In a relatively short six years of existence, Dallas' Oak Cliff Film Festival has put itself on the map as one of the most adventurous and carefully curated events in the Southwest. Based in the historic southern Oak Cliff neighrborhood of Dallas, the festival pushes at the edges of commercial fare while always bringing amazing repertory screenings to attendees.
This year is no different. The festival will open on June 8th with absurdist comedy Lemon, hot off its premiere at Sundance with director Janicza Bravo and actor Brett Gelman in attendance. Closing the fest on June 11th will be David Lowery's new film A Ghost Story, which was shot and produced in and around Dallas.
In between those two events the festival will show an additional 23 features, many of which are having their Texas premieres, and several of which are quite good. Among the highlights are Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya's ode to the dying of the projector light, The Cinema Travellers, Harry Dean Stanton starrer and SXSW hit, Lucky, the Texas Premiere of Alejandro Jodorowsky's Endless Poetry, and many more.
On the repertory side I am incredibly excited that they are showing Jodorowsky's 1990 masterpiece Santa Sangre with star Adan Jodorowsky in attendance and a tribute to the late Jonathan Demme with a free outdoor screening of Something Wild.
It's going to be a great festival! Check out the full details below:
OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES ITS 2017 FEATURE PROGRAMMING INCLUDING THE TEXAS PREMIERES OF DAVID LOWERY’S A GHOST STORY AND ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY’S ENDLESS POETRY
The 6th annual edition of the festival brings the celebration of film to the historic Texas Theatre and other venues in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood from June 8 - 11, 2017
DALLAS, TX (May 9, 2017) –– The Oak Cliff Film Festival (OCFF) announces its Feature Program for the 6th edition of the festival, taking place June 8-11, 2017. The schedule is comprised of 25 feature-length films, seven of which will make their Texas premieres at the hyper-local festival that filmmakers and film-lovers alike call their favorite retreat of the year.
Critically acclaimed director David Lowery’s (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) A GHOST STORY will close the film festival on Sunday, June 11, marking the first Texas screening of the film. ENDLESS POETRY, the latest masterwork by venerated, 88 year-old cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre), will screen Saturday, June 10. Jodorowsky’s son, Adan Jodorowsky, who stars in the film and composed its score, will be in attendance for a Q&A and will perform a live concert set by his alter ego, Adanowsky, following the screening.
“We are extremely excited to host the homecoming screening for David’s new film A GHOST STORY as our closing night program,” said Barak Epstein, OCFF Festival Director. “This is a film that everyone in Dallas will want to see on the big screen. Also, we are proud to host the latest film from legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky who we have always championed at the Texas Theatre. Having his son and composer Adan Jodorowsky make an appearance is a real honor.”
A GHOST STORY was produced and shot in and around Dallas, Lowery’s hometown, with frequent collaborators Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Listen Up Philip), and OCFF Co-Founder Adam Donaghey. The film stars Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck and Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara.
"I presented a film at the Oak Cliff Film Festival last year, just twelve hours before our first day of shooting on A GHOST STORY, so it only feels proper (and thematically accurate to the film!) to bring it to Oak Cliff for its local premiere,” said Lowery on coming home to show at OCFF.
Opening the festival on Thursday, June 8 is the dark, absurdist comedy LEMON, directed by lauded filmmaker Janicza Bravo (Divorce, Atlanta), with both Janicza Bravo and writer/actor Brett Gelman in attendance.
Additional Texas premieres include: THE LITTLE HOURS directed by Jeff Baena (Life After Beth, Joshy), a rowdy comedy about some very unholy and unapologetic nuns in the 14th century, with Jeff Baena in attendance; Kevin Phillips’ SUPER DARK TIMES, a psychological tale about two teenagers growing up in mid-’90s suburbia; the dark and absurdist Romanian comedy SCARRED HEARTS, directed by Radu Jude, about a sanatorium patients' attempts to live life to the fullest as their bodies slowly wither; and a new anti-documentary film from Jem Cohen (Instrument, Museum Hours), WORLD WITHOUT END (NO REPORTED INCIDENTS).
The live musical performances and art installations that are a hallmark of the four-day event will once again be a major part of the Oak Cliff Film Festival. In addition, OCFF will host educational events, including a free-to-students cinematography workshop on Saturday, June 10 at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center.
OCFF takes place at the historic Texas Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Kessler Theater, the Basement Gallery, and other venues in North Oak Cliff.
Festival VIP passes (which provide access to all screenings, events, and access to the VIP Filmmakers lounge all weekend), ticket four-packs, and individual screening tickets are on sale now at www.filmoakcliff.com via OCFF’s official ticketing sponsor, Prekindle. For the latest news and developments, follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook. The full schedule including shorts programs for the 2017 Oak Cliff Film Festival will be announced on May 15.
OCFF 2017 FEATURE PROGRAM
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
LEMON (USA, 90 mins)
Dir. Janicza Bravo
Drama teacher Isaac Lachmann (Brett Gelman), a tall, balding man of extreme moods, is argumentative with everyone except for one student, Alex (Michael Cera). Willing to debase himself to get any kind of job in TV commercials, Isaac lets his relationship with longtime girlfriend, Ramona (Judy Greer), a blind woman, fall to pieces. In her directorial debut, Janicza Bravo displays an impressive sense of composition, timing, and humor wrapped in absurdist comedy.
Filmmaker Janicza Bravo and writer/star Brett Gelman in attendance
CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION
A GHOST STORY (USA, 87 mins)
Dir. David Lowery
With A GHOST STORY, acclaimed director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) returns with a singular exploration of legacy, loss, and the essential human longing for meaning and connection. Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. An unforgettable meditation on love and grief, A GHOST STORY emerges ecstatic and surreal.
Filmmaker David Lowery in attendance. Producers Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, and Adam Donaghey in attendance
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
ASSHOLES (USA, 75 mins)
Dir. Peter Vack
Adah and Aaron are recovering addicts who are struggling to stay sober. After meeting in their psychoanalyst’s waiting room, they fall in love, relapse on poppers, and become the biggest assholes in New York City. Literally. Writer/Director Peter Vack makes his feature directorial debut with an undeniably special, WTF film, that will have you cry-laughing-nauseated.
Director Peter Vack in attendance
Preceded by CHILD PSYCHOLOGY (USA, 15 mins)
THE STRANGE ONES (USA, 81 mins)
Dir. Christopher Radcliff, Lauren Wolkstein
Co-directors Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein’s feature length debut stems from a short by the same name, following the mysterious events of two alleged brothers as they travel across a remote, American landscape. Along the way, questions arise as to the nature of the relationship between the two drifters, as what first seems an innocuous vacation, slowly burns, giving way to a much more complicated and darker truth. Atmospheric and heady, THE STRANGE ONES focuses on isolation and dissonance, while presenting hints at the supernatural and ambiguous nature of two wanderers hiding from something in their past.
LUCKY (USA, 88 mins)
Dir. John Carroll Lynch
Does legendary character actor Harry Dean Stanton play himself in this pseudo comedy western about a 90 year-old cowboy who can’t figure out how he’s still alive? Probably. The film also features great turns by Ron Livingston and Tom Skerrit, as well as David Lynch as an old bar friend who just want’s to find his pet tortoise.
Producer John Lang in attendance
INFINITY BABY (USA, 80 mins)
Dir. Bob Byington
Owing to a genetic mix-up involving stem cell research, the recently founded company Infinity Baby, run by the garrulous Neo (Nick Offerman), is able to offer a service for aspiring parents who never want to leave the baby bubble: infants that do not age. Ben (Kieran Culkin), a serial monogamist who says he wants to find the right woman, but is always looking for the next one, and his competent pals Larry (Kevin Corrigan) and Malcolm (Martin Starr), are hired to market the service to those keen to nurture. Does having a baby automatically confer some level of maturity? Will Ben's mom, the sarcastic and demanding Hester (Megan Mullally), approve of Ben's new girlfriend (Trieste Dunn)? Will Malcolm recover from a disastrous accident with kitchen cleaner? The answers to these questions and more await in Byington's heady and hilarious potpourri.
Director Bob Byington in attendance
LA BARRACUDA (USA, 100 mins)
Dir. Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund
A young British woman named Sinaloa comes to Texas to find Merle (Allison Tolman), her half-sister by way of their dead country musician father. And while the family music legacy brought this stranger to town, darker motives are woven into the songs she sings, showing glimpses of a violent rage that’s been building for years. LA BARRACUDA is a subtle, creeping thriller with a good dose of country music.
Filmmakers Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin in attendance
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
AS I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY (USA, 81 mins)
Dir. Ronnie Garza and Charlie Vela
An overlooked part of America, the Rio Grande “Magic Valley” boasts one of its most eclectic music scenes. From 1960’s garage rockers, to Tejano punks wearing lucha libre masks, and everything in between, the area has served as a melting pot over the years - not just for different genres, but for Mexican and Texan cultures. Covering four generations worth of music history through testimonials and archival footage, AS I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY champions the do-it-yourself spirit and finding your voice.
CINEMA TRAVELERS (INDIA, 96 mins)
Dir. Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya
Showmen riding cinema lorries have brought the wonder of the movies to faraway villages in India once every year. Seven decades on, as their cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their patrons are lured by slick digital technology. A benevolent showman, a shrewd exhibitor, and a maverick projector mechanic bear a beautiful burden: to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running.
CALIFORNIA DREAMS (USA, 83 mins)
Dir. Mike Ott
Filmmaker Mike Ott (Lake Los Angeles, Littlerock) follows a rag-tag ensemble of small-time underachievers whose shared, cherished fantasy of making it in the movies gets them up in the morning, but not much further than that. Blurring the line between simulated vérité and authentic observation, it’s often impossible to tell whether those on camera are playing themselves, simply being themselves or a combination of the two. Throw in Mike Gioulakis’ (It Follows) serenely gorgeous cinematography and you’re in for both a beautiful and perplexing experience.
TRUE CONVICTION (USA, 84 mins)
Dir. Jamie Meltzer
There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas started by Johnnie Lindsey, Christopher Scott, and Steven Phillips, who have decades in prison between them. Now exonerated, the trio has formed their own pseudo-detective agency that frees innocent people from behind bars. The cases they pursue resemble their own: the sort of cases that the justice system should backstop, but usually does not. Taking viewers into the real-life crime drama that surrounds these imperfect freedom fighters on their quest for justice, TRUE CONVICTION highlights the importance of asking the questions that bureaucracy does not.
The men of TRUE CONVICTION - Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey & Steven Phillips in attendance
WORLD WITHOUT END (NO REPORTED INCIDENTS) (USA, 57 mins)
Dir. Jem Cohen
Jem Cohen, best known as the filmmaker behind the Fugazi document Instrument and the elegiac Museum Hours, brings us a new anti-documentary film in WORLD WITHOUT END. Cohen travels to a sea village near London to interview locals and survey the land. As per his Viennale statement, “I embraced the chance encounter and rejected the very idea of the definitive. What I discovered is that the estuary and its insistent tides brought in not only nature and history, but prize-winning Indian curries, an encyclopedic universe of hats, and a nearly lost world of proto-punk music.”
ENDLESS POETRY (Chile, 122 mins)
Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films are like no one else’s. The 88 year-old Chilean maestro sends perhaps his most autobiographical film to OCFF as a continuation piece to 2014’s Dance of Reality. The film stars two of Alejandro’s sons, Brontis Jodorowsky and Adan Jodorowsky (who also composed the score), as father and son; sometimes Alejandro himself breaks the fourth wall and enters the family within the film as well. (Don’t worry it will all make sense once you lick that Aztec frog.)
Composer and Lead actor Adan Jodorowsky in attendance
68 KILL (USA, 93 mins)
Dir. Trent Haaga
Ex Troma screenwriting hero Trent Haaga comes out swinging hard in his sophomore directorial effort. Lead actor Matthew Gray Gubler (“Intern” from A Life Aquatic) throws everything into hyper-drive in this punk-rock after-hours epic bloodbath about femininity, masculinity, and the theft of $68,000.
THE LITTLE HOURS (USA, 90 mins)
Dir. Jeff Baena
A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns in the middle ages. Yet another scene-stealing performance from Aubrey Plaza will quench the thirsts of the faithful, A blessed ensemble cast, including Alison Brie, whose turn as a nun feels ordained, fills out this entertaining medieval romp with foul mouthed nuns. If you wanted an absurdist version of The Witch, this will work just fine for you.
Short Synopsis: A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns in the middle ages.
Filmmaker Jeff Baena in attendance
PORTO (USA/ Portugal, 76 mins)
Dir. Gabe Klinger
Gabe Klinger’s PORTO brings a new style and sensibility to the American-meets-a-pretty-girl-in Europe genre. Lensed by Wyatt Garfield, the film uses mixed films stocks and aspects via Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm to present a certain melancholy, lived-in feel and one of the last on-screen roles from Anton Yelchin.
DFW PREMIERE - Presented on 35mm
Filmmaker Gabe Klinger in attendance
PERSON TO PERSON (USA, 84 mins)
Dir. Dustin Guy Defa
Bene hosted a party at his place last night, and this morning, there’s a stranger passed out on his floor who won’t leave. This is NYC, so Bene isn’t the only character grappling with the mundanity of life. An ensemble cast of Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Michaela Watkins, and Bene Coopersmith together depict a group of New York oddballs - a reserved apartment dweller, an impassioned record collector, and a field reporter on her first day of work, among others - over the course of one day. Their stories don’t necessarily intersect, but it’s their experience of the city that ties them together.
Producers Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston in attendance
DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (FRANCE, 115 mins)
Dir. Albert Serra
The annual OCFF “Sunday Slow-Core” returns with French King Louis XIV (played to perfection by Jean-Pierre Léaud - the kid from 1959’s The 400 Blows!) wearing a wig and surrounded by servants who just want him to eat an egg. Candlelit Cinematography: Check; One Epic Dolly Shot with equally Epic Music Cue: Check; Crying out in the night for water: Check; Bloodletting and other questionable medical practices: Check. Nursing your hangover with the depiction of the laborious, painful death of an elderly king: Check!
THE CHALLENGE (FRANCE/ITALY, Arabic language, 70 mins)
Dir. Yuri Ancarani
Falconry has a history that stretches back over 40 centuries. In the West, it was a prevailing passion of the medieval aristocracy, but its prestige continues undiminished in contemporary Arab culture. The spirit of a tradition that today allows its practitioners to keep a close rapport with the desert, despite their predominantly urban lifestyle, is captured grace of three years of field observation. In the glaring light of an empty landscape, following flight lines and lures, the film recounts a strange kind of “desert weekend,” in which technological and anthropological microcosms hang in the air, like the falcon, drifting on the irreversible currents of images. Also one of the shieks owns a well behaved cheetah and an impractical Lamborghini.
SUPER DARK TIMES (USA, 100 mins)
Dir. Kevin Phillips
Best friends Zach and Josh are like any other teenagers growing up in mid-’90s suburbia. They lead normal lives that revolve around high school, their crushes on the same girl, and loitering about town. When an afternoon in the park takes a grave turn, however, the boys try to pretend as though nothing has happened. The guilt soon starts to eat away at Zach as he is caught between nightmares and an increasing paranoia that Josh is no longer the same.
SCARRED HEARTS (Romania, 141 mins)
Dir. Radu Jude
Emanuel, a man in his early 20s, spends his days at a sanatorium suffering from bone tuberculosis. He narrates his and his fellow patients' attempts to live life to the fullest as their bodies slowly wither, but their minds refuse to give in. SCARRED HEARTS is a dark and sometimes silly comedy inspired by Romanian author Max Blecher's 1937 book about love, terminal illness, and how to sometimes look on the bright side of life. Shot on 35mm in a 1.37 Academy ratio with bright colors and gorgeously framed static shots, the film presents a stylized window in the past. An art film with many rewards for the patient moviegoer, or as The Hollywood Reporter recently warned, “beyond a tough sell.”
A LIFE IN WAVES (USA, 74 mins)
Dir. Bret Whitcomb
“I wanted technology to be sensual, that was always my directive.” Early synth music pioneer Suzanne Ciani was behind some of the most innovative sounds and jingles of the 70s and 80s, including spots for Atari and Coca-Cola and multiple soundtracks. A LIFE IN WAVES utilizes a wealth of archival footage from Suzanne’s endless catalog of music. It’s a compelling look at one woman’s ability to break into a mostly male-dominated field, against all odds.
Director Bret Whitcomb in attendance
SANTA SANGRE (1989) (MEXICO, ITALY, 123 mins)
Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
In SANTE SANGRE, the traumatized son of a circus knife thrower and a trapeze artist bond grotesquely with his now-armless mother. The movie is often considered Jodorowsky’s most accessible and, although many Jodorowsky films defy easy categorization, the film has found a life as a cult horror film. Roger Ebert said of SANTA SANGRE: “It is a horror film, one of the greatest, I am reminded by Alejandro Jodorowsky that true psychic horror is possible on the screen – horror, poetry, surrealism, psychological pain and wicked humor, all at once”. The film stars Alejandros’s sons Axel Jodorowsky and, in his first on-screen performance, Adan Jodorowsky, as the young son who would grow up to be insane.
Actor Adan Jodorowsky in attendance
SOMETHING WILD (1986) (USA, 114 mins)
Dir. Jonathan Demme
The uneventful life of a the businessman Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels) suddenly changes when he meets the wild and sexy Lulu (Melanie Griffith). But, the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband (Ray Liotta) shows up. An unbridled Jonathan Demme effortlessly weaves a slapstick tone with unflinching drama. Part romance, part road movie, part blood-spattered drama, “it’s a schizophrenic movie,” Mr. Demme has said, “a screwball comedy that turns into a film noir, as life itself does.”
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About OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL
The Oak Cliff Film Festival was established in 2012 as a regional film festival in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas. The festival has been received national acclaim from prominent sources including The New York Times, Filmmaker Magazine, and Moviemaker Magazine. Led by the Aviation Cinemas team, who took over operations at the Texas Theatre in December of 2010, and backed by the 501 3(c) Oak Cliff Foundation, the Oak Cliff Film Festival features the very best of Oak Cliff’s theater venues, highlights the popular restaurants and bars of the area, and seeks to showcase the best of independent and brave filmmaking of all stripes from Texas and beyond. If you would like to get more information about the Oak Cliff Film Festival or its line-up, visit www.filmoakcliff.com or follow us – @filmoakcliff.