Musical Docs Play to Their Own Beat | 2015 Dallas International Film Festival—April 9-19

Musical Docs Play to Their Own Beat

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by Megan Carder
DIFF Writer

The power of music is an amazing thing. It can shape cultures, define moments, bring people together, even move grown men and women to tears. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who said music hadn’t impacted their life in some way. And there are three documentary films at the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival this year that powerfully highlight the beauty and movement of music.


Like a boom box on your shoulder, FRESH DRESSED lays it down loud and funky. Director Sacha Jenkins chronicles how hip hop music influenced a cultural shift that would take the world by storm. Through historical archives, captivating story-telling, and in depth interviews with some of today’s top recording artists and designers (Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Andre Leon Talley to name a few), Jenkins reveals the passion and the magic behind the hip-hop revolution.

Taking audiences from Hip Hop’s beginning in the 1980’s through its height in the 90’s, and toward it’s dissolution in the early 2000’s, the film clearly defines the importance of individuality and how the freedom of expression can lead to great and unique outcomes.


John Bryant introduces us to the world of percussion in his film DARE TO DRUM. This documentary closely follows five accomplished percussionists and rock star composer Stewart Copeland (you may have heard of his band Police) as they passionately and meticulously create a groundbreaking concerto commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. From grueling study to extensive collaboration, the film follows the inspirational process of finding a truly unique musical sound. After witnessing all the hard work, the hours of practice and exploration, and the excitement of discovery, it’s hard not to fall in love with the rare and brilliant music these artists are able to create.


From Hip Hop, to Symphony, to Gospel, this year’s Festival has it all. THE JONES FAMILY WILL MAKE A WAY is a documentary by Alan Berg that follows one family who has found their calling in life. From an early age Fred Jones knew music was his destiny; and he took off running from there. As he grew up, entered into the church, married and had a family, he couldn’t help but continue his legacy of music. For more than 30 years now, Bishop Jones and his family have been performing their unique gospel sound on the southern gospel circuit. The film documents how an unlikely friendship between the eccentric, Pentecostal Jones’ and atheist, gospel music-enthusiast Michael Cocoran helps the Jones Family act to a whole new level. Inspiration seeps from the screen as Michael exposes the family’s passion and raw talent to a public that had no idea what they’d been missing.

We all have a unique style, and a preference or two for the music we listen to, but one thing threads it all together: passion. Whether it’s a hip hop artist like NOS, a percussionist like D’Drum, or a gospel singer like Bishop Jones, it’s the passion that drives them forward. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. And don’t forget your dancing shoes!




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).

Learn more about the honorees

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.

Learn more about the honorees


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