Dallas-Fort Worth has a thriving film scene. Local productions are on the rise, Hollywood has increasingly used our city as a backdrop for movies, and TV shows and top-notch movie theaters abound.
We are also lucky to have a variety of film festivals, including the Lone Star Film Festival, which runs November 7-11 in Fort Worth. An event such as this not only exposes local audiences to films they might not otherwise have seen, but it also gives us a chance to show outside filmmakers what our area has to offer.
This year's Lone Star Film Festival is jam-packed, so here's a guide to the four best events in the next five days.
Conversations with big-time movie stars and filmmakers
The festival is honoring several actors and filmmakers this year, including Billy Bob Thornton, John Hawkes and Albert S. Ruddy. Not only can you see the stars' new (Thornton's Jayne Mansfield's Car) or classic (Ruddy's The Longest Yard) movies, but you can get up close and personal with them during moderated conversations. Thornton and Hawkes appear back-to-back on Thursday afternoon at the AMC Palace 9; Ruddy is at TCU on Friday, where you can see him for free.
Oscar hopefuls doubleheader
The festival boasts a number of small, independent films, but moviegoers can also get a sneak peek at two films that may be up for some Academy Awards next year. Hyde Park on Hudson stars Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the story of when the king and queen of England stayed with Roosevelt and his wife in 1939. Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as two problem-laden people who may be able to help each other out of their funks. If you're up for it, they play in the same auditorium back-to-back on Friday night.
Foreign film bonanza
Even in a great movie area like this, finding the latest and greatest foreign films can be tough. The Lone Star Film Festival makes it easy, because it's showcasing three films — Barbara from Germany, Caesar Must Die from Italy and A Royal Affair from Denmark — that are the official entries for the Academy Awards for each respective country. A fourth — Aqui y Alla (Here and There) from Mexico — is already an award-winner, taking home the grand prize during Critics Week at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Closing screening of Heaven's Gate
This is why film festivals are so great. Where else would you have the opportunity to see the complete, uncut, three-and-a-half-hour original version of Heaven's Gate? Michael Cimino's third film has unfairly been labeled a dud, mostly because the film most people saw was a chopped-up, two-hour cut. The film not only has been restored to its original length, but it also has been visually enhanced by the Criterion Collection, so it's never looked better. The curtain drops at 3 pm Sunday at AMC Palace 9. Any self-respecting cinephile should make the effort to see it.