I've been attending the Dallas International Film Festival since the first installment, when it was still AFI Dallas. I can honestly say that 2014's full lineup is probably the strongest, most ScreenAnarchy-friendly line up that the Dallas IFF has had since those first three years. I've been happy with the films in past years, but mostly as a result of catching things I wasn't expecting to enjoy. This year, my anticipation is off the charts.
Twitch readers should be familiar with films like Alex de la Iglesia's Witching & Bitching
, Matsumoto HItoshi's R100
, Ti West's The Sacrament
, Ari Folman's The Congress
, and Richie Mehta's Siddharth
(Todd's top film of 2013), however, there's a lot more in there to get you guys excited. There are also tons of features like A Touch of Sin
, We Gotta Get Out of This Place
, Brazilian Western
, Thank You a Lot
, and so much more. There's even a new documentary about one of Mexico's greatest heroes, El Santo, titled The Man Behind the Mask
. In all of the nearly ten years that I've been attending DIFF, I've never been so excited. Those films were just the tip of the iceberg, check the list below for even more exciting goodness.
Opening Night Film
WORDS AND PICTURES (USA)
Presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation and Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes
DIRECTOR: Fred Schepisi
Cast: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche
An art instructor and an English teacher form a rivalry that ends up with a competition at their school in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important.
BELIEVE ME (WORLD PREMIERE) (USA)
DIRECTOR: Will Bakke
Cast: Nick Offerman, Johanna Braddy, Christopher McDonald
When Sam Weller convinces his fellow college seniors that they should create a fake Christian charity as a means to drum up tuition money, the boys find themselves thrust into an unexpected religious revival, where impassioned believers take in their every word. In the hands of some of television's brightest stars, BELIEVE ME is a clever satire that winds up divinely redemptive.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Randall Wallace
Based on the New York Times best-selling book of the same name, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL tells the story of four-year-old Colton Burpo who seems to have reached Heaven during an out of body experience. His father, minister Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) has doubts when Colton first shares his celestial insights. But soon they see the light. Through the otherworldly experiences of their child, Todd and his wife have their beliefs put to the test.
ANNA (USA) (North American Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Jorge Dorado
John (Mark Strong) is a recently widowed man with the extraordinary ability to enter people's minds. Desperate for an assignment, John jumps into a new case involving a brilliant and troubled girl, Anna (Taissa Farmiga), to decide whether she is a victim or a dangerous sociopath. What ensues is a dangerous game of seduction and betrayal that spirals out of control. In this film, truth is really just a state of mind.
DIRECTOR: Amma Asante
When Dido Elizabeth Belle is born to a white British admiral and a black Caribbean slave, she is forced to grow up caught in-between two vastly different worlds. Her uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), instructs her to respect the status quo of her situation, and at the same time, find a suitable man to marry. In BELLE, director Amma Asante offers a stirring twist on the classic period drama romance, and the result is both charming and thought-provoking.
CHILD OF GOD (USA)
DIRECTOR: James Franco
Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, CHILD OF GOD is the twisted tale of Lester Ballard, an orphan who becomes an outcast and then outlaw. When he happens upon the already-dead bodies of a young couple, Lester (Scott Haze) takes home his own trophy wife of sorts, hoisting her into his shack like some macabre wedding ritual. Soon his lust for fresh flesh grows, forcing local officer Deputy Cotton (Jim Parrack) into action.
DOM HEMINGWAY (UK)
DIRECTOR: Richard Shepard
After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he's owed. Along the way, he tries to make up for lost time--in a flurry of violence, sex, drugs and alcoholic debauchery. While on this journey we get to know Dom and his insistence that there be honor among thieves, a code to live by and to die for.
DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green
Cast: Nicholas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins
An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.
THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD (USA)
DIRECTORS: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
When actor Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) died of a heart attack on October 1959, his reputation as a legendary roué was already entrenched in the mind of a scandal-loving public. After that same public learned that Flynn had passed away in the arms of a seventeen-year-old starlet named Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning), the frenzied avalanche of publicity was unprecedented. The story of their May-December romance is stylishly captured here in all of its Old Hollywood glory by filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.
DIRECTOR: Steven Knight
Ivan Locke is a perfectionist, respected by his coworkers and loved equally by his bosses and his family. But one day, just hours before the biggest moment of his career, he receives a phone call that threatens to destroy his life. As the sole actor on-screen, Tom Hardy fills every frame with unmistakable charisma, making LOCKE a stunning portrait of a man struggling to keep his precious world from crumbling.
OBVIOUS CHILD (USA)
DIRECTOR: Gillian Robespierre
When 27-year-old Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern gets dumped by her two-timing boyfriend, she rebounds with a nice young professional named Max--a guy not remotely her type. A few weeks later, she's pregnant, and as her date with Planned Parenthood draws near, she must confront her fears. A mix of raw human honesty, humor and a dash of sweet romance makes OBVIOUS CHILD a fun journey that's lighthearted but all too real.
YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL (FRANCE)
DIRECTOR: Francois Ozon
French director François Ozon returns to DIFF with a captivating tale of youth and innocence lost. When Parisienne teenager Isabelle (Marine Vacth) goes on summer holidays with her family, she loses her virginity to a German boy called Felix. But the experience leaves her cold. Come autumn, she decides to explore her sexuality further by working as an expensive call girl. With an alluring, neutral tone and a visual finesse, YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL poses pertinent questions about sex, power and their consequences.
WALKING WITH THE ENEMY
DIRECTOR: Mark Schmidt
Based on a true story, WALKING WITH THE ENEMY follows the heroic lives of a world leader and a young man swept up in the horrors of WWII. Regent Horthy (Ben Kingsley) is the leader of Hungary and a German ally whose control of the country is slipping. Meanwhile, a young man named Elek (Jonas Armstrong) defies the enemy by becoming one of them. Filled with suspense and danger, this is an unforgettable film of love, courage, and sacrifice.
Narrative Feature Competition
DIRECTOR: Tommy Oliver
1982 paints a cracked portrait of a Philadelphia family falling apart from drug addiction. While daughter Maya is forced to watch her mother's desperate attempts to get her next fix, local drug pusher, Alonzo (Wayne Brady) lurks around, lending a hand to make things go from bad to worse. The film offers a vivid insight into the beginnings of the crack epidemic that portrays the problem honestly, with a final 20 minutes that will leave audiences reeling.
DIRECTOR: Mark Raso
After weeks of traveling through Europe, an immature American named William finds himself at a crossroads in Copenhagen. To him it's not just another European city; it's also the birthplace of his deceased deadbeat father. When the youthful Effy befriends the older William, they set off on an adventure to trace William's lineage. And as their legally-gray relationship builds, the right-place-wrong-time lovers must come to terms with their families' sordid past and present.
DOOMSDAY PARTY (HONG KONG) (North American Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Ho Hong
In director Ho Hong's DOOMSDAY PARTY, a Hong Kong thriller at its finest, the lives of five strangers fatefully intertwine amidst the chaos of an economic catastrophe. A pair of disgruntled teenagers, a wealthy mother with a high profile affair, a beautiful bank teller and a police detective all meet during a climatic bank heist with an explosive collision. Who will rise from the ashes?
DIRECTOR: Kat Candler
Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins
When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, thirteen-year-old, Jacob's increasing delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother, Wes, with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father, Hollis, must finally take responsibility for their actions and for each other in order to bring Wes home.
I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS (USA)
DIRECTOR: Leah Meyerhoff
There's not much joy in young Davina's daily life, and so her vivid imagination is her only means of escape. That is, until bad boy Sterling enters her life, and Davina loses herself in the turbulent fantasy of her first romance. With dazzling cinematography and animation, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS takes an oft-times uncomfortable yet intensely compelling look at the journey to adulthood.
LITTLE ACCIDENTS (USA)
DIRECTOR: Sara Colangelo
When a mining disaster tears at the fabric of an Appalachian coal-mining town, the lives of three very different inhabitants become inexplicably tangled in a web of secrets. As tensions rise over who is to blame for the deadly mishap, the teenage son of a top executive at the coal mine goes missing. What results is writer-director Sara Colangelo's lyrical tale of truth, family, and tragedy in a small town.
BRAZILIAN WESTERN (BRAZIL)
DIRECTOR: Rene Sampaio
Director Rene' Sampaio's debut Feature, BRAZILIAN WESTERN is loosely based on the epic folk ballad by Brazilian rock band Legiao Urbana. João (Fabrício Boliveira, Elite Squad 2), an outlaw from the provinces, tries his luck in the capital after jail time for killing a corrupt cop. His shady cousin gets him a job as a carpenter's assistant, but insists that João help him on the side with his drug-dealing business. Meanwhile, João falls for a senator's daughter completely out of his class, but the rebellious young woman is only too eager to fall under his amorous spell. As might be expected in a legend, a powerful rival also has an eye out...
Documentary Feature Competition
BROTHERS OF THE BLACK LIST (USA) (World Premiere) ♥
DIRECTOR: Sean Gallagher
On September 4, 1992 in upstate New York, police officers responding to a report of attempted rape interrogated 125 black male students under a presumption of guilty until proven innocent. In BROTHERS OF THE BLACK LIST, director Sean Gallagher tracks this story of racism that gave rise to the longest litigated civil rights case in American history. The result is an emotional story of social justice and a cautionary tale of equal rights gone wrong.
THE CASE AGAINST 8 (USA) ♥
DIRECTORS: Ben Cotner, Ryan White
In 2008, California passed Proposition 8, banning gay marriage just six months after it was legalized. In response, gay-marriage supporters from across the political spectrum filed suit to overturn the law. Directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White followed this landmark case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the country still staunchly divided on this issue, THE CASE AGAINST 8 not only recounts recent history in great detail but may very well be a starting point for much more to come.
THE EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL (USA)
DIRECTOR: Darius Clark Monroe
How does a 16 year-old become a bank robber? In EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe asks this very question...about himself. Returning to his neighborhood several years after his crime to interview close friends and victims, Monroe creates an incredibly intimate journey on self-reflection and forgiveness.
QUEENS & COWBOYS: A STRAIGHT YEAR ON THE GAY RODEO (USA) ♥
DIRECTOR: Matt Livadary
QUEENS & COWBOYS: A STRAIGHT YEAR ON THE GAY RODEO chronicles a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association. Roping and riding across North America for the past 30 years, the IGRA's courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals at the end of the season. And along the way, they'll bust every stereotype in the book.
RICH HILL (USA) ♥
DIRECTORS: Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo
RICH HILL intimately chronicles the turbulent lives of three boys living in an impoverished Midwestern town and the fragile family bonds that sustain them.
THE SPECIAL NEED (GERMANY/ITALY)
DIRECTOR: Carlo Zoratti
Twenty-nine-year old Enea is "super-mega-duper smart and handsome," but he's also autistic. He has never had sex but really wants to. As Italy doesn't offer any legal solution to his problem, Enea embarks on a road trip with his friends Carlo and Alex on a quest for sex that soon becomes a journey into Enea's most intimate feelings. The camera acts like a fly on the wall, capturing Enea's world and the trip with his friends in the spirit of a feel-good movie.
NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY (USA)
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Radice
The story of the Major League pitcher who threw a no-hitter while tripping on acid, known by fans and nonfans alike, has become emblematic of professional baseball's excess in the 1970s. However, Dock Ellis had a career and a life that changed but also transcended baseball, and this unabashed documentary presents his unique story of redemption, warts and all.
THE OVERNIGHTERS (USA) ♥
DIRECTOR: Jesse Moss
When hydraulic fracturing unlocks a vast oil field in North Dakota's Bakken shale, tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on the tiny town of Williston only to find slim prospects and nowhere to sleep. In response, Pastor Jay Reinke converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center. But as men arrive in droves, the situation starts to spin out of control. THE OVERNIGHTERS offers a poignant look at one man willing to make great sacrifice for a crusade of compassion.
PRIVATE VIOLENCE (USA) ♥
DIRECTOR: Cynthia Hill
One in four women will be abused by a domestic partner in her lifetime. The question most people ask these female victims is "why didn't you leave?" In PRIVATE VIOLENCE, filmmaker Cynthia Hill exposes the complexities of this widespread problem and shows how the criminal justice system often fails these women. The result is a skillful documentary that challenges us to the way our society treats domestic violence.
WHITEY: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER (USA)
DIRECTOR: Joe Berlinger
Infamous gangster James "Whitey" Bulger wielded a mystique as the Robin Hood of South Boston and captured the imagination of the entire country. Embedded for months with FBI agents, gangsters and prosecutors, director Joe Berlinger separates the man from the myth in this documentary, complete with shocking new allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement.
World Cinema (Presented by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau)
CHILD'S POSE (Pozitia copilului) - (ROMANIA)
DIRECTOR: Calin Peter Netzer
Cornelia, a wealthy and influential woman, will go to any extreme to lessen the retribution for her son's accidental crime. While it is the maternal instinct to protect one's offspring, this manipulative matriarch demonstrates a misguided love that is both relentless and frightening. CHILD'S POSE is a fiercely psychological examination of one particular family's dynamics set against the backdrop of Romania's current sociopolitical structure.
FIRESTORM (Fung Bou) (CHINA/HONG KONG) - (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
DIRECTOR: Alan Yuen
Cast: Andy Lau
A storm is heading to the city of Hong Kong, and with it comes another occurrence so destructive, it vows to bring down everything it touches. A crew of seasoned criminals led by the notorious Nam (Hu Jun), armed with high-powered weapons, pulls off another smooth and violent armored car heist in broad daylight in a crowded street. Whoever tries to get in their way, they will show no mercy. This puts the police force to shame and humiliation.
DIRECTOR: Pawel Pawlikowski
Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.
KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER (USA)
DIRECTOR: David Zellner
Kumiko is a withdrawn woman living alone in Tokyo. One night, after watching and rewatching the film "Fargo," she becomes convinced the briefcase buried by Steve Buscemi's character in North Dakota is actually real. With her hand-sewn maps and a fresh DVD in hand, she sets out to America on a unique and dreamlike quest for mythical treasure.
LITTLE BROTHER (Bauyr) (KAZAKHSTAN)
DIRECTOR: Seric Aprymov
Nine-year-old Yerkin lives alone in a remote corner of Kazakstan, attending class by day and selling homemade bricks in his free time. When his brother, Aidos, returns to the village, Yerkin comes to realize his sibling may not have his best interests at heart. With vibrant cinematography and a dash of humor, LITTLE BROTHER offers up a fascinating view at how this part of the world operates in the current day while keeping a foot firmly planted in the past.
DIRECTOR: Stephen Bradley
NOBLE tells the inspiring true story of a young Irish orphan who overcomes adversity to become founder and president of one of the largest children's foundations in the world. Director Stephen Bradley masterfully intertwines scenes of Christina Noble's hard-knock childhood, her spiritual struggle to accept reality and understand God, and her uphill battle to establish a charity as a foreigner in a developing country.
DIRECTOR: Richie Mehta
In New Delhi, twelve-year-old Siddharth is sent by his father, Mahendra, to work in a nearby province to help support the family. When the boy is expected to come home to celebrate Diwali but instead fails to return or call, his father begins a desperate search to find him. At first the situation is dire enough, until it seems Mahendra may actually be the one responsible. In SIDDHARTH, director Richie Mehta crafts a heart-wrenching tale of mystery and frustration.
A TOUCH OF SIN (Tian zhu ding) (CHINA)
DIRECTOR: Zhangke Jia
Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke confronts his country's extreme social changes with a daring aesthetic in A TOUCH OF SIN. The film unveils the tragic destiny of four sinners from four different provinces: a miner who takes revenge on a corrupt village chief; a gun-loving migrant worker who shoots his way to easy money; a modest sauna receptionist who turns into a dagger-wielding goddess; and an abused youth who endures all manner of psychological violence. Drawing inspiration from real life events, this film is a fascinating mix of social realism and contemporary kung fu.
WE ARE THE BEST (SWEDEN)
DIRECTOR: Lukas Moodysson
In 1982 Stockholm, punk is alive and well for young Klara and Bobo. The two middle school outcasts spend their days politely raising hell with their Mohawk haircuts and political activism. Taking a stand against noise pollution and their pointless gym class, Klara and Bobo form a band and recruit a shy but guitar-slaying girl named Hedvig. Adapted from a semi-autographical graphic novel by director Luka's Moodysson's wife, Coco, WE ARE THE BEST outshines familiar coming-of-age conventions.
WEB JUNKIE (ISRAEL/USA) ♥
DIRECTORS: Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia
China is the first country to label "Internet addiction" a clinical disorder, claiming it is the number one public health threat to its teenage population. In WEB JUNKIE, directors Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia take us inside a Beijing rehab center, run like a military boot camp, to follow three internet-addicted teens sent there against their will. The result is an intimate and fascinating look at this 21st century problem that asks: can these kids be "cured"?
THE CONGRESS (ISRAEL/POLAND/GERMANY/LUXEM)
DIRECTOR: Ari Folman
In THE CONGRESS, Robin Wright plays an actress looking to restore her career after a hiatus. To do so she accepts an offer to become digitally replicated into a virtual movie star--forever. But when she realizes her image has been used for major studio profit, she embarks on a tempestuous journey to find her genuine identity. Based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, THE CONGRESS pushes the limits of filmmaking in an enchanting odyssey of visual originality.
SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (JAPAN)
DIRECTOR: Takashi Yamazaki
In the year 2199, mankind teeters on the brink of extinction. The Gamilas, a race of alien invaders, wage an endless war to control Earth. The last hope for humanity lies on the distant planet of Iskander, and only battleship Yamato can make the journey. Together with its crew, Yamato ventures into the depths of space to unlock the secrets of Iskander before it's too late. With dazzling special effects and a darker than advertised story, this live-action adaptation is a definite a crowd pleaser.
GHOST IN THE SHELL ARISE: BORDER 1 & 2 (JAPAN)
DIRECTORS: Kazuchika Kise (1&2), Masahiko Murata (1)
In the near future, following the end of World War IV, a bomb has gone off in Newport City, killing a major arms dealer who may have ties with the mysterious 501 Organization. Public Security official Daisuke Aramaki hires full-body cyber prosthesis user and hacker extraordinaire, Motoko Kusanagi, to investigate. After extricating herself from the 501 Organization, Motoko Kusanagi soon must learn how to take orders from Aramaki. When unknown forces hack the Logicomas, Kusanagi enlists Saito, an ace sniper, and Paz, an undercover cop.
BEST WORST FRIENDS (Mis Peores Amigos) (CHILE)
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Lopez
What else could a movie that includes an elementary-school fight club, a moribund "special needs" character asking for an impossible last wish, and a makeshift Back-to-the-Future Delorean be, if not hilarious? Delivering a slew of pop culture references and an even bigger dose of politically-incorrect jokes, BEST WORST FRIENDS is really about friendship, suggesting that its value lies beyond money, distance, and sometimes reason.
GREENCARD WARRIORS (USA)
DIRECTOR: Miriam Kruishoop
Set in Los Angeles, an undocumented Latino family endures big problem. Teenage son Angel (Angel Amaral) becomes the prey of gangs, while his older brother joins the U.S. Army trying to reach the American Dream of naturalization. The brilliant performances of the cast combined with director Miriam Kruishoop's unapologetic style surely will leave a mark in the audience's psyche, just like the scars experienced by the "greencard warriors" themselves.
DIRECTOR: Amat Escalante
Heli is a working-class young man whose life and family get turned upside down when they are inadvertently embroiled in drug trafficking and police corruption. Director Amat Escalante explores the consequences of living in a circle of violence, where people can become desensitized, numb, or broken beyond repair. HELI is a stark reminder of the reality faced by countless people around the world.
THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK (El Hombre Detras de la Mascara) (MEXICO)
DIRECTOR: Gabriela Obregon
Gabriela Obregon crafts an enthralling origin story like any superhero deserves, but in this case it's the story of iconic Mexican wrestler "El Santo" and his heir, "El Hijo del Santo." This documentary delves not only into the world of Mexican luchadores but also into the challenges that a public figure with a secret life must wrestle with: family conflicts, professional rivalries, injuries, and fading stardom.
THE MILITANT (El Lugar del Hijo) (PARAGUAY)
DIRECTOR: Manuel Nieto
When Ariel finds out that his father has died, he returns to his hometown in Uruguay's countryside to face his family's leftover problems: crippling debt, a mismanaged estate, and a mistress. Throughout the film, director Manolo Nieto highlights the protagonist's sense of outsider-ness, revealing at times more about Ariel's world to the audience than Ariel is able to figure out himself.
DIRECTOR: Fernando Frias
After Rezeta arrives to Mexico City from Albania looking to launch her career as a model, she winds up spending more time jumping from lover to lover. And when her attraction for hard-to-get Alex grows, it turns her new journey into a troubled love story. Composed of equal parts mumblecore, character study, and pseudo-road trip, this directorial debut by Fernando Frias breathes a freshness and energy into a classic narrative.
ZERO HOUR (Mexico/US) (Short Film)
DIRECTOR: Dan Carrillo Levy
Lovers Paula and Lorenzo are traveling on a long and desolate road when the unexpected happens. They are forced to make a decision, one that could bring them together or tear them apart, forever.
Texas Competition Sponsored by PANAVISION
ABOUT MOM AND DAD... (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Rachel Shepherd
While married couple Teri and Eddie are poised to celebrate their daughter's wedding, Teri finds out about Eddie's recent transgression, and in the turmoil that results, new romances flourish and old ones are re-appreciated. With wry dialogue, a picturesque setting, and a highly-skilled of Texan actors, ABOUT MOM AND DAD... shows how those who upset us the most are also the ones who can make us the happiest.
ABOVE ALL ELSE (USA) ♥
DIRECTOR: John Feige
One man will risk it all to stop the tar sands of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from crossing his land. Shot in the forests, pastures, and living rooms of rural East Texas, ABOVE ALL ELSE follows David Daniel as he rallies neighbors and environmental activists to join him in a final act of brinkmanship: a tree-top blockade of the controversial pipeline. What begins as a stand against corporate bullying becomes a rallying cry for climate protesters nationwide.
BELIEVE ME (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Will Bakke
When Sam Weller convinces his fellow college seniors that they should create a fake Christian charity as a means to drum up tuition money, the boys find themselves thrust into an unexpected religious revival, where impassioned believers take in their every word. In the hands of some of television's brightest stars, BELIEVE ME is a clever satire that winds up divinely redemptive.
FLUTTER (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Eric Hueber
Johnathan has severe narrow angle glaucoma, making his eyes flutter. Aside from going blind, he is like any regular boy who loves sea monsters and the great outdoors. To treat his eye condition when all else failed, JoLynn, Johnathan's mother, starts baking marijuana into his brownies. But with time she must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice to save her son's eyes and open her own.
TOMATO REPUBLIC (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTORS: Anthony Jackson, Whitney Graham Carter, Jenna Jackson
Way out in East Texas at the corner of Route 69 and 79 lies the small town Jacksonville, otherwise known as the "Tomato Republic." With a mayoral election fast approaching, three very different candidates throw their hats into the ring, and the town is left to choose between a flamboyant restaurateur, a good ol' boy and a political ingénue. What happens next is anyone's guess.
THANK YOU A LOT (USA)
DIRECTOR: Matheson Muir
Jack Hand is a downtrodden music manager on the verge of being fired. To save his career, he hustles to sign a deal with reclusive country music singer, James Hand, who just so happens to be his estranged father. Inspired by and starring actual Austin musicians, this unique father-son story is also a tribute to a diverse community of artists and a testament to second chances.
WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE (USA)
DIRECTORS: Simon Hawkins, Zeke Hawkins
Billy Joe is a Texan teen who works on a cotton farm outside Corpus Christi. Before his best friends go away for college, Billy wants to give them one last weekend to remember. Strapped for cash, he foolishly steals from his ruthless boss, which ends up forcing them to rob local criminals in order to pay back the money. The result is a gritty crime drama meets coming-of-age story.
DAKOTA'S SUMMER (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Timothy Armstrong
COWGIRLS 'N ANGELS: DAKOTA'S SUMMER tells the story of Dakota Rose, a cowgirl and competitive trick rider who finds out at the age of 17 that she was adopted. While visiting her grandfather, rodeo legend Austin Rose, Dakota secretly sets out to meet her birth parents. But with time, Dakota comes to see that family is not always defined by blood but rather personal commitment and enduring love.
THE NEVERENDING STORY (1984) (WEST GERMANY/USA)
DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Petersen
THE NEVERENDING STORY centers around Bastian Bux, a young boy who finds refuge in the most enchanting book he's ever read. As he follows the adventure of Atreyu, a hero on a mission to save a beautiful princess, Bastian realizes the book has been magically writing itself and has absorbed Bastian himself into the story. For three decades, this classic has opened up a never-ending world of imagination for audiences of all ages.
THE ZIG ZAG KID (NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM, UK, SPAIN, FRANCE)
DIRECTOR: Vincent Bal
THE ZIGZAG KID is a whimsical and captivating coming-of-age story based on the international bestseller by David Grossman. It recounts the tale of Nono, a young man on the eve of his Bar Mitzvah who embarks on a zany adventure to prove his sleuthing skills to his father, a respected police inspector. While criss-crossing through Europe, Nono's journey takes exciting and mysterious detours, and he soon discovers secrets that will change his family's life forever.
DIRECTORS: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
An an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature's new True Life Adventure BEARS showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life¹s most important lessons. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting, but risky, as the cubs' playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bears must work hard to find food, ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run, while staying safe from rival male bears and predators, including an ever-present wolf pack. BEARS captures the fast-moving action and suspense of life in one of the planet¹s last great wildernesses, Alaska!
Deep Ellum Sounds
MY PRAIRIE HOME (CANADA)
DIRECTOR: Chelsea McMullan
With only an acoustic guitar and a laptop, transgender singer/songwriter Rae Spoon embarks on a modest tour across the vast and blue-skied plains of Canada. MY PRAIRIE HOME takes an impressionistic approach to its subject, thwarting the expectations of a traditional music documentary and weaving together Spoon's personal history of an evangelical household back in Alberta, a troubled family life, and a forbidden first love--all of which are brought to life through playful, music-video-like sequences.
ROAD TO AUSTIN (USA)
DIRECTOR: Gary Fortin
How did Austin, Texas come to be known as the "Live Music Capital of the World"? With vintage photos, rare posters, and never before seen footage, this insightful documentary highlights early 1800s Austin, the psychedelic movement, and numerous other iconic moments that still shape the Texan and American musical culture of today. ROAD TO AUSTIN builds to a climax with an all-star live concert, including Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, and many more.
STARCK (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Michael Cain, Miles Hargrove
The Starck Club was a seminal, forward-thinking Dallas nightclub that embodied the overindulgent and glamorous 1980s. It was an epicenter where music, fashion, and designer drugs came together. Creators Blake Woodall and Philippe Starck had great visions for the club; yet no one could foresee the impact it would have on world culture, most notably today's billion dollar EDM industry. With interviews from icons and club attendees, including Larry Hagman, Owen Wilson and Paul Oakenfold, this documentary shows why Starck was much more than just a club.
WE FROM DALLAS (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Teddy Cool
When you think about the origins of hip hop, places like New York, Los Angeles and even Miami come to mind. In this groundbreaking documentary, director Teddy Cool shows why Dallas also deserves its place in the annals of history. With insight from DJ's, producers, emcees, b-boys and graffiti artists, this documentary brings together local legends to speak about their city, their music, their fans, and to proudly proclaim: WE FROM DALLAS.
THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: John Wildman
In THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE, a reluctant birthday celebration starts out innocently enough but quickly turns into three men's desperate fight for survival. The boys soon find themselves trapped in a modern-day house of horrors, inhabited by four dangerous beauties--Lin, Getty, Crystal and Ginger--who will let nothing compromise the happy home life they've carved out for themselves.
THE SACRAMENT (USA)
DIRECTOR: Ti West
Patrick is a photographer whose once drug-addicted sister, Caroline, is a member of an isolated sober-living community in Mississippi. When his sister leaves the country to start a new utopian society in the jungle, he enlists two co-workers to shoot a documentary on their whereabouts. Based on detailed research of the infamous Jonestown massacre, THE SACRAMENT is a thoroughly terrifying examination of modern religion, charismatic influence and the exploitation of power.
DIRECTOR: Hitoshi Matsumoto
To improve his sex life, Takafumi Katayama joins an intense S&M club that also makes unannounced house calls. But when the line is crossed and he tries to cancel his membership, things only escalate. As his story of sexual adventures unfolds, it is interspersed with scenes of a director who, at age 100, is putting the very film together. Intended to excite and disorient, R100 proudly proclaims it cannot be understood by anyone who has not lived a century or longer.
WITCHING AND BITCHING (SPAIN)
DIRECTOR: Alex de la Iglesia
Propelled by a broken marriage and an empty bank account, José leads a small group of common thieves as they rob a cash-for-gold shop. With his 8-year-old son in tow, the bad boy bandits flee north to the Basque Country, home to ancient coves and witchery. Soon they find themselves trapped in a mysterious mansion with a horde of crazed women hungry for human flesh. The result is high energy horror comedy at its finest.
FOR NO GOOD REASON (UK/USA)
DIRECTOR: Charlie Paul
British artist Ralph Steadman rose to prominence in the 1970's with his stirring images on world politics and his collaboration with legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Following actor Johnny Depp's visit to Steadman's studio, FOR NO GOOD REASON offers a look inside the radical illustrator's life and inspiration, with a blend of animation, archival footage and interviews with famous admirers.
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967) (USA)
DIRECTOR: Norman Jewison
Sidney Poitier's varied career as virtually the only African-American movie star of the Civil Rights era reached a peak in 1967 with this major hit. When an African American detective is asked to investigate a murder in Sparta, Mississippi, he must also endure the racial hostility of its townspeople. Low-key but intense Poitier plays off Rod Steiger's edgy performance, with strong direction from Norman Jewison and music by Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. In a decade of innovative filmmaking, this socially groundbreaking film united some of the finest industry talents.
PARIS, TEXAS (1984) 30th Anniversary Screening reuniting cast and crew at the Historic Texas Theatre.
DIRECTOR: Wim Wenders
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell
A man wanders out of the desert after a four year absence. His brother finds him, and together they return to L.A. to reunite the man with his young son. Soon after, he and the boy set out to locate the mother of the child, who left shortly after the man disappeared.
PRODUCE (USA) (World Premiere)
DIRECTOR: Chris Dowling
In St. Matthews, Kentucky, Calvin is a professional baseball player reeling from the curveball life has thrown him. Forced into an early retirement due to his panic attacks at the plate, he sleepwalks through his days and struggles to raise his teenager daughter. But one day, he finds himself awakened, his life invigorated by an unlikely person: Produce, a kid with Down syndrome who works at the local grocery store. The result is a heartfelt film about finding redemption through faith and friendship.
STAGECOACH (1939) (USA)
DIRECTOR: John Ford
STAGECOACH, the Western of Westerns, is an epic saga that made John Wayne a star and earned Thomas Mitchell (as Doc) an Academy Award. When a rag-tag group of folks travel across the vast landscape of Monument Valley, Colorado, they wind up in a thrilling race across the desert against a Native American tribe on a warpath. As the Ringo Kid says himself, "there are some things a man just can't run away from." This classic is one of them.
TRUST ME (USA)
DIRECTOR: Clark Gregg
TRUST ME follows flailing agent Howard Holloway, whose own failed career as a young actor makes him a seemingly natural fit for the scheming, brown-nosing world of Hollywood agents. Yet, despiteŠnay, because of his good intentions, Howard is unable to find even a smidgen of success, bumbling through one failed interaction onto the next. Howard unexpectedly stumbles upon a new prospect: Lydia, a tremendously talented‹and currently unrepresented‹fourteen-year-old. Determined to succeed for once in his life, Howard resolves to do whatever it takes to build Lydia¹s career and to protect her from her mercurial (and frequently intoxicated) father Ray.
COWBOYS OF COLOR - A MULTI-CULTURAL LEGACY
DIRECTOR: Coy Poitier, Jacolby Percy
A documentary film that chronicles the heritage and history of cowboys from various ethnic backgrounds across America.
DIRECTOR: Akil DuPont
A tragic adoption from an orphanage in the 1930s separates Charles from his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia. Charles only sees the world through silhouettes, but learns to ex- press himself through art. While working as a field hand, Charles and Sylvia reconnect 15 years later. Sylvia is en- gaged to a man that she can't love and Charles sets out to remind her about a side of herself that she lost long ago.
3 ACRES IN DETROIT (France/USA)
DIRECTOR: Nora Mandray
Two guerilla gardeners want to make Detroit a little greener - with organic farming.
DIRECTOR: Frances Bodomo
On 16 July 1969, America prepares to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. Inspired by true events.
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Robbins
In a new, predatory ice age, two brothers search for a place to call home.
DIRECTOR: Lendita Zeqiraj
Jeton, a 10-year-old boy is sitting on the edge of a balcony on the 4th floor. Neighbors and passers-by, terrified by this situation, call the police and firefighters for help. But the situation quickly becomes unmanageable.
BEASTS IN THE REAL WORLD (Canada)
DIRECTOR: Sol Friedman
An experimental mixed-media short exploring the tenuous connections between a naturalist, a rare land-mammal, some ghosts and a pair of sushi chefs.
DIRECTOR: Courtney Ware
As a woman struggles to work on her next commissioned painting, she's pulled into the blurring realities around her.
THE BOY SCOUT (USA)
DIRECTOR: Patrick Brooks
Grant and Leah's car gets stuck in an early season snowstorm, during an impromptu trip to the mountains. After six days of captivity, they must answer the question: should we stay, or should we go?
THE BRAVEST, THE BOLDEST (USA)
DIRECTOR: Moon Molson
Two army casualty-notification officers arrive at the Harlem projects to deliver some news to Sayeeda Porter about her son serving in the war overseas. But whatever it is they have to say, Sayeeda ain't willing to hear it.
DIRECTOR: Toby Halbrooks
A young girl watches her father dig a hole in their backyard. Mystified about his purpose, the neighborhood comes to watch.
THE DIGGERS (USA)
DIRECTORS: Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
A documentary on two grave diggers from King City.
DIRECTOR: Daniel Labs
A character study about the relationship between two brothers, one on the verge of becoming an adult, the other becoming a teenager, and impact each other's choices have on one another.
DIRECTOR: David Esfeh
A short documentary about the student loan debt crisis.
DIRECTOR: Renny Maslow
Two friends pedal across a post-apocalyptic landscape on a tandem beach cruiser and face the question: when oil runs out, where exactly is the line that society can cross before it ceases to be a society at all?
FLESH COMPUTER (USA)
DIRECTOR: Ethan Shaftel
When his cybernetic pet project is put in jeopardy, the handyman of a decaying apartment building is forced to take a stand, blurring the lines between human and machine.
A GRAND CANAL (Canada/China)
DIRECTOR: Johnny Ma
The tragic events of a boat Captain who must collect a debt to save his fleet of boats, as remembered by his ten year old son.
HACKED CIRCUIT (USA)
DIRECTOR: Deborah Stratman
This circular study of the Foley process portrays sound artists at work constructing complex layers of fabrication and imposition.
THE HOME TEAM (USA)
DIRECTOR: Joshua Seftel
What's in the water of Murray, Kentucky that such a small, tight-knit town is home to such an extraordinary basketball team? Murray's love for THE HOME TEAM runs deep, and on the night of the big game, a single act of generosity changes everything.
I WAS A TEENAGE GIRL (USA)
DIRECTOR: Augustine Frizzell
Emma and Jesse are close friends. One night, after an intense breakup, they have a heartfelt conversation that challenges the boundaries of their friendship in an unexpected way.
JACK'S NOT SICK ANYMORE (USA)
DIRECTOR: Chloe Domont
A daughter struggles to keep her parents together, despite her ailing father, all while moving out of her childhood home.
LAMBING SEASON (USA)
DIRECTOR: Jeannie Donohoe
The offbeat tale of Bridget, an American woman who travels to the Irish countryside to track down her long-lost father while posing as a stranger.
THE LOTTERY (USA)
DIRECTOR: Shahir Daud
While waiting to board his plane so that he can immigrate to America, Augusto Ramirez recalls the three biggest regrets in his life.
DIRECTOR: Craig Elrod
Denial. Regret. Depression. Foam Party.
MR. LAMB (USA)
DIRECTOR: Jean Pesce
A dark comedy about a lonely waitress who is in love with her pen pal -- the convicted murderer, Charles Lamb.
DIRECTOR: Melissa Hickey
A lonely street thug yearns for a better life after he bumps into a girl from his past and remembers the boy he used to be
RANDOM STOP (USA)
DIRECTOR: Benjamin Arfmann
On his way home at the end of his shift, Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Dinkheller made one final stop. Based on tragic true events.
DIRECTOR: Tom Rosenberg
A surreal study of a simulated terrorist attack in middle America. Composed frames observe the meticulous care taken to stage a hyperreal terrorist event. Once the bomb goes off, hundreds of volunteers deliver a convincing performance as stunned and mutilated blast victims.
SATELLITE BEACH (USA)
DIRECTORS: Luke Wilson, Andrew Wilson
SATELLITE BEACH follows the unique journey of the Endeavour space shuttle as it travels through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center and the final move of the Atlantis space shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center.
STRIKE: THE GREATEST BOWLING STORY EVER TOLD (USA)
DIRECTOR: Joey Daoud
On one seeming ordinary night underdog Bill Fong begins to get strike after strike, nearing the ever elusive "perfect series", a feat only achieved 21 times since 1895. The achievement would be historical, the first for Texas and the first by an Asian-American.
TOBACCO BURN (USA)
DIRECTOR: Justin Liberman
Decades before the Civil War, the actions of a brutal overseer spark the fire of revolution on a Southern tobacco farm.
DIRECTOR: Susana Casares
Being a teenager isn't easy, especially for Nayla, a Muslim American girl who wants to join her new high school's cheer leading squad.
DIRECTOR: Brett Weiner
A jaded lawyer wastes an afternoon trying to figure out if a dim-witted government employee has ever used a photocopier. All the dialogue in this short comes from an actual deposition filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Animated Shorts Competition - Sponsored by REEL FX
DIRECTOR: Nicolai Troshinsky
A boy loses his glasses and can only see one thing in focus at a time. With his sight shaped by the sounds around him, he must learn to explore a blurry world of unknown places and strange characters.
CRIME: THE ANIMATED SERIES (USA/Canada)
DIRECTORS: Sam Chou, Alix Lambert
From bank robbers to cops to victims to observers, CRIME: THE ANIMATED SERIES explores how crime affects us all.
EVERYTHING I CAN SEE FROM HERE (UK)
DIRECTORS: Bjorn-Erik Aschim, Sam Taylor
A game of football turns deadly as an uninvited player joins in.
FLESH (CARNE) (Columbia)
DIRECTOR: Carlos Gomez Salamanca
The faces and impressions surrounding an animal sacrifice in Columbia are brought to life in an animated reconstruction from actual video archive footage that counters the profane with the abstract.
HART'S DESIRE (UK)
DIRECTOR: Gavin C. Robinson
An aspiring hermit, an aspiring socialite, and a shared flask of tea in this graphically rich fable.
THE LAST 40 MILES (USA)
DIRECTOR: Alex Hannaford
A condemned man takes his last journey: from his solitary cell on death row in the east Texas town of Livingston, to the execution chamber 40 miles away in Huntsville. During the journey, his memories, the unlikely warmth of the guard escorting him, and his ever-present hope keep him company. Based on a true story.
MARILYN MYLLER (USA/UK)
DIRECTOR: Mikey Please
Marilyn maketh. Marilyn taketh awayeth. Marilyn is trying really hard to create something good. For once, her expectation and reality are going to align. It will be epic. It will be tear-jerkingly profound. It will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong.
THE MISSING SCARF (Ireland)
DIRECTOR: Eoin Duffy
On a quest to find his missing scarf, Albert the squirrel unearths problems far beyond his own.
A TANGLED TALE (USA)
DIRECTOR: Corrie Francis Parks
A lone fish, hooked by an angler's line, encounters another in the same dire situation. As the two fish struggle, they develop an inevitable, entangling attraction. Is it love or merely a will to survive?
DIRECTOR: Bernardo Britto
A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here
to report it, or see our DMCA policy