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AFI Dallas Begins Today


by Stephen Becker 26 Mar 2009

The AFI Dallas International Film Festival kicks off today with the opening-night screening of The Brothers Bloom at NorthPark Center. From today through April 2, 173 feature films and shorts will screen during the festival’s third installment, and Art&Seek is here to help you make the most of the event. Be sure to check back […]

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The AFI Dallas International Film Festival kicks off today with the opening-night screening of The Brothers Bloom at NorthPark Center. From today through April 2, 173 feature films and shorts will screen during the festival’s third installment, and Art&Seek is here to help you make the most of the event. Be sure to check back every day for reviews, recommendations, features and live coverage. And don’t forget the Art&Seek blog, where you can find info on ticket giveaways,  and conversation about the festival. To kick things off:

  • What goes into programming a film festival? We asked that question and others to AFI Dallas senior programmer James Faust as part of this week’s Art&Seek Q&A.
  • Art&Seek’s Stephen Becker reports that while AFI Dallas is an international film festival, it hasn’t forgotten about the local movie-making talent:
  • Expanded online story:

Star power is the sizzle that AFI uses to sell the festival to North Texas.

But like most film festivals, only a few of the movies feature brand-name talent. The rest are smaller movies made by people trying to get a foot in the door, including a number of filmmakers from the area.

Justin Hilliard is one of those people.

The Other Side of Paradise is the second feature the Dallas director has made with his wife, Arianne Martin. He says that in selecting films made in the state, AFI is fulfilling doing its part to serve the Texas film scene.

HILLIARD: “A festival should look at the local talent and embrace them and push them forward as much as they would the people that have already been established shooting so-called indie film on a $10 million budget.”

To that end, seven films will vie for $20,000 in cash and prizes in the festival’s Texas Film Competition

AFI Dallas’ senior programmer James Faust says that part of the festival’s mission is to keep local talent local.

FAUST: “I hope we can get them to stay, make more, and then all the sudden those great artists that feel like they have to go to New York or L.A. to make it stay here and make great Texas films.”

Hilliard agrees, saying an investment in artists is an investment in the area.

HILLIARD: “You gotta kinda look at who’s gonna be there in five years and kinda give them equal time as far as just exposure.  Because if you nurture your artists, they’re going to grow and keep their roots in the community and come back and help in the future.”

AFI Dallas runs through April 2, with a celebration of Texas film scheduled for April 3.

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  • NPR has pledge drives to pay for programming. At the same time indie move makers have tons of great films that need exposure.
    Instead of buying from ‘out there’, why not make your own programming featuring local filmmakers?
    Why is the expensive ‘out there’ film and TV programming better than what you could do in house?
    Seems to me you would do better to play local. Do a special or series on AFI films that the filmmakers let you show. Lot less cost, lot better programming, and you could even export it as a program to sell for other markets.
    Seems to me KERA should put Dallas ahead of Hollywood.
    Part of the art revolution started here in Dallas.