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Inside Film Festivals


by Bart Weiss 1 Aug 2008

At Art&Seek, we’re excited to begin introducing some new guest bloggers. Representatives from several area film festivals will be posting about the North Texas film scene. First up will be Alec Jhangiani, director of programming for Lone Star International Film Festival, who’ll check in throughout August. But before we throw Alec the keys, here’s Bart […]

CTA TBD

At Art&Seek, we’re excited to begin introducing some new guest bloggers. Representatives from several area film festivals will be posting about the North Texas film scene. First up will be Alec Jhangiani, director of programming for Lone Star International Film Festival, who’ll check in throughout August. But before we throw Alec the keys, here’s Bart Weiss, president of Video Association of Dallas and director of the Dallas Video Festival. Along with Michael Cain and Greg Brown from AFI Dallas International Film Festival, Bart helped us organize this. -Anne Bothwell

Have you every gone to a film festival and thought to yourself , “Wow that must be fun. You sit around and watch a bunch of films, eat out with celebs, and hang out with sponsors.” I guess the image is somewhat like that old music video: Money for nothing. (And the chicks for free.) Well I guess I must have thought that 21 years ago when I started the Dallas Video Festival, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that like most things, it was a lot more complex than it seemed. We do go to great lengths to not show you how the sausage is made, so that you can enjoy the flavors. (Or so I have heard ; Sausage is not kosher)

But now KERA’s Art&Seek blog and Anne Bothwell have come and asked the Dallas/Ft. Worth film festivals to blog and tell you what is behind the curtain. Each festival is blogging for a month. It should be fascinating.

I believe that in general, arts administrators, particularly ones from smaller organizations , are the least appreciated people. They all work hard, and live and die with each program, often working without benefits, and often working alone backstage while the stand-up figure head is out taking the bows. Often the every day work is like all work, but what I think you will get from this series is the passion all of these festival staffers have for the films and their audiences. They will, I hope tell you about the films they have shown, the people they have met, and connections they have witnessed and the people that have been moved.

As I often say, films can move us, can make us know and feel things about the world in different ways. They have an anthropological function, showing us foreign lands and cultures, or more about the places we came from. They let us experience the joys and fears of the other, making the other less other. They can make this a better world. Film (and video) festivals can bring images to DFW screens that otherwise might not make enough money to show at some of our fine alternative theaters.

In the beginning, finding out how a film is made can break the magic of innocence of the cinema, but soon that knowledge leads to a deeper understanding. And like watching films, reading about how these festivals are run, who the people are, what they worry and dream about will enrich your festival experience. Of course my hope is that you will come and visit all of these festivals.

Speaking of which, the Video Association of Dallas is presenting The Program , a series of video art at the conduit gallery continues for the next 4 Saturday nights. Check us out.

The Video Association will NOT be blogging first. But we will will pick up in September, when we will know the lineup for the Dallas Video Fest.

And by the way there is still a bit of time to submit you film for this year’s Video Fest.

Our first bloggers are from the Lone Star International Film Festival, presented by the Lone Star Film Society. They had a very successful fest last year. They really got all parts of the film community of Fort Worth together and had a great selection of films. This year, Lone Star will be run by Dennis Bishop, a great man, who knows the film biz from all angles and has the chops to get the job done. We all know the festival will grow and prosper under his leadership.

Looking forward to reading Lone Star’s posts.

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