photography by Dan Sellers

The Duo Behind AFI’s Film Lineup

For two good-looking young people with steady jobs, James Faust and Sarah Harris don’t have much of a social life. At least not in January and February, when the AFI Dallas programmers watch 20 to 30 shorts and two to four feature-length films per day. This adds up to more than 1,700 movies screened so they can select the 200 or so films that will comprise the third year of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival, March 26 to April 5. “Our policy is that every film reviewed gets two or three sets of eyes, plus our own,” says Harris, an SMU film school grad who at 13 was watching serious movies like A Clockwork Orange. “It makes for late nights.” Faust, who was hired by AFI Dallas artistic director Michael Cain after producing commercials for the Deep Ellum Film Festival, sits five feet from Harris, so the debates—is this a good film for Dallas?—rage night and day. “We talk it out, research the trades, and screen thousands of submissions,” says Faust, whose all-time fave is On the Waterfront. “Sleep is for the weak.”

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