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The Dallas International Film Festival Will Return to the West Village This Spring

The recently-opened Violet Crown Cinema in West Village will be the home of DIFF 2023.
By Austin Zook |
Violet Crown lobby
The lobby of the newly opened Violet Crown, in the West Village. Violet Crown

The Dallas International Film Festival announced last week that it will be returning to West Village in 2023, with the Violet Crown Cinema hosting the festival from April 28 to May 5. 

DIFF hosted its first full festival since 2019 last fall, but relied on venues across Dallas to accommodate screenings. This year’s festival will be more centralized, thanks to the newly opened Violet Crown. Beth Wilbins, CEO of DIFF, says, “Bringing DIFF back to West Village — and back to its traditional spring timeframe — is major for [the festival].”

The Violet Crown is located at the site of the former Magnolia Theater, both of which were founded by Bill Banowsky. In a statement provided by DIFF, Banowsky says, “It’s an honor to…return to a tradition of hosting DIFF in the heart of Uptown, bringing a range of programming for everyone, especially those seeking the thrill of the premiere, the chance to meet filmmakers, and to celebrate the joy that is modern cinema.”

This year’s festival is expected to consist of over 100 screenings (both feature films and shorts), along with “Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors, nightly DIFF Red Carpets, a festival lounge, and special events.”

James Faust, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said he and the other programmers are currently reviewing film submissions and determining what will screen as part of the festival. This is an involved process that has Faust and his colleagues watching films from around the world and across genres to build out the schedule.

“We’re looking for themes…things that move us, and new things we want to share with the audiences in Dallas. We’ll come in [with an idea for a theme], but sometimes it happens organically,” says Faust. “For instance, last year, in our ‘Texas’ category, there were a lot of great documentaries and it ended up being that the whole category was documentaries because it [felt right].”

Because the selection process is ongoing, Faust couldn’t comment on specific films DIFF plans to show in Dallas this year. However, he spoke generally about trends he is seeing in submissions that he is excited to share with audiences.

“I am really, really fascinated by the way documentaries have really blurred that narrative line,” says Faust. “Even though you’re watching a doc, the way these filmmakers are telling stories today … You watch [them] and think, ‘This is going to be a narrative someday. There’s no way you can have this kind of triumph and tragedy and not have Harrison Ford in this movie at some point.’ It’s fascinating.”

In addition to the professional submissions, Faust says that this year’s student films have been a highlight: “I’m also really interested in some of the work we’re seeing in our student category… I’m just impressed with some of these kids in the North Texas area that are just going out there with a camera…and making really cool things. It’s a testimony to what’s going on with all the great teachers here in the area.”

By bringing films to Dallas while encouraging local talent, Faust says he and his peers are hoping to have a positive impact on the city.

“The fact that we get the opportunity to curate the world and bring a selection of the world here…means everything,” says Faust. “And the fact that audiences here in Dallas have been sponsors, and the city in general has supported us…it’s a great feeling. And I feel very lucky — we all feel very lucky — that we get to do this. We love the city of Dallas, and it has a lot to offer, so we [also] want to bring some offerings to the city.”

Anyone who is interested in attending the festival, as either an audience member or volunteer, can find more information on DIFF 2023 at Faust says that those interested in volunteering can email the DIFF team at [email protected] with questions, or reach out to them on Facebook.


Austin Zook

Austin Zook

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