The Dallas International Film Festival is back, with a glorious return to where it started, in the West Village at Violet Crown Cinema, and the unveiling of its first 17 films, including a documentary on a member of rock band Pantera, and another on a legendary Fort Worth artist.
The 17 films represent a fraction of the programs shown during the festival, which will take place from April 28-May 5.
"These films are just a glimpse of the powerful stories we’re honored to present at DIFF 2023,” says James Faust, DIFF Artistic Director, in a statement. "Highlighting important and untold stories that have been explored by talented filmmakers, our first 17 of our 17th should whet the appetite of local film lovers who we hope will join us at Violet Crown Cinema Dallas in West Village for Dallas’ biggest film experience."
Ultimately, there will be screenings of more than 100 films submitted from more than 60 countries, as well as Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors, nightly DIFF Red Carpets, a Festival Lounge, and special events.
The festival's central location is at the
newly opened Violet Crown Cinema, formerly the Magnolia Theatre, which closed in 2021 due to the pandemic, and which hosted multiple previous versions of the festival.
Highlights of the initial films include the world premiere of
Chocolate Lizards, a comedy/adventure about a pair of men (Rudy Pankow and Thomas Haden Church) who find themselves stranded in a small Texas town; A Disturbance in the Force: How the Star Wars Holiday Special Happened, a documentary about the weird 1978 Star Wars TV special; and It's Only Life After All, a documentary about The Indigo Girls.
The list also includes a number of films with local connections, including
Breaking the Code, a documentary about legendary Fort Worth artist Vernon Fisher; Gibson Icons: Rex Brown of Pantera, a documentary that focuses on the longtime bassist for the Arlington band; Into the Spotlight, a world premiere documentary about a Dallas-based theatre troupe comprised of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and The Doldrums, a world premiere "not-coming-of-age and anti-musical" filmed in Dallas.
The remaining 10 films include seven documentaries and three fictional dramas:
- Bad Press (Documentary), about a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation fighting for government transparency in indigenous communities.
- Blue Jean (Drama), about a closeted gym teacher in 1988 conservative England.
- Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection (Documentary), about the late singer's personal struggles told through never-before-released recordings.
- Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes (Documentary), about the American jazz musician whose ambitions were inspired and challenged by the inequities of the society around him.
- Savage (Documentary), a world premiere about the journey of one man trying to achieve the elusive dream of becoming a world champion bull rider.
- SK8 Girlz (Documentary), about the rise of an all-female skateboarding team as they tear down the barriers created by a male-centric sport.
- The Eternal Memory (Documentary), a Chilean film that follows the relationship of prominent Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora and actress Paulina “Pauli” Urrutia.
- The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution (Documentary), a meme-driven journey into the intersection of finance, media, and extremism online.
- The Origin of Evil (Thriller/Drama), a French and Canadian film about a fish cannery worker on the verge of financial collapse who discovers she is the biological daughter of a wealthy businessman.
- The Wild Man (Drama), about a young journalist who travels to Florida to investigate young women that have been going missing.
Passes for the festival, which run $100-$500, are now on sale at
dallasfilm.org/diff. Individual tickets will go on sale closer to the festival dates.