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Arts & Entertainment

Dallas International Film Festival Sticks to the Magnolia This Year

Eight days of programming begin May 3. Mr. Rogers, Alexander McQueen, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Korn get the documentary treatment.
By Lyndsay Knecht |
'1985' stars Cory Michael Smith, who returns to his small Texas hometown amid the AIDS crisis as a closeted gay man. Dallas-based filmmaker Yen Tan directed it. STILL, '1985'

DIFF is all in one place for its 12th year, making the weeklong-plus stretch at the beginning of May even more attractive. It all happens at The Magnolia in West Village. Read: no hopping up and down Central Expressway to the Angelika and back.

The first 12 films on the lineup just announced include a mix of world premieres, Texas premieres, and documentaries with a heavy focus on music. (There’ll be more than 110 selections from 25 countries, when all is told.)  Opening night is Thursday, May 3, and reportedly a celebration “through the streets of West Village” will follow.

Narrative-wise, there’s an early thread of isolated male protagonists. Paul Schrader’s First Reformed follows Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke), a lonely, middle-aged parish pastor at a small 250-year-old Dutch Reform church in upstate New York. A world premiere of Tejano tells the story of a young man who smuggles drugs across the Texas-Mexico border to pay his grandfather’s medical bills. It’s the first feature directed by Austin’s David GarciaThe Iron Orchard will see its world premiere at DIFF; it’s the tale of Jim McNeely’s quest to become a wildcatter in the 1930s West Texas oilfields, directed by Ty Roberts.

The award-winning short film 1985 by Dallas-based director Yen Tan—about a closeted gay man who returns to his Texas hometown amid the surge of the AIDS crisis — has become a feature. It premiered at SXSW, gaining praise to follow the short’s abundant critical success.

Bone Thugs N Harmony, Korn’s Brian Welch, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Mr. Rogers all get the documentary treatment. And a Texas premiere of a re-envisioned Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich from Dallas-based Cinestate headlines the “Almost Midnight” category, making good on the brand’s promise to deliver more campy horror.

So far every single film is directed by a man and also centers one as its main character— except for Eighth Grade, about a 13-year-old girl in suburbia and her final week of middle school.

More to see at DIFF’s official website. 

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