By Don Simpson | February 15, 2012
The Dallas International Film Festival announced today the first fifteen films chosen to screen at the sixth edition of the festival (April 12 – 22, 2012). The lineup includes two world premieres and nine Texas premieres. Films entered into the narrative feature and documentary competition will have the chance to win an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 per category and those entered into the Environmental Visions Competition will have the chance to win a cash prize of $10,000 from Whole Foods. The Embrey Family Foundation returns with a $10,000 prize to bestow the Silver Heart Award to an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity.
Legendary animator, director, author and illustrator Glen Keane, best known for his work on Disney’s Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid and Tangled, was named this year’s honoree for the Texas Avery Animation Award presented by REEL FX. Keane has previously received the prestigious Winsor McCay Award, which is also presented for lifetime achievement in animation.
DIFF 2012 sees the return of a number of alumni. Named in 2011 as “one to watch” by Variety, producer and DIFF’s Advisory Board member Jason M. Berman returns to Dallas with two films in this year’s festival, the critically acclaimed drama, Luv and Ryan O’Nan’s The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best. Marking their third appearance at DIFF — Kamp Katrina (2007) and Intimidad (2008) — Ashley Sabin and David Redmon go behind the scenes of the Japanese and Siberian modeling industry and uncover the unsettling truth in their documentary, Girl Model. Another DIFF alum Academy Award winner Alex Gibney is executive producer of world premiere Biba! One Island, 879 Votes directed by his longstanding colleague in cinematography, Benjamin Bloodwell.
Lawrence Kasdan’s return to directing in nearly 10 years will be a highlight in the Texas premiere of his drama Darling Companion, featuring a stellar cast that includes Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest and Elisabeth Moss. Genre fans will be in for a special treat as the director of The Grudge films, Takashi Shimizu, will be in town to head up the festival’s Midnight category with his most recent work, Tormented. The Atomic States of America is the first film to be announced in the Environmental Visions Competition. The winning film in this category will not only win the unrestricted cash prize from Whole Foods, it will also screen again as part of Earth Day Dallas on April 22, 2012.
Three selections were announced in the popular and coveted Texas Competition category: Dallas Cowboys documentary America’s Parking Lot; Sironia which marks the return to Dallas for the majority of the cast and crew (including Angel actress Amy Acker); and the world premiere of Mark Potts’ Cinema Six .
Approximately 180 films from all over the world will be screened over 11 days. For the first year since the festival’s inception there will be a Festival Village at Mockingbird Station. The Festival Village will serve as the hub of the festival where filmmakers and film fans will have the chance to mingle and network at the Festival Lounge and CBS Radio will present its first ever Music Lounge – showcasing local music to the public every evening for the festival’s eleven-day duration. Only a few steps from Mockingbird Station, Kimpton’s luxurious Hotel Palomar will conveniently offer a stylish retreat for the out-of-town filmmakers and visiting celebrities as the festival’s host hotel.
The festival will culminate with the Dallas Film Society Honors on April 20, an evening of tributes with Dallas Star Award honorees and filmmaker award winners at the Hotel Palomar. Along with the cash prizes from Whole Foods and The Embrey Family Foundation, TXU Energy will award grants to the winning schools and student filmmakers for the Student Light Up the Red Carpet Film Contest. Other Grand Jury Prize awards will be presented to the best narrative feature, documentary feature, Texas Competition, Short Film, Student Short Film and Animated Short Film presented by REEL FX Entertainment.
Passes are currently for sale and range from $100 for a Festival Lounge Pass to $750 for an all-access Star Pass. Tickets go on sale at the Prekindle Box Office and online to the public on March 22. The Prekindle Box Office will be featured as part of the Festival Village at Mockingbird Station. For further information on pass levels and how to purchase passes visit: www.dallasfilm.org
The fifteen official selections include…
AMERICA’S PARKING LOT
Director: Jonny Mars
Synopsis: Two die-hard fans and leaders of the legendary ‘Gate 6’ tailgate party, spend their last season with the Dallas Cowboys at historic Texas Stadium. When the Cowboys move 20 miles west to Arlington, the shifting politics and economics of major league sports threaten to dissolve the friendships and traditions they have built over 20 years and they scramble to preserve their place in America’s Parking Lot.
ANDREW BIRD: FEVER YEAR (Texas Premiere)
Director: Xan Aranda
Synopsis: Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. Fever Year is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater with collaborators Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Michael Lewis and Annie Clark of St. Vincent.
THE ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA (Texas Premiere)
Directors: Dan Argott, Sheena Joyce
Synopsis: Following the 2011 9.0 magnitude earthquake which hit Japan and caused chaos at the Fukushima Power Plant, the fierce debate over the safety and viability of nuclear power was back in the public consciousness. The Atomic States of America takes the viewer on a journey to reactor communities around the country, exposes the truths and myths of nuclear power, and poses the question of whether or not man can responsibly split the atom.
BIBA! ONE ISLAND, 879 VOTES (World Premiere)
Director: Benjamin Bloodwell
Synopsis: Biba! follows the rallies and debates of Trenton Conner and Henry San Nicolas in their battle for control over the Pacific island, Tinian. Along the way we learn about Tinian’s historic and geopolitical significance, being the launch point for the Enola Gay in World War II and presently the home of the Voice of America broadcasting towers, sending pro-democracy propaganda into China and North Korea.
BINDLESTIFFS (Texas Premiere)
Director: Andrew Edison
Starring: John Karma, Luke Loftin, Andrew Edison, Will Fordyce
Synopsis: Three high school virgins, suspended from school on a bogus graffiti charge, flee to the inner city in an attempt to live out the plot of The Catcher in the Rye – a book they neither have read nor understand.
THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST (Texas Premiere)
Director: Ryan O’Nan
Starring: Ryan O’ Nan, Michael Weston, Arielle Kebbel, Andrew McCarthy, Jason Ritter, Wilmer Valderrama, Christoper McDonald, Melissa Leo
Synopsis: A singer-songwriter hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary.
CINEMA SIX (World Premiere)
Director: Mark Potts
Starring: John Merriman, Mark Potts, Brand Rackley, Byron Brown, Lindsey Newell, Heather Wallis, Madi Goff, Chris Doubek, Cole Selix, Kevin M. Brennan, Maggie Carey, Barry Corbin
Synopsis: Three small-town friends have to decide whether to keep their easy jobs at a movie theater or actually try to do something meaningful with their lives.
DARLING COMPANION (Texas Premiere)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ayelet Zurer
Synopsis: A story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband and then her husband loses the dog.
DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (Texas Premiere)
Directors: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng
Synopsis: A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland
ESCAPE FIRE: THE FIGHT TO RESCUE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE
Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke
Synopsis: Escape Fire exposes the perverse nature of American healthcare, contrasting the powerful forces opposing change with the compelling stories of pioneering leaders and the patients they seek to help. The film is about finding a way out, about saving the health of a nation.
Directors: David Redmon, A.Sabin
Synopsis: Girl Model follows a complex supply chain between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S. within the modeling industry. The story is told through the eyes of the scouts, agencies and a 13 year-old model.
LUV (Texas Premiere)
Director: Sheldon Candis
Starring: Michael Rainey, Jr., Common, Michael K. Williams, Danny Glover, Meagan Good, Charles S. Dutton
Synopsis: Over the course of one day, a shy 13-year-old forms a bond with his troubled uncle as he shows the boy what it takes to be a man in Baltimore.
Director: Brandon Dickerson
Starring: Wes Cunningham, Amy Acker, Tony Hale, Jeremy Sisto, Courtney Ford, Carrie Preston, Robyn Lively
Synopsis: A singer-songwriter beat up by the L.A. music machine who moves with his wife to Sironia, Texas.
TORMENTED (Texas Premiere)
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Teruyuli Kagawa, Hikari Mitsushima, Nao Ohmori
Synopsis: Tormented centers on a young boy whose family seems to be unraveling around him. His sister is grappling with the reality of life or death, while his father walks a line with insanity. The situation intensifies when the boy manifests a dangerous friendship with a stuffed toy rabbit that comes to life.
WHERE DO WE GO NOW? (Texas Premiere)
Director: Nadine Labaki
Starring: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Layla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf
Synopsis: A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.