Still from Chasing Coral.


Which Film Festival Should You Go To This Weekend?

In the battle between Thin Line and EARTHxFILM, it's free live music vs. the chance that Rick Perry stumbles into a FernGully screening.

Two North Texas film festivals share calendar space this weekend. And while we realize it’s not a competition, and one could conceivably go to both, comparisons are inevitable.

In one corner, making its debut at Fair Park, is EARTHxFILM. Centered around films about the planet and our role in not destroying it, the new festival is an offshoot of Earth Day Texas, the environmental expo that is very Dallas in both its size — it’s big — and its optimistic belief in the power of private industry to solve the problems of its own making, in this case the biggest problem being a rapidly warming planet.

In the other corner, celebrating its 10th anniversary in Denton, the Thin Line Film Festival returns with a movie lineup a bit broader than its documentary-focused programming of years past. Regardless, it’s still heavy on the docs, and outside of the movie theater, you’ll find photography exhibits and a ton of live music.

If you, web-browsing cinephile, can only make it to one film festival this weekend, which should it be? Here we will make brief cases for each one.

The case for EARTHxFILM (April 20-23 at Fair Park)

  • Perhaps finally an answer to the question: “Can film change the world?”
  • Chasing Coral, a moving and beautiful documentary about the world’s disappearing coral reefs. It’s already won an audience award at Sundance and been picked up for distribution by Netflix.
  • It has a virtual reality lounge.
  • Maybe Energy Secretary and noted climate skeptic Rick Perry, Texas Railroad Commissioner and fracking enthusiast Ryan Sitton, or one of the petroleum industry representatives on hand at Earth Day Texas will stumble into a screening of FernGully and realize they’re basically the bad guys bulldozing the rainforest full of magical fairies in that movie.
  • This panel discussion about Where’s The Food?, an in-progress documentary about southern Dallas food deserts.

The case for Thin Line (April 19-23 at Campus Theatre and elsewhere around Denton)

  • Everything is free
  • Live music, including a really great Friday night lineup at Dan’s Silverleaf with Riverboat Gamblers, Pee-lander Z, and Mind Spiders
  • There’s steady photography programming, including a “gallery experience” at the Golden Triangle Mall
  • Documentaries have always been this festival’s bread and butter, and a couple eye-catching films on the lineup this year include a doc about Bill Nye the Science Guy and Alone Among the Taliban.
  • It’s the festival’s 10th anniversary, which is special.