The annual Dallas VideoFest is a celebration of films, videos, television shows and other visual works that don't often get recognized at film festivals. The 26th edition kicks off on Wednesday, October 9, and is no exception of that ethos.
The fest takes place mostly at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson and features nearly 70 different programs, running the gamut from narrative films to documentaries to experimental films to shorts.
While we highly recommend getting one of VideoFest's day passes or $25 packages to both cut down on costs and give yourself more viewing options, below is a handy guide to some of the VideoFest's more intriguing programs.
Wednesday, October 9
Opening Night - True Tales: Since everybody else in town is capitalizing on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, Dallas VideoFest gets in on the act by screening True Tales, a documentary featuring Tammi True, a.k.a. Nancy Myers, who was one of the top strippers at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club in November 1963. True purports to know why Ruby decided to kill Lee Harvey Oswald himself, one of several revelations the film will offer. The evening, taking place in South Side Music Hall at Gilley's Dallas, will also include a performance by Ruby Revue Burlesque.
Thursday, October 10
Destination Planet Negro: It may sound like a B-movie from the 1950s, but it's actually a brand-new satirical send-up of both those films and the status of modern-day African Americans. Three intellectuals from the Jim Crow era try to use heretofore untapped technology to travel to Mars, but instead wind up in 2013, and are shocked by all that they find, including a black president.
Friday, October 11
Kovacs Award – George Schlatter: The Kovacs Award honors the history of VideoFest, as the first program it ever showed back in 1987 was a tribute to the work of television performer Ernie Kovacs. The award has been on hiatus for a while, but it's coming back for George Schlatter, a TV veteran most well-known for producing Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You: Directed by Whoopi Goldberg, this is a rare high-powered film to appear at the VideoFest, as it previously played at the Tribeca Film Festival and will soon be on HBO. Mabley was a trailblazer for both female and African American comedians, and comics including Bill Cosby, Kathy Griffin and Eddie Murphy are among those who pay tribute to her in this documentary.
Saturday, October 12
Our Nixon: Former President Richard Nixon was famous for making audiotapes of every conversation in the Oval Office, but not as well known is that three of his aides — H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin — also filmed much of his presidency with Super 8 cameras. The footage was seized as part of the Watergate investigation and only recently came to light. It's been fashioned into a documentary that's illuminating and intimate.
Sunday, October 13
Google Glass: While Google's latest technical innovation may be capable of making a full-length movie someday, this is actually a panel of people in Dallas-Fort Worth who've been lucky enough to test out the gizmo during the past few months. They'll talk about their experiences, answer questions and show short videos they've made.