One of the biggest documentary film festivals in Texas kicks off Wednesday night in Denton — but what exactly is a documentary? This year’s line-up for Thin Line Film Fest mixes traditional docs with docudramas and mockumentaries which incorporate more “narrative” filmmaking techniques. The point in all this is to get audiences to think, says festival director Joshua Butler. He notes:
“Every year we try and include films that push the edge of what a documentary is, and this year is no different. In fact, we have more of that content, and we don’t specifically tell the audience what’s real and what isn’t, so you get to kinda make that decision for yourself as you watch the content.”
We’ve developed a friendly run-down to help you get through this year’s festival satisfied, entertained, and (hopefully) unscathed.
FILM: Over fifty docs, mocks, etc. will screen through the weekend at Denton’s Campus Theatre, located just off the Courthouse Square. Here’s what you need to see:
- “How to Let Go of the World (And Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change)”: Josh Fox, director of “Gasland,” the Emmy-winning documentary about fracking, returns to Thin Line to screen his latest Oscar-nominated doc. It discusses the cultural impact of climate change, and it’ll kick off the festival Wednesday night. Fox will stick around for a half-hour Q&A after the screening.
- “The Jones Family Will Make a Way”: Bishop Fred Jones and family, touring gospel performers, establish an unlikely friendship with atheist rock critic and gospel historian Michael Corcoran. Director and former Dentonite Alan Berg returns to premiere his film, which screens Thursday at 8 p.m.
- ?????: Thin Line’s prime screening is meant to be a super-special-secret surprise. We’re told that we’ll recognize the (allegedly) famous guest(s) involved in the film and that he/she/they will be there, but that’s about it. In the words of festival director Josh Butler, “You just have to trust that it’s going to be something awesome, or else we would not have put it Saturday at eight o’clock.”
MUSIC: This year’s music festival is directed by Chris Avant, a.k.a. “AV the Great,” a Denton native who won the title of “Best Southern Rapper” at the 2015 Underground Music Awards. Small venues around the city will be packed with 39 assorted musical acts — local and national, hip-hop and otherwise. Don’t miss:
- Fab Deuce: Recently nominated for “Best Mixtape” at the Dallas Observer Music Awards, these guys have been the face of Denton hip-hop for over a decade. You can catch them Saturday night at 11:50 as part of Thin Line’s hip-hop showcase at Andy’s.
- Daniel Markham: Maybe folk-rock’s more your thing. If so, Daniel Markham’s your man. This KXT fave and local powerhouse takes the stage at Dan’s Silverleaf Saturday night at 9.
- The Boombachs: Genres are limiting. Want your rock ‘n roll with a little more soul? Rap? Jazz? The Boombachs are universal. Vibe with them Thursday night at Dan’s.
- Hale Baskin: Friday at 6 p.m. over in the photography showcase (below), you can catch groovy tunes from one of North Texas’ most talented up-and-coming jazz singers, Hale Baskin.
PHOTO: Denton’s new Patterson-Appleton Arts Center will house work from nearly 70 photographers for this year’s Thin Line Photo Fest. The exhibition is accompanied by music from some of North Texas’ best singer-songwriters. Heads up! This newest, super-popular portion of the fest is FREE — no pass required! Catch more work at Thin Line’s secondary photo gallery located inside Denton’s Golden Triangle Mall. Additionally, be sure to swing by the Instant Film Workshop to hone your skills and (maybe) get your work in next year’s gallery.