Starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 4, and running through Sunday, April 14, the Dallas International Film Festival will screen more than 175 films for its seventh edition. Kicking things off are five Opening Night films, including Sundance alum THE CRASH REEL. I had the pleasure of serving on the jury for the festival a couple of years back, enjoying Texan hospitality and a top-notch festival thanks to the efforts of Artistic Director James Faust and Senior Programmer Sarah Harris. While I won’t be attending the 2013 fest, I wanted to draw attention to some of the newer documentaries making their debut in Dallas, among a selection of acclaimed titles that previously screened at Sundance, SXSW, and Toronto.
Six titles are in the running for the $10,000 Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Feature Competition. Among these are Cullen Hoback’s TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY, an exploration of privacy in the online realm; Jessica Vale’s SMALL SMALL THING (pictured), about the persistence of rape in Liberia, centered around one young victim; and Sushrit Jain’s BEYOND ALL BOUNDARIES, about cricket-mad Indian fans and players. In addition, one doc has the chance to win $30,000 in rental equipment in the fest’s Texas Competition: Lisa Kaselak’s TOMLINSON HILL, which explores the lasting legacy of a slave plantation and racism in a Texan town.
Non-fiction also figures in the out-of-competition sections of the festival. The Documentary Showcase includes five films, including Timothy Wheeler’s THE OTHER SHORE (pictured), following a sixty-year-old swimming champion as she attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Deep Ellum Sounds celebrates five music docs, including Olallo Rubio’s GIMME THE POWER, charting the development of Mexican rock alongside changes to the country’s political leadership. World Cinema features two docs: Luke Korem’s LORD MONTAGU, a biography of the eccentric British aristocrat; and TC Johnstone’s RISING FROM THE ASHES, following the development of Rwanda’s national cycling team.
Dallas’ Special Presentations include Lekha Singh and Roger Spottiswoode’s BEYOND RIGHT AND WRONG: STORIES OF JUSTICE AND FORGIVENESS, in which victims and perpetrators across multiple international conflicts attempt to find reconciliation. The Family Friendly sidebar includes one doc, Jeremi Mattern’s STACKER, about a speed stacking competition, while the fest’s Community Showcase features Louie Schwartzberg’s WINGS OF LIFE (pictured), an environmental doc focusing on the key role flowers play in our food chain.