Dallas International Film Festival Announces Full April Lineup

Here it is, the full list of films selected for the Dallas International Film Festival. There is a lot to shift through here, and we’ll be back to preview the festival, but here are some highlights that jump out:

– By the numbers: 111 films, from 27 countries, five world premieres, one North American Premiere, one U.S. premiere, and 36 Texas premiers.
– The Dallas IFF is throwing its love behind the big boys, studio and theater executives, as well as blockbusters. We mentioned  the Cinemark honors, Robocop, and the new Korean war flick last week. Today the festival announced that it will honor Eric Pleskow, former president and CEO of United Artists and Orion, an executive that led both studios through award-laden eras. I get it. It’s Dallas. Dallas likes (idolizes) businessmen.
– Speaking of money, here’s a sponsor note: Cadillac is gone. “Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers” are in. Which really doesn’t matter much to the festival goer, except that the new sponsor is a mouthful, and pre-screening promo reels tend to mention sponsors a lot. Brace yourself.
– The Latino Showcase is back with two Mexican films, and a movie from Brazil. The topics: a legendary soccer player, a legendary Mexican rock band, and a story about a man who runs away from home to become a mariachi singer, ideally a legendary one.
– A twist on the awards for the Texas Competition: winners will receive $30 thousand worth of camera rental from competition sponsor Panavision. And if you want to know which horse to put your money on in that category, go with University of Texas at Arlington’s Ya’Ke Smith, whose first feature, Wolf, about a family dealing with child molestation, just debuted at South By Southwest.
– Perhaps last year’s strongest single category was its environmental visions competition. This year looks to be quality as well. In includes Academy Award-winning documentarian Jessica Yu’s film about the global water crisis, Last Call at the Oasis; a movie about nuclear power by the filmmakers behind The Art of the Steal (2009); and a debut feature doc by Bryan Hopkins about the gulf oil spill crisis.
– Each year, the festival has spotlighted a different national cinema. This year it is South Korea, and there will be screenings of the blockbuster My Way, as mentioned, as well as the world premiere of Jae Yong Soh and Chang Rae Kim’s first film, Let Me Out, a “zombie melodrama” set around the making of a first film. Unless I’m missing something, that’s all for the Korean showcase. Too bad, it would have been a good excuse to dig deep into the catalogs of Chang-dong Lee, Sang-soo Im, or Joon-ho Bong.
Liberal Arts will play at the fest. It is the latest Elizabeth Olsen-starring picture, and it features an extras casting credit for former FrontRow intern Will Arbery. I’ve already told Will that if it is anything like Josh Radnor’s debut film, happythankyoumoreplease, then I’ll likely despise it. But who knows. I’m looking forward to it.
– And if the fashions at last weekend’s 35 Denton weren’t enough of an indication that the 1980s are full in vogue, you’ll be able to catch Robocop and E.T. at this year’s Dallas IFF.
– In the shorts, why it’s Nash Edgerton, brother of Joel (increasingly a household name), and director of the unforgettable short “Spider” (not to mention the Coen-esque, The Square). If you’ve never seen “Spider,” go watch it – now.
– The animation competition will be Don Hertzfeldt’s to lose, the closing installment of his trilogy going up against Isamu Hirabayashi’s tsunami fable told from the perspective of a 66-year old cicada, a couple of Oscar-nominated shorts (Grant Orchard’s A Morning Stroll and Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s Wild Life), and some others films.

There are still a few elements missing from the announcement, notably the key honorees and additional centerpiece screenings, which often provide the celebrity meat to the festival week. But here is a list of confirmed talent that will appear at this year’s festival:

Robert Byington returns with SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME following his success at DIFF 2010 with HARMONY AND ME; DIFF 2009 Environmental Visions winner for CRUDE and Academy Award nominee Joe Berlinger will grace this year’s Festival with the celebrated Paul Simon documentary, UNDER AFRICAN SKIES. World Premieres of Will Moore’s SATELLITE OF LOVE and Timothy Armstrong’s COWGIRLS N’ ANGELS will see talent Zachary Knighton (HAPPY ENDINGS), Janina Gavankar (TRUE BLOOD) and rising star Bailee Madison (CONVICTION, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK) adorning the Dallas screens.  Brandon Dickerson’s SIRONIA will see musician and writer Wes Cunningham and SMU alum Amy Acker (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, ALIAS) return to their Texas roots and X-MEN’s Famke Janssen will introduce her directorial debut BRINGING UP BOBBY

And for the full release with all the films listed, just click here.

Image at top: Poster for  Ya’Ke Smith’s Wolf