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For 25th Anniversary, Dallas Video Festival Returns To Its Roots

The way Bart Weiss tells the story, The Dallas Video Festival began as the result of a passing aside.
By Peter Simek |

The way Bart Weiss tells the story, The Dallas Video Festival began as the result of a passing aside. The director of the now 25-year-old festival dedicated to visual media of all kinds, with a concentration on the fringe and cutting edge, put together a program of video art at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1986, and when it was over, someone just threw out an idea, “We should do this again,” or “We should make this a festival,” or something along those lines. Twenty-five years later, Weiss says he’s not sure what he would be doing with his time if the suggestion of turning his project into annual festival hadn’t been made, but what we are sure about is that the Dallas Video Festival is one of the city’s most robust and consistently fascinating cultural offerings, which has distinguished itself through the years with its commitment to bold, adventurous programming and exploring new waves of video and digital media forms (“We’re the first Texas festival with an iPhone app,” Weiss boasts while rolling through  a litany of other media platforms the festival has embraced through the years.)

Now, for its 25th anniversary, after years at the Angelika Film Center preceded by years at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the Dallas Video Festival is returning to its roots, launching the 2012 edition at the Dallas Museum of Art.

“We want to harken back to our roots and highlight what separates us from other film festivals,” Weiss said. “We have always trended into the world of art, and we’re really excited that the museum is actively interested in our programming.”

That venue will also see the festival’s “The Program” video art series folded into the main festival, and DMA curator Jeffery Grove may dig some additional video art out of the museum’s archives, Weiss said. Other highlights for the 25th edition:

– The shorts competition will include online voting.

– There will be retrospective programming at The Power Station

– A Robert Frank retrospective

– The fest will again include The Texas Show, highlighting Lone Star State-made films, but here’s an interesting tidbit about the program: Weiss says the VideoFest has preserved every entry into The Texas Show throughout its existence, meaning it now possesses a deep archive of Texas-made films, often holding the highest quality existing editions of those films and videos.

It all gets underway in Sept, and Weiss promises more details on programming as it is finalized. For now, here he is talking about the fest, followed by a full release.


VideoFest To Celebrate Its 25th Anniversary

Sept. 27-Sept. 30, 2012 at Dallas Museum of Art


Dallas, TX – The Video Association of Dallas announced today that the 25th anniversary of its VideoFest will be Sept. 27-30, 2012 at its original home, the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. in downtown Dallas. Call 214-428-8700 for information or visit


VideoFest is now the oldest and largest video festival in the United States, and continues to garner critical and popular acclaim. Merging art and technology since 1986, VideoFest has specialized in independent, alternative, and non-commercial media, presenting hard-to-find works rarely seen on television, in movie theaters, or elsewhere, despite their artistic excellence and cultural and social relevance. Even in a Web 2.0 environment where everything is seemingly available on the Internet, the VideoFest provides curatorial guidance, a critical voice in the wilderness navigating the vast and diverse landscape of media, helping to interpret its cultural and artistic significance. The event provides a communal environment for real-time, face-to-face dialogue between makers and audiences.

Highlights of VideoFest 25 will include:

The winners of the 24 Hour Video Race (the 2012 race will be May 4 at the Angelika);

The winner of VideoFest Awards for narrative feature, narrative short, experimental, documentary feature, documentary short, animation and other;

The Texas Show, a juried compilation of short film and video by Texas artists;

Workshops for filmmakers;

The Program, curated visual art videos and installations, including work by Robert Frank;

VideoFest 25 jewelry designed by Brad Oldham;

Retrospective programming at The Power Station;

Shorts online first for voting, winners to be screened at DMA


The mission of the Video Association is to promote an understanding of video as a creative medium and cultural force in our society, and to support and advance the work of Texas artists working in video and the electronic arts.   The Video Association of Dallas (VAD) is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated on April 25, 1989.   It began in 1986 as a weekend event, “Video As A Creative Medium”, presented at the Dallas Museum of Art by independent curators Barton Weiss and John Held. That first event, which included two nights of video by selected local and national video artists, was a great popular success, which led to the founding of the Dallas Video Festival (DVF) in 1987.  Video Association of Dallas also presents the 24 Hour Video Race, the Texas Show Tour, North Texas College Film Festival, Texas Independent Film Network screenings, Texas Fllmmakers Production Fund workshops, Three Star Cinema, and other programs throughout the year.