Dallas Video Festival Reveals First Five Selections

The Dallas Video Festival (or, fine, VideoFest) is marking its 25th anniversary this September by returning to its roots, bringing the programming back to the Dallas Museum of Art. Today the fest sends word of its first five selections, all of which feature strong Texas ties. The most-anticipated film has to be Julia Dyer’s John Hawkes-starring, The Playroom, which debuted at Tribeca back in April. For more about the production and film, check out this interview with Dyer in Filmmaker Magazine.

Another flick to watch for, Trash Dance, a documentary about Austin-based choreographer Allison Orr’s efforts to take the city of Austin’s sanitation department and whip up a choreographed dance routine. The film was a SXSW favorite of VideoFest founder and director Bart Weiss.

Three other docs round out the first selections for the 25th program. The Mayor is about a 88 -year old “tail chaser.” The Beat Hotel, by Dallas filmmaker Alan Govenar, looks at a period when a number of prominent beats fled the U.S. to Paris.  And in Dallas artist and filmmaker James Dowell’s documentary about playwright Edward Albee, The Stages of Edward Albee, Dowell paints Albee’s portrait as he interviews his subject. Her’s the full release:

VideoFest 25 Selects 5 of Its Programs

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


Dallas, TX – The Video Association of Dallas has announced the first five selections for VideoFest 25, which will be Sept. 27-30, 2012 at its original home, the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. in downtown Dallas. VideoFest will feature over 150 programs over the four days.  Now the oldest and largest video festival in the United States, the Fest continues to garner critical and popular acclaim.

VideoFest is open to professional and non-professional makers working in all genres including documentary, narrative, animation and experimental. “Video” is defined broadly to include all media originated or finished in video or other electronic forms, including works originated on video or HD video, digital graphics and animation, hand-drawn animation, works on film finished in video, and works intended for digital distribution.

The first five selected programs for VideoFest 25 are:

The Mayor

Senior love lives abound in The Mayor, the true story of an 88-year-old tail chaser, an adoring widow, and a raunchy gossip queen living it up in a retirement home in Texas.  Made in Dallas-Fort Worth, this film premiered at Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival in 2011.


Trash Dance

Sometimes inspiration is found in unexpected places. Austin-based choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks — and in the men and women who pick up our trash. She joins city sanitation workers on their daily routes to listen, learn, and ultimately to try to convince them to collaborate in a unique dance performance.  “With national discussions swirling around the one-percent versus the 99-percent, Garrison’s thoughtful, eloquent documentary illuminates the reality that all work matters and has dignity, no matter the invisibility of the labor.” – Austin American Statesman


The Beat Hotel

This feature length documentary, directed by Dallas’ own Alan Govenar, goes deep into the legacy of the American Beats in Paris during the heady years between 1957 and 1963, when Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso fled the obscenity trials in the United States surrounding the publication of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb7T_8sA4AU

The Playroom

Four children in their attic hideaway make up a fantastic story, while downstairs their parents weave a drunken intrigue of their own. Directed by Dallas’ own Julia Dyer. The Playroom was a hit at 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and was reviewed by many publications including The New York Times.


The Stages of Edward Albee

This documentary examines the life and work of the leading playwright of our times. In this very personal account of Albee, Dallas artist and filmmaker James Dowell paints Albee’s portrait while the dramatist is being interviewed. Interviews include the playwrights John Guare, Tony Kushner and Terrence McNally, as well as the actors Rosemary Harris, Bill Pullman, Bill Irwin, Judith Ivey, Kathleen Turner and Marian Seldes. Mr. Pullman, Mr. Irwin, Ms. Turner and Ms. Seldes also give us notable readings from Albee plays.



Merging art and technology since 1987, 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 4.0 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.

VideoFest, together with the DMA, were the first institutions in the area to recognize and exhibit video as a fine art medium.  In its 25 year history, VideoFest has used many forms of technology to show its programs; ¾ inch, 8 mm, hi8, VHS, beta, beta SP, 1 inch, d1, d2, d5, HD, HDTV, HDCAM, CD ROMS, DVDs, websites, and YouTube. An interactive room provided early access to interactive video games and CD ROMS.  Patrons of the early VideoFest also were introduced to virtual reality from representatives from NASA and high definition TV (in 1988). It was the first non-profit in Dallas to use a website and of course created an iPhone app.  ITunes enables the VideoFest to easily showcase programs now.

From its beginnings it has showcased films by artists in underrepresented communities whose work was not readily accessible to the viewing public, as well as the work of Texas artists in its juried Texas Show.  It also has celebrated the work of TV pioneers such as Ernie Kovacs by presenting an award in his honor.  Documentary filmmakers are celebrated via the Albert Maysles Award.  Even the Festival’s posters and intros are works of art provided by local artists.


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 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. For press information: Lisa Taylor at 214-914-1099, [email protected].