It’s yet another busy weekend for Dallas cinephiles, as the USA Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the country, returns Wednesday night and runs through Sunday at the Angelika. (For more experimental fare in the next few days, we recommend looking into the Dallas Medianale, the Video Association of Dallas’ block of avant-garde programming that opens with a tribute to Tony Conrad on Thursday at the Texas Theatre and continues through the weekend at the Nasher, the Dallas Contemporary, and the Green Zone.)
While the USA Film Festival can’t compare in size to the Dallas International Film Festival, it still manages to land some compelling movies (and guests) from year-to-year. It’s a manageable, but loaded schedule that you can view for yourself here. We’ve picked out five feature-length movies that caught our eye and listed them here, although we don’t want to give short shrift to the shorts blocks showing Saturday and Sunday.
Voice From the Stone | Wed. Apr. 26 at 7 p.m.
Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke stars in this moody thriller set in the Gothic confines of an Italian villa in the 1950s. Clarke plays a nurse tending to a mute child, and the atmosphere appears to be creepy enough even before the film’s supernatural elements begin setting in. Director Eric D. Howell and producer Dean Zanuck are in the house for this one.
The Dating Project | Thurs. Apr. 27 at 7 p.m.
Producer Chris Donahue, a Dallas native who was inspired to get into show business after attending the USA Film Festival four decades ago, is back for this screening of a new documentary about the changing nature of dating. We’re a little leery that the film seems to be taking a “good old days” approach to the subject—these shallow kids with their dating apps and “hook-up culture”—but we’ll swipe right anyways for a portrait of single people navigating the pitfalls of modern love. And the numbers don’t lie: for the first time in history, single adults in the U.S. outnumber married people. Plus, it’s a free screening.
In Search of Fellini | Fri. Apr. 28 at 7 p.m.
Based on the real-life experience of co-writer and producer Nancy Cartwright, best known as the voice of Bart Simpson, In Search of Fellini follows a young woman trying to find the famed director of the title (and, by extension, find herself) in Italy. The film, fittingly enough, takes plenty of inspiration from the work of the Italian master, a fine director to emulate. Cartwright herself, who co-wrote the movie, will be here along with two co-producers and actress Mary Lynn Rajskub.
Revengeance | Fri. Apr. 28 at 9 p.m.
Cult animator Bill Plympton’s latest film, a surreal plunge into sleazy 1970s Los Angeles, is as weird as the USA Film Festival is going to get. Revengeance follows the bounty hunter Rod Rosse the One-Man Posse on a seedy mission in which violence is guaranteed to ensue. Plympton has cited unconventional noirs like Inherent Vice, Pulp Fiction, and The Big Lebowski as influences, all movies that happen to be right up our alley.
Stickman: The Roosevelt Wilkerson Story | Sat. Apr. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
This documentary chronicles the life of Roosevelt Wilkerson, a homeless artist in Dallas whose handiwork — beautifully carved walking sticks — found their way into the hands of the president and the pope. Before his death in 2015, the Stickman’s work was sought out by collectors and celebrities, and his story got international attention while catching the eye of Brooklyn director Margaret Galbraith, who will be in attendance for this screening.“Stickman” Trailer 6/13/10 from Margaret Galbraith on Vimeo.