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Documentaries and Human Connection Drive the 2022 Oak Cliff Film Festival

The Oak Cliff Film Festival is returning for its 11th year, with an emphasis on the way film unites us and a programming slate filled with must-see documentaries.
By Austin Zook |
Bret Redman

The Oak Cliff Film Festival continues its tradition of bringing films to challenge, inspire, and entertain audiences. From June 23–26, the festival will screen documentaries, narrative features, and repertory screenings of older films at Wild Detectives, the Kessler Theater, and Bishop Arts Theatre Center.

The Texas Theatre will act as the base of operations for the festival. Opening and closing night events, as well as screenings, will be held at the historic theater. In addition to films, the festival will host a live comedy show, concerts, and parties throughout Oak Cliff.

Chris Gardner, the head of PR and transportation for the festival, says they chose films that showcase the medium as a unifying factor for audiences. “You always have something to talk about when it comes to film. It’s this binding thing, a way to make friends,” he says. “It’s a way to connect with people.”

This year’s programming differs from years past in one key aspect: the addition of more documentaries to the lineup. The influx was the result of a number of “remarkable, standout documentaries” they came across this year. “We are trying to bring a film experience that most people would not get elsewhere,” Gardner says. “You do not see very many documentary-heavy festivals, especially not in Texas. The fact that so many of the subjects are real and experiencing what feels like scripted experiences because they are so strange and unique. It feels like lightning in a bottle. That is something you do not get very much of in Dallas.”

In addition to documentaries, this year’s festival brings experiential cinema. Gardner points to 32 Sounds and Chop and Steele. “32 Sounds is a very auditory experience that will be paired with an audio and visual presentation in the lobby of the Texas Theatre afterwards,” he says. The film itself is designed as a “profound sensory experience” that explores “the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us.”

Chop and Steele follows The Found Footage Festival, a comedy troupe that shares clips from their “vast collection of VHS ephemera” with audiences and their run-in with a humorless corporation incensed by their use of copyrighted clips in their act. A live performance by Joe Pickett of The Found Footage Festival and Nick Prueher will follow the screening.

“We are very much about the experience of film, the transformation of film, and the way film brings us all together,” Gardner says. “I think everybody can find something to love about our films. Even if you only want to watch cookie-cutter popcorn films or if you think you don’t like documentaries, you can watch these and absolutely lose yourself in these characters, in the cinematography, and the way they capture these wonderful moments.”

Gardner says that its core, even as its programming evolves, the Oak Cliff Film Festival remains unchanged: “We’re bringing movies to Dallas that excite us.”

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

I Love My Dad – This movie follows Chuck (played by Patton Oswalt), a father who attempts to reconnect with his son over social media by impersonating a waitress. When his son begins to fall for this imaginary girl, Chuck navigates the unfortunate situation of having catfished his son. (This film will be the festival’s closing night film.)

Linoleum – The story follows a man (Jim Gaffigan) who decides to build a rocketship after a satellite crashes into his house, to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut.

Jethica – Elena seeks help from Jessica, her best friend from high school, to get rid of Kevin, Elena’s stalker. The two friends seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of Kevin for good.

The Secret of Nimh – OCFF brings Don Bluth’s classic animated feature to Dallas to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

For more information about the festival, including a detailed schedule and information on purchasing a badge, visit the fest’s official site.


Austin Zook

Austin Zook

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