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Off a dirt road in rural Maine, a precocious 20-year-old woman named Michelle Smith lives with her mother Julie. Michelle is quirky and charming, legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with big dreams and varied passions. Searching for connection, Michelle explores love and empowerment outside the limits of “normal” through a provocative fringe community. Will she take the leap to experience the wide world for herself? Michelle’s joyful story of self-discovery celebrates outcasts everywhere.
FARMER/VETERAN – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Alix Blair, Jeremy M. Lange
Country: USA, Running Time: 82min
After three combat tours in Iraq, Alex Sutton attempts a fresh start hatching chickens and raising goats on 43 acres in rural North Carolina. Alex embraces life on the farm with his new love Jessica, but cycles between a state of heightened alert and “feeling zombified” from a cocktail of prescriptions meant to stabilize his injured mind. When Jessica becomes pregnant, the dark past Alex has tried to escape -the loss of his first family, the war he was forced to leave- closes in on him. The farm becomes another battleground. Farmer/Veteran attempts to reconcile the identity of a perfect soldier with the reality of a haunted man determined to hold onto the best chance at peace he has ever known.
Director: Nanfu Wang
Country: China, Running time: 84min
Traversing southern China, a group of activists led by Ye Haiyan (AKA Sparrow) protest a scandalous incident where a school principal and a government official allegedly raped six school girls. Sparrow becomes an enemy of the state, but detentions, interrogations, and evictions can’t stop her protest from going viral.
IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE
Director: Patrick Shen
Country: USA, Running Time 81min
In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s seminal silent composition 4’33”, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives.
Directors: Jessica Dimmock, Christopher LaMarca
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
THE PEARL explores the raw emotional and physical experience of being a middle aged to senior transgender woman against the backdrop of post-industrial logging towns in the Pacific Northwest. The film leans into the struggle of those who were reared and successful as men and have reached middle age or later with a burdensome secret they can no longer keep to themselves.
Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Country: Germany/Iran/Switzerland, Running Time: 91min
Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, SONITA tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she's worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita's story unfolds in an intimate and joyful portrait.
TEXAS COMPETITION – SPONSORED BY PANAVISION
Director: Berndt Mader
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
Booger Red is a hybrid narrative/documentary film where fictional journalist, Onur Tukel, investigates the true case of the ‘Mineola Swingers Club’ trials. In 2006, seven people were sentenced to life for purportedly running the largest child sex ring in Texas history--inside of a swingers club in Mineola, Tx. Onur, portraying a veteran reporter, interviews the actual defendants and lawyers involved in the trials. On his journey through the seedy underbelly of east Texas, Onur is forced to confront his own history with abuse while he discovers that the allegations at the root of his investigation might have never happened.
DAYLIGHT’S END – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: William Kaufman
Country: USA, Running Time: 105min
Shot in Dallas and points ranging from East Texas to the West Texas town of Rio (pop. 3) along the famed Route 66, the film is a hard driving action-horror-thriller starring Johnny Strong, Lance Henriksen and Louis Mandylor. It focuses on a rogue drifter who's on a vengeful hunt, years after a mysterious plague has devastated the planet and turned most of humanity into blood-hungry creatures. When he stumbles across a desperate band of survivors in an abandoned police station, the drifter reluctantly puts his own thirst for blood on hold and agrees to help them defend themselves, only to realize that his mission of revenge and theirs may in fact coincide.
HONKY TONK HEAVEN: LEGEND OF THE BROKEN SPOKE
Directors: Brenda Greene Mitchell, Sam Wainwright Douglas
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
George Strait, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, George Jones and Roy Acuff have all been regulars on stage at the world famous honky tonk, The Broken Spoke. With fifty years under its belt buckle “the last of the true Texas dance halls” has endured rapid urban growth and skyrocketing rents due to the passion and hard work of its charismatic, tenacious owners. More than a history of who played and when at this landmark venue, the film reveals a universal story about what it takes to maintain a family business in our increasingly corporate-driven society. Interviews include Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dale Watson, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, the Waco Brothers and Alvin Crow.
OCCUPY, TEXAS – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Jeff Barry
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
OCCUPY, TEXAS follows a washed up Occupier (Gene Gallerano) who returns home after the death of his parents to find himself responsible for his two teenage sisters (Lorelei Linklater and Catherine Elvir) and his Texas-sized past. The cast also includes Janine Turner, Nikki Moore, Reed Birney, Paul Benjamin, David Matranga and Peri Gilpin.
Director: Clay Liford
Country: USA, Running time 100min
Neil is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. His main social outlet is the steamy erotic fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the fearless, effortlessly cool Julia comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis. When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia.
Director: Keith Maitland
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way, TOWER reveals the action-packed untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
Directors: Jenna Jackson, Anthony Jackson
Country: USA, Running Time: 108min
In October 2006 a four-year-old from Corpus Christi named Andrew Burd died mysteriously of salt poisoning. His foster mother, Hannah Overton, was charged with capital murder, vilified from all quarters, and sent to prison for life. But was this churchgoing young woman a vicious child killer? Or had the tragedy claimed its second victim?
Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST considers the fate of the planet through the eyes of an American teenager, whose mother is studying the impact of climate change on indigenous communities. Environmental anthropologist Susie Crate drags her teenage daughter Katie along with her to the farthest reaches of the globe. Featuring commentary from Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead, the film explores how human beings adapt to catastrophic change.
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Country: USA, Running Time: 89min
LIFE, ANIMATED tells the remarkable story of how Owen found in Disney animation a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world. By evocatively interweaving classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life, the film explores how identification and empathy with characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel forge a conduit for him to understand his feelings and interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations further give form to Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity in a tribe of sidekicks. With an arsenal of narratives at his disposal, Owen rises to meet the challenges of adulthood in this moving coming-of-age tale.
LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD
Director: Werner Herzog
Country: USA, Running Time 98min
In LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, the Oscar-nominated Herzog chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination he previously trained on earthly destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works - from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships.
TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU
Director: Joe Berlinger
Country: USA, Running Time: 115min
TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU, Joe Berlinger’s twelfth feature documentary, captures internationally renowned life and business strategist and best-selling author, Tony Robbins, in a revelatory cinéma vérité film that goes behind the scenes of his mega once-a-year seminar “Date With Destiny," attended by over 2,500 people, to give an insider look at how one man can affect millions. Granted never before seen access, this film is an emotional tour de force, pulling back the curtain on Tony Robbins and unveiling the inner-workings of this life-altering and controversial event, the zealous participants and the man himself.
Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
With unrestricted access to Anthony Weiner's New York City mayoral campaign, this film reveals the human story behind the scenes of a high-profile political scandal as it unfolds, and offers an unfiltered look at how much today's politics is driven by an appetite for spectacle.
Director: Attila Szász
Country: Hungary, Running Time: 88min
The story of three women - a famous prostitute, her housekeeper and their new maid - living in Budapest of 1910s, whose passionate, bizarre and complex relationship can only lead to one thing: murder.
Director: Jacques Audiard
Country: France, Running Time: 110min
Three Sri Lankan refugees pose as a family to flee their war-ravaged homeland for France, only to find themselves embroiled in violence in the Parisian suburbs. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jacques Audiard's (A PROPHET) latest is a gripping, human, and timely tale of survival.
Director: Alice Winocour
Country: France, Running Time: 101min
Vincent, a French Special Forces soldier just back from Afghanistan, is suffering from
a post-traumatic stress disorder. He is hired to ensure the security of Jessie, the
wife of a rich businessman at their luxurious villa “Maryland.” As he starts experiencing a strange fascination for the woman he has to protect, Vincent increasingly seems to fall into paranoia. Unless he is right, and the danger is very real indeed…
JOHNNIE TO’S OFFICE
Director: Johnnie To
Country: Hong Kong, Running Time: 120min
Adapted by actress Sylvia Chang from her hit stage play “Design For Living”, the film is a musical set in a corporate high-rise immediately before and after the 2008 financial collapse. The story centers around two assistants starting new jobs at a financial firm. One naively enters the world of high finance with noble intentions, while the other harbors a secret. Chow Yun-fat, Eason Chan and Tang Wei star alongside Chang.
KILL ZONE 2
Director: Cheang Pou-soi
Country: Hong Kong, Running Time: 120min
A undercover cop attempts to find the mastermind of a drug syndicate. When his cover is blown, he winds up in a Thai prison. Surprisingly, he is a bone marrow match for a guard's daughter.
Director: Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli
Country: Italy, Running Time: 94min
A sailing boat is at anchor in a bay off of a Apulian island. Naomi, a young Japanese woman, after having lost custody of her six year-old son, Ken, will be spending her last four days with him on board the boat of her father-in-law. In a hostile environment, Naomi faces the difficulty of approaching Ken under the controlling glare of the crew. Alex notices Naomi’s attempts to connect with Ken and eases his control, entering into conflict with the rest of the crew. When Naomi’s hopes seem lost Ken starts to take an interest in her, thus reducing the distance between them. The crew, in conflict with the captain, informs the boat’s owner. Alex, disobeying his employer’s wishes, takes Naomi and Ken to a beach where they can be alone and bond for the first time. Back on the boat, a timeless day magnifies the weight of their last goodbye and when Ken falls asleep, Naomi must leave. Watching the boat sail away, Naomi sees Ken for one last time wearing the mask she has made for him as a parting gift – the Japanese god of the sea.
Director: Julio Medem
Country: Spain/France, Running Time: 111min
Academy Award®-winning actress and producer Penélope Cruz delivers an extraordinarily emotional performance in ma ma, the newest film from acclaimed director Julio Medem (SEX AND LUCÍA). Honoring the high melodrama of Pedro Almodóvar and Douglas Sirk, ma ma follows Magda (Cruz) as she experiences tragedies and miracles alike. Just as Magda is diagnosed with breast cancer, she meets Arturo (Luis Tosar), a devoted husband and father in the midst of unspeakable loss. Their chance encounter leads both down a path of strength, grace, love, and rebirth.
Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Country: Canada, Running Time: 88min
In the south of Laos, an American doctor (Rossif Sutherland) becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant's body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control.
TAKIM (THE TEAM) – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Emre Şahin
Country: Turkey, Running Time: 102min
Takim tells the tale of street soccer players from all walks of life in Istanbul who come together to save their favorite soccer pitch from ruthless developers. The story is loosely based on the very real urban phenomenon happening in Turkey today as corrupt construction giants bully the poor to move out and build immense buildings in their wake. Turgay and Tufan are up against the wall when they are threatened by a construction company to sell their family land, which also happens to be an hourly rental soccer field. Facing eviction from the bank on a loan gone bad, and with no options left, the two turn to the only thing they know: Soccer. Now they must build a strong team and try to win a famous tournament for the prize money for the sake of both their family and their land, all in a matter of weeks.
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Country: Ireland/Cuba, Running Time: 100min
Jesus is a hairdresser for a troupe of drag performers in Havana, but dreams of being a performer. When he finally gets his chance to be on stage, a stranger emerges from the crowd and punches him in the face. The stranger is his father Angel, a former boxer, who has been absent from his life for 15 years. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, Viva becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and become a family again.
ALL THE COLORS OF THE NIGHT
Director: Pedro Severien
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 71min
Iris lives alone in a spacious apartment by the sea. The green horizon seems to distance it from the city in comfortable isolation. At nightfall, the place hosts known and unknown in a frantic party flow. Iris is the main attraction. But on a hung over morning, she finds a corpse in the living room. As in the distorted reflection of a crooked mirror, Iris feels repeating steps of her childhood friend, Tiara, a medical student involved in an accident that resulted in death in the past. Tiara plunges into a spiral of self-pity, sentimental emptying and violence. The case is well known in town and Iris does not want to become another ghost in this dark repertoire of stories. In ALL THE COLORS OF THE NIGHT, reality works as a dimension of imagination, memory and madness.
I PROMISE YOU ANARCHY
Director: Julio Hernández Cordón
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 88min
I PROMISE YOU ANARCHY follows two teenage lovers in Mexico City who become embroiled in the city’s illegal, narco-run blood trade. Newcomers Diego Calva and Eduardo Martínez Peña, non-actors the director found on Facebook, give outstandingly honest and committed performances as young lovers Miguel and Johnny. They skate with their friends through the chaotic neighborhoods of Mexico City, they revel in their blissful sexuality, and they make a bit of cash in the illegal blood trade. A contact hooks them up with some narcos—drug traffickers who need black-market blood, since they can’t go to hospitals—and it seems like a perfect way to make a lot of money. But the scheme goes off the rails, and Miguel and Johnny are in over their heads, their eyes opened too late to the truly disturbing underground network of clinics servicing those injured in the drug wars.
Director: Salvador del Solar
Country: Peru/Colombia/Argentina/Spain, Running Time: 109min
Taxi driver Magallanes (Damián Alcázar) supplements his meager earnings with a job taking an old man (Federico Luppi) out on daily excursions. This old man is now senile and frail, but he was once a much-feared colonel in the Peruvian military during its bloodiest years of conflict with the Shining Path insurgency. Magallanes was his subordinate. One day a woman enters Magallanes' cab. Celina (Magaly Solier) doesn't recognize Magallanes, but he remembers her very well. Many years ago, Celina was a sexual plaything for the Colonel, who kidnapped the young indigenous girl and held her captive in a hotel room for an entire year. Magallanes has a photograph to prove this — a photo he can use to blackmail the Colonel's affluent son (Christian Meier). But can this aging cabbie suddenly transform himself into an extortionist? Or is Magallanes, still in love with Celina after all these years, in over his head?
Director: Joel Núñez
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 90min
A romantic comedy in which a male writer who writes under a female pseudonym falls for
a female journalist who writes under a male pseudonym. When love comes almost always takes us by surprise and nobody can object.
FAMILY FRIENDLY – SPONSORED BY WHOLE FOODS
Director: Jim Henson
Country: USA, Running Time: 101min
Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David Bowie).
Director: Stuart McDonald
Country: Australia, Running Time: 95min
The true story about an eccentric chicken farmer (Shane Jacobson) who, with the help of his granddaughter, trains his mischievous dog Oddball to protect a wild penguin sanctuary from fox attacks and in the process tries to reunite his family and save their seaside town.
DEEP ELLUM SOUNDS
A FAT WRECK – WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Shaun M. Colón
Country: USA, Running Time: 85min
A FAT WRECK tells the story of founders Fat Mike (of the legendary punk band NOFX) and his ex-wife Erin Kelly-Burkett, spanning the birth, growth, struggles, and survival of the Fat Wreck Chords label. Half inspirational story of chosen family and community, half debauchery and occasionally involuntary drug use, the film blazes exciting new ground in the cinematic genre of puppet-driven punk rock music documentary filmmaking. Arguably the best film in the history of American cinema featuring a dominatrix spanking a puppet.
MISS SHARON JONES!
Director: Barbara Kopple
Country: USA, Running Time: 93min
Dreams never expire, but sometimes they are deferred. MISS SHARON JONES! tracks the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings during the most challenging year of her life. Confronting a cancer diagnosis and her own self doubts, she works to again find her voice and salvage the career that once eluded her for 50 years.
PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW
Director: Ido Haar
Country: Israel, Running Time: 80min
The true story of the incredible Princess Shaw and the enigmatic composer Kutiman, who discovers her from the other side of the world. By day, Samantha Montgomery cares for the elderly in one of New Orleans’s toughest neighborhoods. By night, she writes and sings her own songs as Princess Shaw on her confessional YouTube channel. Raw and vulnerable, her voice is a diamond in the rough. Across the globe, Ophir Kutiel creates video mash ups of amateur Youtube performers. Known as Kutiman, he is a composer, a musician, and a pioneering video artist embraced by the world of fine art. Kutiman “transforms sampling into a multimedia art”, whether at his home on a kibbutz in Israel or at a live performance at the Guggenheim in New York. Two strangers, almost 7,000 miles apart, begin to build a song. The film unfolds as Kutiman pairs Princess Shaw’s emotional performances in a beautiful expression of generosity and compassion, revealing the bonafide star underneath and her fight to never give up on her dreams.
A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY
Director: Keith Maitland
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
Packed wall to wall with the greatest music from Texas and beyond, with performances from Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Charles, Beck, Alabama Shakes, and Radiohead, A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY is music to the ears of fans everywhere. This film highlights the PBS series’ evolution, proving that after 40 years, ACL is more relevant now than ever before. Featuring interviews with dozens of artists and fans, and untold insights from long-time producer Terry Lickona, A SONG FOR YOU transcends the TV show and gives audiences a front-row seat and backstage pass to the greatest performances of the longest running music show in television history.
Directors: Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein
Concept by: Dan Schoenbrun
Country: USA, Running Time: 81min
Five of independent film’s most adventurous filmmakers adapt each other's dreams for the screen. A man and his grandmother hide out from an ominous broadcast. The Grim Reaper hosts a TV show. The formerly incarcerated recount and reinterpret their first days of freedom. A suburban mom's life is upturned by the beast growing inside of her. And a high school gym teacher runs drills from inside a volcano.
HOTEL DALLAS – U.S. PREMIERE
Directors: Livia Ungur, Sherng-Lee Huang
Country: USA/Romania, Running Time: 74min
Playfully mixing fiction and documentary, HOTEL DALLAS is a surreal parable of capitalism, communism, and the power of art. In the 80s, in the twilight of communist Romania, “Dallas” is the only American show allowed on TV. Its vision of wealth and glamour captures the imagination of millions. Among them are Ilie and his daughter Livia. He is a small-time criminal and aspiring capitalist; she is in love with the show’s leading man, Patrick Duffy. After communism falls, Ilie builds the Hotel Dallas, a life-size copy of the “Dallas” mansion. Livia immigrates to America, becomes an artist, and directs a film starring Patrick Duffy, as a soap opera character who dies in Texas and wakes up in Romania, in a hotel that looks just like home.
ORION – U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Asiel Norton
Country: USA, Running Time: 110min
In a future dark age, after civilization has collapsed, there are rumors and prophecies of a savior to come. A hunter fights to save a maiden from a cannibal shaman and searches for the world's last city. The film stars David Arquette and Lily Cole
E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 115min
A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world.
Defrost – second episode
Director: Randal Kleiser
Country: USA, Running Time: 10min
After being cryogenically frozen for 30 years, Joan Garrison awakens to meet her aged family. The VR series stars Tanna Frederick, Bruce Davison, Harry Hamlin, Christopher Atkins, and Carl Weathers.
FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002)
Director: Todd Haynes
Country: USA, Running Time: 108min
The story - which crosses both sexual and racial lines - revolves around a privileged suburban family whose lives are filled with daily family etiquette, social events at the club, and an overall desire to keep up with the Joneses. The family is turned upside down when both husband and wife are faced with choices that not only create a gossip mill for the entire community but also change their entire lives forever.
LATE BLOOMERS (1996)
Director: Julia Dyer
Country: USA, Running Time: 107min
Who would’ve thought a little one-on-one could get a girl in so much trouble? When high school basketball coach Dinah Groshardt falls for school secretary Carly Lumpkin, the uproar reverberates from classroom to locker room, from the principal’s office to the PTA. A film about true love, tolerance, and naked basketball, LATE BLOOMERS redefines family values. A movie for everyone who believes it’s never too late to fall in love.
Director: Cassie Bryant
Country: USA, Running Time: 75min
Medieval art treasures seized by the Nazis go missing at the end of World War II. Were they destroyed in the chaos of the final battles? Or were these thousand-year-old masterpieces stolen by advancing American troops? For over forty years, the mystery remained unsolved. A true detective story, THE LIBERATORS follows a dogged German art detective through the New York art world and military archives to the unlikeliest of destinations: a small town on the Texas prairie. The film raises intriguing questions as to the motivations of the art thief and the whereabouts of the items that, to this day, remain waiting to be discovered.
SIGNS OF HUMANITY – WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Willie Baronet, Tim Chumley
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Signs of Humanity is a documentary film that explores the inter-related themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity. Artist and professor Willie Baronet has purchased more than 1,000 homeless signs over the past 22 years, and he uses this collection to create installations to raise awareness about homelessness. During the month of July, 2014, Willie and three companions drove across the country, connecting with more than 100 people on the streets and purchasing more than 275 signs. Signs of Humanity is a film about that trip.
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (1966)
Director: Mike Nichols
Country: USA, Running Time: 131min
History professor George (Richard Burton) and his boozy wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), return late one Saturday night from a cocktail party at the home of the college president, Martha's father. Martha announces that she invited another couple, newly appointed instructor Nick (George Segal) and his timid wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis), over for a nightcap. When the younger couple arrive, the night erupts into a no-holds-barred torrent of marital angst and verbal tirades.
Director: Danny Perez
Country: USA/Canada, Running Time: 94min
In a desolate community full of drug-addled marines and rumors of kidnapping, a wild-eyed stoner named Lou wakes up after a crazy night of partying with symptoms of a strange illness and recurring visions. Without being able to remember anything from the night before, she struggles to get a grip on the reality of her situation as unusual conspiracy theories begin to arise.
For more information and tickets go to the festival website here.