The true-life Texas crime drama Trial by Fire screens on Sunday.

Movies

More Opportunities for Film Festing Abound This Weekend

Prioritizing can be difficult, but both the USA Film Festival and the EarthX Film Festival should be on the calendar for local movie buffs.

There’s still at least one more weekend in the spring festival season for Dallas cinephiles, who can divide their moviegoing time between two events through Sunday.

The USA Film Festival kicks off its 49th annual gala on Wednesday at the Angelika Film Center, while the second half of the EarthX Film Festival coincides with the bulk of the EarthX festivities at Fair Park.

The USAFF’s five-day program includes features, shorts, and special programs designed to honor visiting talents such as Ed Asner, Constance Towers, Udo Kier, and Timothy Busfield.

The lineup also has local premieres of some films set for release in the coming weeks, such as Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow, the jazz biopic Bolden, the and the acclaimed Mexican drama The Chambermaid. Here’s a day-by-day guide to the fun:

  • Wednesday: A screening of the fashion documentary Halston includes an opening night reception and an appearance by director Frederic Tcheng (Dior and I).
  • Thursday: The latest documentary from Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney) chronicles the relationship between the late musician Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse.
  • Friday: Kier will be honored with a screening of the indie thriller Last Moment of Clarity, while Dallas native Stephen Tobolowsky will host a short-film program.
  • Saturday: Asner will attend a screening of a documentary about his life and career, Towers will be recognized with Samuel Fuller’s 1964 melodrama The Naked Kiss, and Busfield’s latest directorial effort, Guest Artist, will screen with a Q&A from the erstwhile “Thirtysomething” actor.
  • Sunday: The closing-night drama Trial by Fire is based on the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for a 1991 triple homicide in Corsicana despite claims of his innocence. It’s directed by Edward Zwick (Glory).

 

There are still dozens of environmentally-conscious films remaining at EarthX, including several repeat screenings of titles (plus shorts) from the first weekend. Many of them include in-person filmmaker appearances.

The festival’s spotlight screening on Thursday night is The River and the Wall, a potent documentary about how a proposed border wall would impact the environment along the Rio Grande. It will screen a second time on Saturday.

The selections spotlight a variety of worthwhile causes, such as efforts to save endangered species, promote sustainability, and encourage healthy living. A few highlights:

  • The Biggest Little Farm (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dallas Farmers Market) follows a California couple as they launch a successful organic farming operation just miles from downtown Los Angeles.
  • Ghost Fleet (4:45 p.m. Saturday, Hall of State), which includes an accompanying virtual-reality component, deals with the overlapping effects of invasive fishing, climate change, and human trafficking in Thailand.
  • Sea of Shadows (2:45 p.m. Sunday, Hall of State) chronicles the fight to save the vaquita, a diminutive endangered porpoise, due to overfishing off the shores of Mexico.
  • Sharkwater Extinction (7:15 p.m. Saturday, Hall of State) is the final film by Canadian director Rob Stewart, who drowned in Florida during production of this sequel to his 2006 documentary promoting shark conservation.
  • Tigerland (7 p.m. Saturday, Women’s Museum) is the latest from director Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels), following initiatives to boost the decimated wild tiger population in Siberia.

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