Home Grown Texas Talent at DIFF 2015 | 2015 Dallas International Film Festival—April 9-19

Home Grown Texas Talent at DIFF 2015

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Friday, April 10 @ Angelika
Wednesday, April 15 @ Angelika
Friday, April 10 @ Angelika
Thursday, April 16 @ Angelika
Saturday, April 18 @ Texas Theatre
Wednesday, April 15 @ Angelika
Thursday, April 16 @ Angelika
Thursday, April 16 @ Angelika
Saturday, April 18 @ Angelika

by Bridgette Poe
DIFF Writer

Crossing over several DIFF program categories, these five films in the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival line-up all have one thing in common: North Texas connections. True to the Lone Star State herself, these DIFF selections are a collection of rich and wide-ranging works.

Films with ties to the area include DARE TO DRUM, an engaging documentary that takes place within the world of Dallas’ fine music scene. D’Drum is a five-member world percussion group based in North Texas that achieves their sound by incorporating the techniques, instruments and musical approach of several different cultures. Maximizing on that philosophy, DARE TO DRUM follows what happens as the group collaborates with Stewart Copeland (yes – THAT Stewart Copeland) and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, led by Jaap Van Zweden. While DARE TO DRUM is an exciting musical tale, the story’s biggest conflict definitely comes from the unique – and often unpredictable –conditions of Texas weather.

The film will undoubtedly be many viewers’ first introduction to the group, but they’ve actually been putting their mark on the Dallas music scene for awhile. (D’Drum contributed music to the locally-produced, award-winning PBS show WISHBONE.) Writer/director John Bryant is not only musically involved with D’Drum and the DSO, he’s also the director of the SMU Meadows Jazz Orchestra. It doesn’t get much more local than that!

Another doc with regional ties is LONE STAR HOLY WARS, competing in this year’s Texas category. When the last game between The University of Texas and Texas A&M was played on Nov 24th, 2011, it ended a rivalry turned tradition well over a century in the making.

Writer/director Lindell Singleton’s LONE STAR HOLY WARS  is much more than just a run-of-the-mill ‘sports doc’ though, he also explores the back story of how the rivalry began. The exciting passion of these players and fans is presented in tandem with a fascinating tale that began back when the first options for higher education were created, and the seeds of competition were immediately planted between the schools. Yes, Singleton’s film explores how influential collegiate football has always been around here, but it’s also an interesting examination of early Texas History.

Also in this year’s Texas Competition is the feature DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT 2. While billed as a sequel, the 1973 cult classic really serves as more of a jumping-off point. The production definitely acknowledges the horror aspects of the original, yet carves out its own creepy, psychological path. Director Anthony Brownrigg not only shot his film locally, he assembled some of the strongest and most recognizable local talent.

Fun Fact: King Hollis, spotted here in a very significant cameo, also produced LONE STAR HOLY WARS – and that’s only the beginning of the ‘competition cast overlap’ that sharp fest viewers will spot! DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT 2 stars DIFF alums Andrew Sensenig and Arianne Margot (both of whom also appear in RED ON YELLA, yet another 2015 Texas Competition entry), but Frank Mosley also gets some serious screen time this year. His mental hospital doctor in BASEMENT nicely contrasts his starring role in the Narrative Competition film, SOME BEASTS.

With his complex turn in SOME BEASTS, DFW-based actor/writer/director Mosley continues his long history with DIFF’s Texas-made films. Starting from his breakout role in THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE (also with Arianne Margot) and his own directorial outing (HOLD), to playing human house pet for a cabal of stripper cannibals in last year’s LADIES OF THE HOUSE, he’s managed to cover all ends of the spectrum.

While the story of SOME BEASTS takes place in rural Southwest Virginia, the Texas connection certainly continues. Dallas-based Director Cameron Nelson (who also works with other local film festivals) is making his feature debut with this outstanding piece. Lead actress Heather Kafka turns in another compelling performance; festival audiences have seen her often, but most recently in ABOUT MOM & DAD (another locally-produced DIFF feature). SOME BEASTS has many strong elements at work, but above all the cinematography is truly amazing. This comes as no surprise as it was shot in the beautiful style that Texas-based viewers have come to recognize as the signature work of HutcH, the director of photography behind PIT STOP (DIFF 2013 Texas Grand Jury Prize winner). Fortunately for viewers, HutcH’s talent can also be seen in two DIFF shorts this year (both of which were also made in the North Texas area), THE OUTFIT and TREADING WATER.

Rounding out the local connection is THE DAY WEST SHOOK TEXAS. As a work-in-progress, it’s being screened under the Special Presentations banner. Director Jim Gerik, (who is also Founder/CEO of Tocrok Productions, an award-winning production company based in Dallas) presents more than just a somber, first-hand account of the tragic explosion in West, TX. He’s also managed to capture on film the sense of community and kind of helpful spirit that can only be found around these parts.




L.M. Kit Carson (Posthumously)
Lone Star State legend and influential writer, actor and producer Carson first gained recognition as creator of the mockumentary, DAVID HOLZMAN’s DIARY (1968), and co-wrote PARIS, TEXAS (1984).

Blythe Danner
Danner is well regarded for her roles in films such as MEET THE PARENTS and THE GREAT SANTINI. The Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress is alos know for her work on television shows such as Will & Grace and Huff.

John Landis
A director for more than 40 years, Landis' films include NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1980), THE BLUES BROTHERS (1978) and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981).

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Presented by REEL FX

Phil Lord and Chris Miller
are the prolific writing and directing duo behind some of today’s most successful comedy films including, THE LEGO MOVIE, 21 & 22 JUMP STREET and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.

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