April is usually prime time for movie lovers in the Dallas area, as the month features both the Dallas International Film Festival and the USA Film Festival's main event. But the burgeoning Oak Cliff Film Festival, now in its second year, is expanding not only the calendar for film appreciation, but also the venues in which to appreciate movies.
Most of the screenings for the festival are held in historic theaters — Texas Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre Center and The Kessler. All three have been rescued from the wrecking ball by preservationists, and they each now host events of one kind or another on a consistent basis.
Because catching every offering is impossible, here are five options to give you a good feel for what the Oak Cliff Film Festival is all about:
Thursday, June 6
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
Drinking Buddies rightly headlines opening night, but make some time for this documentary about Pussy Riot, an all-female punk group in Russia who have run afoul of authorities by performing anti-government songs in forbidden locations. The film will likely open your mind, and it's also the only free event at the festival.
Friday, June 7
Screenings hosted by director David Lowery
Dallas native David Lowery, who's earned all sorts of acclaim for his soon-to-be-released film Ain't Them Bodies Saints, hosts both a retrospective screening of Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller and a secret screening. Could the secret screening be a sneak preview of Saints, which won't get released until August? You'll just have to go and find out.
Saturday, June 8
Digital Disruption and Afterlife of the Arthouse
This panel discussion exemplifies the esthetic of the festival. A group of film experts — Lowery, A.A. Dowd from The A.V. Club, Kim Yutani from the Sundance Film Festival, and Jason Reimer, owner of the Texas Theatre, among others — will discuss the future of cinema, fundraising and distribution.
Loves Her Gun
The debate over guns and gun culture is as an ultra-hot topic in the United States right now, so this film from Austin-based writer/director Geoff Marslett couldn't be any more timely. It follows a woman who moves from New York to Austin to try to escape violence, only to end up back in the same spot in gun-happy Texas.
Sunday, June 9
Awards ceremony and beer tasting
You can celebrate the festival's success and/or your ability to sit through a long stretch of movies by toasting the winners of the festival with a few good craft brews at Four Corners Brewing Co. on Sunday.