Shorts Reflect on the Good, the Bad and the Awkward of Modern Dating | 2015 Dallas International Film Festival—April 9-19
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Shorts Reflect on the Good, the Bad and the Awkward of Modern Dating

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SHORTS 1
Friday, April 10 @ Angelika
Saturday, April 11 @ Angelika
SHORTS 2
Saturday, April 11 @ Angelika
Sunday, April 12 @ Angelika
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Wednesday, April 15 @ Angelika
Thursday, April 16 @ Angelika

When it comes to these five shorts, the operative word is “awkward” – as in the clammy-palmed, violently nauseous feeling that precedes, attends, and follows physical and/or emotional communion with another human person.

Of course, awkwardness between aspiring lovers has always been around – just ask any of the Marquis de Sade’s conquests – but, as these funny, sharp, and devastating shorts illustrate, modernity has added its own unique twist to the state of affairs.

“I’m excited to be forced to get to know you,” says the tall, dark, and handsome guy to an uneasy girl in the short PINK GRAPEFRUIT, directed by Michael Mohan. The situation seems ripe for torment. A young married couple makes a weekend getaway to Palm Springs, and insists on bringing along their two friends to meet. Who knows? Maybe one thing will lead to another, and…

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It’s easier said than done, though, as we quickly come to learn. The girl and the guy are both wounded in their own ways. They have baggage. As the married couple surely knows, it would be a real feat for their friends to take to one another. And therein lies the masterstroke of this award-winning short, one that makes its home amid the complex dynamics of coupling in the plain view of another couple.

In other words, it’s competition – with stakes we intuit from the richly evocative backdrop of an arid, drought-wracked California landscape.

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The funny and sympathetic LOVE ME TINDER, directed by Sami Abusamra, follows a twenty-something guy to a house within a “1-mile radius” of his – one that, according to his trusty smartphone, contains a consenting girl. As it turns out, the girl is actually an older, matronly lady.

We learn that the guy has recently endured a rough breakup, and is in dire need of some good old no-strings-attached copulation. The evening begins, and there is halting conversation, PG Tips tea, mention of a cat – and, later, an old song that the guy’s mother used to enjoy listening to. It’s not quite what the guy was swiping for. So now what?

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Beware the mattress shopping. In ADJUST-A-DREAM, directed by Jonathan Wysocki, two gay lovers confront the overwhelming variables – traditional springs … foam mattresses … hybrids … firmness … pillow-top, no pillow-top – of mattresses, and embark on an unplanned journey of self-examination. It’s light-hearted, but not frivolous; moving, but not melodramatic.

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In WE’LL FIND SOMETHING, directed by Casey Gooden, Amy Seimetz and Dallas-native Shane Carruth (of Primer and Upstream Color fame) star as a tourist couple having a bad day, while also trying to find a carb-less bite to eat in New York City. Each wears an implacable scowl, as blood-sugar-related frustrations draw to the surface a litany of grievances logged over their short time together.

The humor – and there is plenty – is black, and springs from the very premise: of perceived scarcity amid the utter abundance of a megacity. There’s also the instantly identifiable facility of a warring couple to convert mundane and trivial difficulties and disappointments into weapons-grade material to be deployed strategically. Can someone please get these two a (carb-less) pizza?

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Split screen has never been so potent as in {THE AND} MARCELA AND ROCK, an excerpt from an interactive documentary that captures dramatic conversations between couples. Marcela and Rock have known each other for 25 years, and have been married for seven, when they sit down to address a set of notecard prompts placed before them; the questions on the cards start out warm and fuzzy – What do you remember about the first time we met? – and moderately uncomfortable – Am I the best sex you’ve ever had? But they soon take a turn for the meaty, probing the insecurities, regrets, and failures of each.

Watching the exchange, you feel like you’re looking at the tip of an iceberg; you can sense the mass of lived life, hurt, and love that Marcela and Rock have shared. Their honesty – even about the things they cannot, will not say to each other – is riveting, and the viewer enjoys a rare and authentic emotional experience as these two expose themselves so fully before the cameras. It’s heartbreaking and life affirming all at the same time.


MAJOR DONORS

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DALLAS STAR AWARDS

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

TEXAS AVERY AWARD
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

RECENT TWEETS (DallasIFF)

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