Award-Winning Filmmaker Johnathan Brownlee To Head Up Dallas Film Society And Dallas International Film Festival

Johnathan Brownlee*

The Dallas Film Society and its Dallas International Film Festival have new leadership. Award-winning Canadian/American entertain veteran Johnathan Brownlee has been selected to serve as the Dallas Film Society’s CEO/President and the DIFF’s Executive Director.

According to DFS Chair Mark Denesuk, “The board had a tall order for its new leader – expand our community impact and energize our development efforts, all while managing the city’s largest film festival. After a long process, Johnathan emerged as the clear choice and we are delighted that he is now leading the organization during this exciting new chapter of growth.”

Johnathan’s involvement in the film and television industry ranges from feature films to conducting workshops at Harvard, MIT, etc.

Johnathan replaces Lee Papert, who left the organization this summer.

* Photo courtesy of Dallas Film Society

For the full-blown press release, follow the jump: [Read more…]

Actresses Faye Dunaway And Zoey Deutch And The Late Bill Paxton To Be Honored At Upcoming Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Film Society has just announced its line up of honorees for the Dallas International Film Festival taking place from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.

On the eve of DIFF, The Art Of Film will celebrate Robert Benton, who co-wrote “Bonnie And Clyde,” at sixty five hundred on Wednesday, March 29.

Robert Benton*

Faye Dunaway**

In keeping with the “Bonnie And Clyde” 50th anniversary, the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, March 30, will kick off with a showing of the iconic film complete with Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Bonnie. She will receive the Dallas Star Award at the Opening Night Gala.

In addition to the comings and goings of various filmmakers during the festival, the DFS Honors presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas on Friday, April 7, will be the posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star to Fort Worth native, the late Bill Paxton.

Zoey Deutch*

Bill Paxton***

Receiving the Dallas Shining Star will be “Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch.

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Our two Dallas Star Award honorees hail back to something this festival has done from its inception – honor cinema legends, icons, and the film artists that made a difference in our film viewing lives. Faye Dunaway has been at the center of a number of certifiably classic films, and we joined so many in being devastated by the recent loss of Bill Paxton, on so many levels. To have Dunaway here on Opening Night will be a spectacular moment for Dallas, and to have Paxton here in spirit, was a must to anyone that knows anything about this film festival’s history and the people that are a part of it.

“Zoey Deutch is the quintessential choice for a Dallas Shining Star Award honoree. She has had a very impressive start to her career, and is now poised to take it to an entirely different level with wonderful performances in three different films this year.”

Tickets and festival passes are available here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society 
** Getty image provided by Dallas Film Society 
*** Photo credit: Rachel Parker

A Passing: Liener Temerlin

During the ’60s and ’70s when Dallas had two daily newspapers and three TV stations, there were a handful of creative types and sales execs who gave birth to advertising/public relations/marketing agencies. Unlike the TV version of “Mad Men,” the Dallas men — Sam Bloom and his son Bob Bloom, Morris Hite, Stan Levenson, Stan Richards and Liener Temerlin — weren’t as much into martinis as they were into giving the New York ad community a run for their money. They were also helping the city of Dallas make it through the slow recovery from November 22, 1963.

Liener Temerlin (File photo)

Today it was reported that 88-year-old Liener died yesterday at his home in Austin.

According to The Levenson Group Co-Founders Barbara and Stan Levenson, “We always will be grateful to Liener for enriching both our personal and professional lives. Second to none, he was an industry icon and inspiring leader.”

With his bride Karla, the Ardmore native moved to Dallas to take a job a copywriter at Glenn Advertising in 1953. Over the years, he rose through the ranks becoming president of Glenn Bozell and Jacobs in 1974. Eventually the agency became Temerlin McClain in 1992 and TM Advertising in 2004. During his tenure, the agency handled such national accounts as American Airlines, Bank of America, Hyatt Hotels, J.C. Penney and countless others.

And he always seemed to be on the cutting edge. For instance, when his daughter Dana was married in the 1970s, he surprised locals by having a film crew tape the wedding reception at the Fairmont.  

But Liener’s life outside of the office was just as dynamic and visionary. He joined with the late Mayor Annette Strauss in orchestrating the building of the Morten H. Meyerson Symphony Center. That was unheard of back in that day with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra playing at Fair Park’s Music Hall.

And Liener’s foresight extended to still another art form — film. In 2006 he and Michael Cain sowed the seeds for the Dallas Film Society. In fact it was their connection to the American Film Institute that gave birth to the AFI Dallas International Film Festival that evolved into today’s DFS’s Dallas International Film Festival.

According to DFS President/CEO and DIFF Executive Director Lee Papert, “The Dallas Film Society is terribly saddened to learn of the passing of Liener Temerlin, our Founder and Chairman Emeritus. He was instrumental in the creation of the Dallas Film Society and the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. His passion and vision for film knew no bounds. That passion for this unique art form was limitless and he strived daily to bring a greater awareness of film to Dallas through the Film Society and the Dallas International Film Festival and the nation through his involvement with the American Film Institute. But beyond that passion, Liener was kind, genuine, and helpful – serving as a mentor to so many in the formation of a fledgling arts organization. He exuded class and most of all — he was our friend. We will miss our friend and we will continue to do our best to further his desire to celebrate this great medium.”

A Linz Award recipient, Liener was also involved with the Vogel Alcove, UT Southwestern Medical Center, SMU and a host of others.

Despite all these involvements, Liener’s top priority for more than six decades was his wife Karla Temerlin, their daughters Dana Temerlin Krebs and Lisa Temerlin Gottesman and their families.

On Sunday at 3 p.m., a memorial service will be held at in the Stern Chapel at Temple Emanu-El.

JUST IN: Dallas Film Society Announces New Board Members And Reveals Returning/New Dallas International Film Festival Sponsors

Evidently, the Dallas Film Society isn’t taking time off for the holidays. Word just arrived that the film-loving organization has not only added a couple of new members to its board, but it’s also locked down some returning sponsors for its Dallas International Film Festival that kicks off on Thursday, March 30, at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

The new members of the board are advertising executive Eric Hirschhorn and University of Texas at Arlington adjunct professor Rebecca Flores.

Rebecca Flores*

Rebecca Flores*

Eric Hirschhorn*

Eric Hirschhorn*

According to DFS Chair Mark Denesuk, “As we head into the organization’s second decade, we continue to steadily add strength through new voices, new ideas, and new energy, from the arts, education, and business community. Drawing from both the film and education world, Rebecca continues to add emphasis to the two primary focuses of DFS, and Eric brings another valuable viewpoint from the world of advertising and marketing. Their talent, experience and vision, will help us greatly as we continue our efforts to grow in our second decade.”

They’ll be joining current board members Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Jason Cleveland, Paul Coggins, Clare Freeman, Suzanne Bock Grishman, Mary Hatcher, Geoff Hawkes, Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Dallas Sonnier, Larry Waks and Maureen Womack.

As for the partnerships, The Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation will once again be the presenting sponsor “of both the legendary DFS Honors Awards Dinner and the DIFF 2017 Audience Awards.”

Joining the sponsorship list for a first time will be Mercury One Foundation that will be the new presenting sponsor for “DIFF’s annual High School Day and the year-round High School Roundtable program.”

The film submission software program Withoutabox is also a newbie on the sponsorship list joining other confirmed 2017 DIFF sponsors including Abco, Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, CineState, the City of Dallas – Office of Cultural Affairs, Commerce House, the Dallas Film Commission, Downtown Dallas Inc., El Creative, the Highland Dallas hotel, the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office – San Francisco, Lucky Post, the People’s Last Stand, PreKindle, Selig Polyscope, Stella Artois and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Follow the jump for the full-blown press release.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Film Society

[Read more…]

Dallas Film Society To Celebrate Its 10th Anniversary With A Luncheon Honoring Anne And Steve Stodghill

The Dallas Film Society is known for red carpet debuts, theater screens filled with amazing films, celebrities being interviewed at dinner functions and an occasional cocktail party poolside. But for its tenth anniversary it’s doing something different. They’re having a sit-yourself-down luncheon on Tuesday, September 27, at sixty five hundred and the honorees will be those film-loving Stodghills (Anne and Steve).

Ethan Wayne, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Ethan Wayne, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

And anyone who has even said “Howdy” to the couple knows that their fav movie types are The Duke and Batman. Whether it’s co-chairing the John Wayne Film Festival or knowing more about the masked hero than Alfred, these two are authorities. For this reason, the sponsorship levels for the luncheon include the following:

  • Batman Sponsorship — $25,000
  • The Duke Sponsorship — $15,000
  • The Dark Knight Sponsors — $10,000
  • Hondo Sponsors — $5,000
  • Bruce Wayne Sponsors — $2,500

While a limited number of individual tickets are going for $150, a table of ten including program mention can be had for $1,500. Proceeds from the event will “be directed to the Film Society’s ongoing education programs and the sure-to-be spectacular Dallas International Film Festival in spring 2017.”

In addition to honoring the Stodgies, 10th Anniversary Chair Suzanne Grishman adds that the occasion will provide an opportunity to “look back on ten years of the Dallas Film Society, ADI Dallas and the Dallas International Film Festival.”

For more info, contact Scott Rozsa.

In Hawaiian Shirt Lee Papert Hosted The Dallas Film Society Sponsor And Chairman’s Reception Poolside At The Highland

While accountants burned up the numerical keyboards to meet the demands of the IRS on Friday, April 15, film lovers and supporters like Melina McKinnon, Don Stokes, Mark Denesuk and Janis Burklund could have cared less.

Melina McKinnon

Melina McKinnon

Mark Denesuk

Mark Denesuk

Don Stokes

Don Stokes

Well, at least, they acted that way at The Highland for the Dallas Film Society Sponsor and Chairman’s Reception as part of the 10th Annual Dallas International Film Festival.

Michael Cain, Tanya Foster and Lee Papert

Michael Cain, Tanya Foster and Lee Papert

Poolside there was just the slightest breeze, allowing past President/CEO Tanya Foster to do a successful hair toss. Present DFS President/CEO Lee Papert unsuccessfully tried a similar toss to the chuckles of DIFF Co-Founder Michael Cain.

Michael Cain socks and Lee Papert socks

Michael Cain socks and Lee Papert socks

For fashion fans, Michael and Lee were showboats with their “talk-to-me-socks.” However, Lee topped the fashion competition with his Hawaiian shirt and matching shoes.

Briefly Lee recalled that when he interviewed for the DFS job, he was on his honeymoon and got word from DFS Artistic Director James Faust that he had never worn a Hawaiian shirt. For Lee’s final job interview, he presented James with a Hawaiian shirt. While it hasn’t been an everyday wear by James, he did sport it at Lee’s 50th birthday party.

Just after Lee took to the mic and thanked past chairs including Don, Michael, Lynn McBee, and Ruth Mutch, he was off to downtown to introduce one of the day’s films.

But before he left, he reported that at least 30,000 were expected to participate in the celebration of films until Saturday, April 23.

Dallas International Film Festival And Mad Hatter’s Tea Are Going To Have A Star

According to the weather guessers, all of this wet and chilly stuff is supposed to be in the rearview mirror come Thursday. And Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White is betting that they’re right on target for the annual Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council fundraiser.

Mad Hatter's Tea (File photo)

Mad Hatter’s Tea (File photo)

Of course with Joce at the helm, there will be some well-known faces underneath those brims. In addition to emcee Kellie Rasberry and live auctioneer Jody Dean, plans call for actresses Linda Gray and Janine Turner to be on hand.

Yipes! What does one talk with Janine about? She’s probably a little weary of recalling the good old days of “Northern Exposure.” So, why not be cool and current by asking her about “Occupy, Texas” that premiered Friday at the Angelika as part of the Dallas International Film Festival, that’s running through Sunday, April 24.

"Occupy, Texas" at the Dallas International Film Festival*

“Occupy, Texas” at the Dallas International Film Festival*

Here’s some scoopy, so you’ll sound so in. It was co-produced by a bunch of locals including Steve Stodghill and siblings Libby Hunt and Wayne McCullough. Booker T. Washington grad Gene Gallerano wrote the screenplay and stars in the 93-minute film about Beau Baker who has been living in a tent in Zuccotti Park as part of the “Occupy, Wall Street” protect. He gets word that his “upper-class” parents in Texas have died and he must return to take care of his teenage sisters and the estate.

BTW, one of the teenagers is played by Lorelei Linklater, the daughter of director Richard Linklater.

Some of the locals seen in scenes include co-producers Libby and Steve, Cannon Wise, Gail Cronauer, Nikki Moore, Terri Cooklin and Tim Lovick. BTW, this is the fourth time at bat as a producer for blonde Libby.

Just think how smart you’re gonna look with that cute chapeau and that head filled with that in-the-know-info.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas International Film Festival

Dallas Film Society Roundtable Filmmakers Chill In “RoboCop” Legendary Setting

As Dallas Film Society’s James Faust stood outside of Ariel and Layton Lang’s home just north of LBJ on Thursday, March 31, he took photos of the very contemporary mansion. He told friends that he couldn’t wait to get inside and see where the phrase “Bitches leave” was made infamous. James wasn’t alone in that thinking, and the Langs were used to it.

"Robocop" living room

“RoboCop” living room

Layton and Ariel Lang and Lee Papert

Layton and Ariel Lang and Lee Papert

Ariel pointed out the exact position from where the scene in “RoboCop” had been filmed in 1987. But instead of Miguel Ferrer reaching for a hand grenade among the coke on the coffee table and wanton women lounging on the couch, there were such filmmakers as “Signs Of Humanity” director Willie Baronet and “A Fat Wreck” director Shaun Colon and producer John Hansen. The filmmakers had spent the day in roundtable discussions with the press at The People’s Last Stand restaurant in Mockingbird Station.

Willie Baronet, Shaun Colon and John Hansen

Willie Baronet, Shaun Colon and John Hansen

Nowadays the home has become a private showplace for Ariel’s photography. Having just returned from Kenya and Nepal, her journeys were chronicled on the hallway walls. She had been so taken with the people and images that she was already planning a return trip.

Ariel Lang photography

Ariel Lang photography

Hopefully, she won’t miss the 10th Annual Dallas International Film Festival from April 14 through April 24. It will be a strictly popcorn diet with more than 160 films on the schedule. All types of passes can be had either online or by calling 214.720.0555.

Dallas Film Society Announces Plans For 10th Annual Dallas International Film Festival With Epic Release

The Dallas Film Society has been very busy finalizing plans for the April 14-24 Dallas International Film Festival. And, boy, did they come up with news! It took a 27-page press release to list all the plans including the full schedule of 113 films to be shown at the 10th Annual DIFF.

First off, there are the awards that will be presented at the Dallas Film Society Honors on Friday, April 22, at Highland Dallas. The Dallas Star will be presented to Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman, who just this year got a tip of the hat for “Carol”. His visual art has included “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Tokyo-Ga,” “The Limey,” “The Virgin Suicides,” “Erin Brockovich,” and “Far From Heaven.” Such directors as Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola and Paul Schrader have tapped Ed for collaboration. On the next day, Ed’s “Far From Heaven” will be screened at 12:30 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema DFW with a conversation with Ed afterwards.

Adding to the recognitions will be the inaugural presentation of the L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Filmmaker Award to 86-year-old director/editor/producer Monte Hellman, who has lived up to the spirit of the award. While not being nominated by the Academy, he has been well known for “cutting-edge filmmaking across multiple genres, working with budgets, from high-to-low and with casts featuring starts to complete unknowns.” Of course, you want proof, so think “The Shooting“ (1966), “Two-Lane Blacktop” (1971) and “Road To Nowhere” (2010). He got his start working with another film maverick — Roger Corman in 1959. Even modern-day mavericks like Quentin Tarantino has sought his expertise. Monte served as executive producer for Quentin’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

This year’s festival is gonna be a popcorn feast with world premieres, loads of new talents being spotlighted and even a concert at Dallas City Performance Hall on Saturday, April 16, “celebrating the career of award-winning composer John Williams.”

Festival passes for Dallas Film Society members are now available here.  General public tickets will be available Thursday. Ah, once again membership pays off!

And if you want to check out all the deets in the epic release, follow the jump: [Read more…]

Dallas Uncorked Provided Sip And Scene With Talking Tidbits About Oscar Predictions And Local News

Leave it to local film-meister Gary Cogill to share his predictions for the upcoming Academy Awards on Sunday, February 21, just a week before the Oscars were doled out. He did it as part of Dallas Uncorked’s “Wine and Film, the Perfect Pairing With Gary Cogill — 88th Annual Academy Awards Preview” at Veritas.

Sure, it was rainy, but that didn’t dissuade movie lovers from getting the inside poop on the Academy contenders, while having Dallas Uncorked founder/Gary’s wife Hayley Hamilton Cogill pouring the vino.

How many guesses did Gary get right? Compare his guesses with the outcome here.

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill

Sarah and Lee Pappert

Sarah and Lee Papert

Debra Nelson and Holly Reed

Debra Nelson and Holly Reed

Pat Holder and Wayne Ritter

Pat Holder and Wayne Ritter

But before Gary took the mic, chit chat was making the rounds. In between serving up wine, Hayley was looking to the future and the Dallas Chapter of Le Dame d’Escoffier International’s annual “A Dame Good Celebration — Raiser Grazer 2016” on Sunday, April 3, at the Dallas Farmers Market’s The Shed. She’ll be heading up the beverage committee and promised “tasty cocktails”…Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert was hinting about the upcoming Dallas International Film Festival that will be taking place from April 14 to 24… And Lee wasn’t the only Papert with future activities around the corner. Lee’s wife, Sarah Papert, who heads up VMLC, has been busy making plans for the Wings of Spring fundraiser on Monday, April 4, when Cheryl Pollman will receive VMLC’s Literacy Legacy Award. Following a cocktail reception and dinner, there will be a performance in the Hoglund Foundation Theater by Sons of Serendip. You know them. They were 2014 America’s Got Talent finalists. This year the event is taking place at the Perot Museum .… Gal pals Debra Nelson and Holly Reed were just back from holiday. It was hard to believe that some folks didn’t know that Holly is no longer with AT&T. She’s working with Ron Kirk on the Texas Central Railway. She’s already been to Japan to check out their super-duper, high-speed bullet trains … Over at a high-top table Pat Holder was looking downright giddy about her Valentine’s proposal at the Mansion by Wayne Ritter. Yup. Pat accepted and the nuptials are in the planning stage.

2016 Dallas International Film Festival Teases Deliciously With “Initial Ten Official Selections”

Don’t you just love a tease? Depends? Sure it does. But this one from the Dallas Film Society is tantalizing if you’re a film lover. They’ve just released the “initial ten official selections for the 10th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival.” That’s opposed to the unofficial selections, huh? No seriously.

The Festival that runs from Thursday, April 14, to Sunday, April 24 will be highlighted by the Centerpiece Gala selection of Chris Kelly’s “Other People” at the Angelica Film Center on Thursday, April 21.

And then there are two world premieres including Jonathan Brownlee’s “Three Days in August” and William Kaufman’s “Daylight’s End” plus the U.S. premiere of Asiel Norton’s “Orion.”

An addition this year is a “special event concert and screening” of “E.T. — The Extra Terrestrial” in honor of the career of film composer John Williams. Just this past weekend, Academy Award winner Ennio Morricone recognized Williams in the audience for his legendary music making.

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “This is a great group of films to tease what’s in store for the 10th anniversary of the Dallas International Film Festival this year. Our first gala selection is guaranteed to strike an emotional chord with our audiences. We have some amazing and powerful films making their world, and U.S. debuts, Dallas films, Texas films and quite a few work renowned directors are represented as well. These ten films serve as a perfect sampling of the balance we have always tried to achieve for the film audiences at DIFF — entertaining, challenging, with big stars and newcomers, international, local and independent — it should all be right here in April, once again.”

Other films included in this first offering include “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” “Johnnie To’s Office,” “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World,” “Orion”, “Sonita,” “Tower,” and “Weiner.”

Now, that the tease has been made, the great news is that passes are available for purchase now!

Round Robin April 10: DIFF Chair Reception And Dallas CASA Champion Of Children Award Dinner Kick-Off

The fundraising efforts were stretching resources thin on Friday, April 10. Over at Goss-Michael Gallery, the crowds were spilling out on to the sidewalks as guests entered for MTV Re:Define honoring Michael Craig-Martin and benefiting The MTV Staying Alice Foundation and Dallas Contemporary.

The Junior League of Dallas was playing fun and games over at House of Blues for its Queen of Hearts Casino night. Word was making the rounds that one area jeweler had pulled out of providing a tidy donation for the evening. After digging through the rumors, it was learned that evidently no gem guy had squelched the deal. It was a breakdown in communication and an “Oops!” by an over-enthusiastic committee member.

Still other evening activities included:

Dallas International Film Festival Chairman’s Reception

Lee Papert

Lee Papert

Dallas Film Society Chairman of the Board Don Stokes lucked out with the weather. Following the first official day of the Dallas International Film Festival, he hosted a reception for DIFF supporters around the pool at The Highland Hotel. The weather was just this side of spectacular.

The crowd was still talking about the night before, when actress Blythe Danner was presented the Star of Texas Award at the Majestic Theatre.

Michael Cain

Michael Cain

Melina McKinnon

Melina McKinnon

While Michael Cain was chatting with folks like DFS President/CEO Lee Papert and Paul Divis about his work on “Mr. Stanley,” wife Melina McKinnon reported that she was taking time off from the film business to take care of daughter Athena and the newest family member, who is on the way.



Still, the scene stealer of the evening was Arthur Benjamin’s sidekick, Bandit, the four-year-old Lhasa/Shitzu rescue, in a service dog vest. After living with Arthur the past couple of years, Bandit knows how to work a party with the best of them.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner Kick-Off

Mike and Jana Brosin and RIchard Chamberlain

Mike and Jana Brosin and RIchard Chamberlain

Jana and Mike Brosin have hardly had time to unpack their belongings since moving into their new digs in North Dallas, and they’ve already had a couple of parties. This newness may have explained why the 60 guests arriving at the Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner kick-off party found the entrance hall dark. Seems Mike couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights.

Glen Ashworth, Christie Carter and Jim Thompson

Glen Ashworth, Christie Carter and Jim Thompson

Didn’t matter. Most guests like Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Sarah Losinger, Glen Ashworth, Jim Thompson and Dallas CASA’s new Director of Development Kersten Rettig with husband Clark Knippers moving effortlessly to the back terrace and grounds with its fire pit and pool.

Kathleen LaValle

Kathleen LaValle

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Chef Richard Chamberlain was delighted with the professional-style Wolf range and equally impressive Sub-Zero. It was just made for his creating the delicious food that made the rounds.

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, Jana and Mike will be chairing the Champion of Children Award Dinner on Wednesday, October 14, at the Fairmont Hotel with former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos serving as honorary chair. This year’s event will honor AT&T and its employees with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award. Dallas CASA also was hoping the Brosin party would help bring to a close its $37 million capital campaign. With just $2.2 million left to raise, they’re planning to celebrate “The Closing” of the campaign with another party in July.

Dallas International Film Festival Celebrates The Toga Party King And Blues Bro John Landis With A Dallas Star Award

There was a giggling, laughing and major league chortling from Queenie’s ultra-private complex. The elves were perplexed. She usually only guffaws when a country falls or when a face lift rises. But, no!

Upon entering her extremely secured media room, Elder Elf asked what was so amusing to her ladyship. With a box of double-butter popcorn box in one hand and another hand smearing her mouth of the chocolate mousse that she had just devoured, Queenie hung her head. She admitted a shortcoming in her film snobbery.

“I love National Lampoons ‘Animal House.’ I subbed in for Mrs. Wormer, but they said I was too classy to play the role.“

John Landis*

John Landis*

If you have seen director John Landis and his “National Lampoon” debacle, then head over to The Highland because tonight John is gonna be there to accept the Dallas Film Festival International’s Dallas Star Award. Toga party!!!

If you can’t make it, then hustle over to the Dallas Museum of Art on Saturday for a Conversation with John at 2:30.

* Photo courtesy of Dallas International Film Festival

Get All “Goop”-ed Up For Blythe Danner’s Receiving The Dallas International Film Festival’s Dallas Star Award

If you were one of the lucky ones to have scooped up something at last year’s “Goop” pop-up shop at Highland Park Village, then you’re all ready for Thursday night. What’s happening that deserves a show-and-swell in Gwyneth Paltrow fashion? Her mom, Blythe Danner, is gonna be in town to accept the Dallas Stars Award at the Dallas International Film Festival’s opening night Centerpiece Screening at the Majestic Theatre.

Known for her theatrical (“Butterflies Are Free”, “The Deep Blue Sea” and “Our Town”), television (“Will & Grace” and “Huff”) and movie performances (“The Great Santini”, “Meet the Parents” and “1776”) for ages, Blythe has been all over the small screens talking up Prolia.

Most recently, the 72-year-old Danner was at the VIP dinner for her Sundance film, “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” where she was asked by the New York Post’s “Page Six” about Gwyneth’s “conscious uncoupling” with husband Chris Martin. Her response, “They are so smart … both incredibly brilliant. They’re making it work, they’re great friends and the kids are in wonderful shape. So I have to take my hat off to both of them.”

Dallas Film Society Reveals Dallas Star Awardees And 165 Films For Upcoming 2015 Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Film Society just revealed the recipients of the Dallas Star Award and the Texas Avery Animation Award, as well its complete lineup for the upcoming Dallas International Film Festival presented by AutoNation.

From Thursday, April 9, through Sunday, April 19, the annual film festival will feature “165 films representing 32 countries” including 17 premieres of which 10 will be world premieres, three North American premieres and four U.S. premieres.

James Faust (File Photo)

James Faust (File Photo)

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Completing the lineup for our 9th festival is such a major accomplishment. We are proud to have another amazing group of films, filmmakers, and award recipients to present to the DFW community.”

But if you’re into name dropping, here’s your paragraph to read. On the opening night ”I’ll See You in My Dreams” starring Emmy and Tony Award-winning Blythe Danner will be shown thanks to U.S. Risk/Kara and Randall Goss. On this occasion, Blythe will “accept the Dallas Star Award, presented by the Dallas Film Society to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to modern cinema and the advancement of the art of film.”

OK, so if you’re of a certain age group, you’re thinking her contribution has been daughter Gwyneth Paltrow. Ah, but if you look at her lengthy career, you’ll see it includes everything from dramas (“The Great Santini” and “The Prince of Tides”), musicals (“1776”) and television (“Huff” and “Will & Grace”) to comedies (“Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers”).

At the Dallas Film Society Honors director John Landis will receive a Dallas Star Award for his numerous film accomplishments including “National Lampoon’s Animal House”, “An American Werewolf in London”, “Trading Place” and “The Blues Brothers”, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. He also wrote and directed “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”.

The late L.M. Kit Carson, who died this past October, will be honored posthumously with a Dallas Star Award. Kit’s accomplishments included such screenplays as “Paris, Texas,” “Breathless” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”. It was Kit, who along with the late SMU film professor Bill Jones, established the USA Film Festival in the early 1970’s.

And saluting area animation within the film industry, the Texas Avery Animation Award will be presented to 2015 Golden Globe nominees and BAFTA winners Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. If their names don’t immediately register, think “The Lego Movie”.

DFS members will be able to purchase online tickets Monday, March 16. Public sales will be available starting Thursday, March 19. For ticket info, check here

Lee Papert (File photo)

Lee Papert (File photo)


According to Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert, “The majority of the films will be screened at The Angelika – Dallas. The Opening Night Screening will occur at the Majestic Theater downtown. We’ll have an outdoor screening at Klyde Warren Park on Saturday, April 11. We’ll also be at the Texas Theater on April 17-19. We’ll have one Centerpiece Screening at the Cinemark in West Plano on Thursday, April 16.”

Whew! If you think that’s a lot of screenings, you’ll see that’s just a smidgen of what will be showing. For a full-blown listing of the films that will be shown, just follow the jump: [Read more…]

JUST IN: Dallas Film Society Sneak Peeks Dallas International Film Festival’s Honoree John Landis And First 10 Showstopping Entries

As the world starts ramping up for the Academy Awards, Dallas is setting its sights on the Dallas Film Society‘s Dallas International Film Festival. So, you’re pulling back wondering what has made this year’s film-mathon so remarkable. Here’s the poop and as soon as you read it, sign up.

Presented by AutoNation, the 2015 Festival (April 9-19) will host the premiere of “Playing Cool: with Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan and the world-OMG-premiere of Echoes of War staring James Badge Dale, Ethan Embry and William Forsythe.

But b—efore revealing the “First 10 Films of the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival,” let’s get to the TMZ types. Receiving the Dallas Star Award at the DFS Honors on Friday, April 17, at the Highland Hotel in Dallas (aka The Palomar), will be John Landis.

If John-boy’s name doesn’t click in a nano-second, his films will — “The Blues Brothers,” “National Lampoon’s Animals House,” “3 Amigos!”, “Coming to America,” “Trading Places” and “Into the Night.” He even directed the legendary Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The Festival will also knowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of L. M. Kit Carson, who along with Bill Jones was so instrumental in creating Dallas’ involvement in the film industry. He was also a cutie who was once wed to the late Karen Black and is the father of ­­­­­­­Hunter Carson. His death in October 2014 was a loss.

The last time Kit was seen in these parts, he was talking about his latest venture of taping an entire film on his cellphone. His body may have been AARP, but his brilliance was still in the puppy stage.

But back to the lead in films that will be previewed. Here’s a sneaky peak of the first 10 revealed:

  1. 5 FLIGHTS UP (Director: Richard Loncraine) USA — Cast: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton and Cynthia Nixon. Synopsis: Over one crazy weekend, a long-­time married couple discovers that finding a new apartment is not about winding down, but starting a new adventure.
  2. BEING EVEL (Director: Daniel Junge) USA — Synopsis: Millions know the man, but few know his story. In “Being Evel”, Academy Award® winning filmmaker Daniel Junge (SAVING FACE) and actor/producer Johnny Knoxville take a candid look at American daredevil and icon Robert “Evel” Knievel, while also reflecting on our voracious public appetite for heroes and spectacle.
  3. ECHOS OF WAR (Director: Kane Senes) — Cast: James Badge Dale, Ethan Embry, William Forsythe and Maika Monroe. Synopsis: A Civil War veteran returns home to the quiet countryside, only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between his family and the brutish cattle rancher harassing them.
  4. HOLLOW (Director: Ham Tran) Vietnam — Cast: Kieu Chinh, Jayvee Mai The Hiep and Ngoc Hiep Nguyen. Synopsis: A young girl falls into a river and drowns. When her body is found in a remote village along the river, her uncle arrives to claim her body, only to find that she is very much alive. But when she returns to her family, unexplainable occurrences lead them to believe she is possessed.
  5. JASMINE (Director: Dax Phelan) USA — Cast: Jason Tobin, Byron Mann and Sarah Lian. Synopsis: JASMINE is a gripping and chilling psychological thriller about a man still struggling to come to terms with his grief nearly a year after his wife’s unsolved murder.
  6. THE BLUES BROTHERS (Director: John Landis) — Cast: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and John Lee Hooker. Synopsis: Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.
  7. THE LOOK OF SILENCE — (Director: Joshua Oppenheimer) Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Norway and UK. Synopsis: In Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to the Oscar® nominated THE ACT OF KILLING, a family of survivors of the 1965 Indonesian genocide discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in
  8. PLAYING IT COOL (Director: Justin Reardon) USA. Cast: Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Wilson, Aubrey Plaza, Topher Grace and Anthony Mackie. Synopsis: It’s this generation’s SWINGERS meets (500) DAYS OF SUMMER. The story is fresh, quirky and weirdly relatable as this young, slightly pretentious man falls for an unlikely girl, and will stop at nothing to get her even after realizing she’s already in a relationship.
  9. WELCOME TO LEITH — (Director: Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K.) USA. Synopsis: A white supremacist attempts to take over a small town in North Dakota.
  10. WESTERN — (Director: Bill Ross and Turner Ross) USA/Mexico. Synopsis: For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas from Piedras Negras, Mexico was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.

The big question around here is whether to salt our popcorn or not and can we go without sunlight for the 10 days. The consensus is definitely to over-salt the popcorn and shelve the sunscreen.

Passes and sponsorships are available right now. The daily opportunities will come.

MySweet2014Goals: Lee Papert

Lee Papert (File photo)

Lee Papert (File photo)

According to Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert,

“2014 promises to be a very exciting year for the Dallas Film Society as we focus on 3 main goals – producing a well attended 2014 Dallas International Film Festival (April 3 – 13) chock full of great films and star talent (and it’s looking real good so far); continuing to expand our high school educational programs – including our exciting Summer Film Camp; and hosting the 5th annual The Art of Film benefit event in November once again showcasing one of Hollywood’s greats!

“Additionally, on a more personal note, I’m looking forward to taking at least one GREAT vacation with my beautiful wife to a place that has beaches – lots and lots of beaches.”

Dallas Film Society’s Kickstarter Surpasses Goal

More results are pouring in. When the Dallas Film Society recently undertook its Kickstarter program for the 8th annual Dallas International Film Festival, the group crossed its combined fingers hoping that they would get a response.

Did they ever get a response!

Thanks to 234 supporters from around the world, they exceeded their initial goal by 2.5%, resulting in $35,870 being raised to “bring in talent, producers and directors of the films showcased at the festival.”

“What an outstanding response by the national and local backers to our Kickstarter campaign, our first ever attempt at ‘crowdfunding’” said Lee Papert, President and CEO of the Dallas Film Society. “The Dallas International Film Festival is continuously growing and we look forward to bringing another successful festival to Dallas with the help of all the donors to this Kickstarter effort.”

Start making plans to be on a popcorn diet from Thursday, April 3, to Sunday, April 13, when the DIFF commences.

2013 Dallas International Film Festival Celebrates Celluloid Successes With Awards And Phoned-In Acceptances

After days and nights of movie watching and discovering new talents, the Dallas International Film Festival guests were ready to salute the incredible festival’s stars, legends and angels on April 12. As the Palomar Hotel’s driveway was split between guests and red-carpet participants, locals and Hollywood VIP’s chatted with media jammed up on the other side of the cord.

James Faust and Allan McBee

James Faust and Allan McBee

Dallas Film Society types like Board Chair Lynn McBee and husband Allan, President/CEO Lee Papert and wife Sarah, Artistic Director James Faust and Co-founder Michael Cain with wife/new mom Melina McKinnon, DIFF underwriter Arthur Benjamin with gal pal Sundays Hunt felt right at home on the carpet sharing time with honorees Mary Elizabeth WinsteadSherry Lansing and husband William Friedkin and presenter Val Kilmer.

Arthur Benjamin, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin

Arthur Benjamin, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin

Arthur was quick to tell about the four-legged love of his life — Bandit, his rescue dog. The 20-lb. Lhasa/Shitzu mix was really down on his luck when Arthur decided that he could be “saved.” In the end, Arthur said, “I got stuck with Bandit. When I get upset, he grabs my pants leg and pulls. You can’t help but laugh!. . . He went to 15 movies with me.” Yup, it sounded like Bandit lived up to his name by stealing Arthur’s heart.

Michael Cain and Lou Diamond Phillips

Michael Cain and Lou Diamond Phillips

Somebody spotted UTA grad Lou Diamond Phillips, but he quickly disappeared into the crowd heading upstairs for the reception and dinner.

Up on the second floor, the Mary Kay team was helping the ladies refreshen their lipsticks. Just perfect for the VIP guests who had cocktailed during the poolside reception across the way.

Speaking of Mary Kay, MK Director of Corporate Communications Crayton Webb reported the developments from the Genesis Women’s Shelter’s men’s auxiliary meeting attended by Mayor Mike Rawlings. One of the results was the plan to create a speakers bureau to talk about domestic violence against women. But like Jan Langbein and others, Crayton expanded on the concept saying abuse in any form is wrong.

Jennifer and Doug Houser

Jennifer and Doug Houser

It took a bit of doing, but the guests eventually settled into their places at the awards dinner in the ballroom. Seated next to film loving Jennifer and Doug Houser, Val had to excuse himself for most of the dinner due to an uneasy tummy. Not to worry. He returned in time to present Friedkin with his award

After Lee and Lynn welcomed and thanked the hundreds of volunteers and talents that made this fourth annual festival with 170+ films, Arthur recalled the impact that the late Larry Hagman had on Dallas and filmmaking: “I just truly miss Larry. . . Keep Larry in your thoughts.”

James turned the mood into a different direction when he took hold of the dais, “It’s like a church here. I’m supposed to vamp until the food gets here.” To do this, he pointed out personalities in the crowd.

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris

DFS Programmer Sarah Harris told the crowd that they had watched 3,000 films in preparation for this year’s festival. Then they launched into announcing the winners. Unfortunately, the first few winners were MIA with reasons ranging from a sick dog and parent to getting married. One chap received his award thanks to a cellphone held to the mic: “If I wasn’t on a plane to L.A., I’d be drinking whiskey shots with you.”

This cellphone accept became the norm for the missing winners. That is until one onsite winner told the audience, “We made the mistake of coming here. We didn’t know the common procedure was talking through the phone.” It got a big laugh.

After the “TXU Light Up the Red Carpet Student Film Contest” winners and others were announced, “Dallas” Executive Producer Ken Topolsky told how he had dinner with Larry Hagman just three weeks before his death. Larry told Ken, “No one was more different from that guy (J.R.) than me.” Ken was followed by a video tribute to Larry.

James returned to the podium saying, “My mother didn’t go to movies because she said movies are too dirty.” Walking back to his table, Friedkin yelled out, “She’s right about that!”

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Then it was time to hand out the awards to the visiting celebs. First up was Shining Star recipient Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who proved herself to be a crowd pleaser with her looks and short acceptance speech following a sample of her works: “I would love to come back for many years if that’s possible. . . I’m sort of embarrassed by all those clips.”

John Hersker and Sherry Lansing

John Hersker and Sherry Lansing

Next up was Dallas Star Award recipient Sherry Lansing who was eloquently introduced by Dallas’ John Hersker, who used to work for her. Sherry said that even when she was reading scripts for peanuts, she knew Friedskin was the “most brilliant director.” At the age of 68, she felt it was an incredible time for reflection. “The passion and dream I had (since the age of 12) just wouldn’t die. I still love the movies. So much has changed, and it’s all been good. If you have a digital camera or a cellphone, you can make a movie!”

Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer

To introduce William Friedkin, Val recalled chatting during a long break with Francis Ford Coppola about who had inspired him. Coppola’s answer: Bill. Billy Wilder? No, Bill Friedkin. Why? “He’s the best. Pure. Personal. Courageous. We all wanted to be Bill.”

William Friedkin

William Friedkin

Friedkin accepted the award saying, “I appreciate those comments from Francis. I never knew he felt that way. What he said cost me $5. I love this city. Been here many times. Actually got the Dallas Morning News to let me write a couple of front-page articles about a case in Houston, got me accredited as a journalist: the ‘Blood and Money‘ case. I love Texas. Go to Austin whenever possible. You’ve got two of the best film festivals in the world here in Texas.”

After picking the award up, he added, “Wow, this is a heavy mother. But I’m certain I got this for the image and presentation of Dallas I did in ‘Killer Joe.'” [Joke. . . Dallas was portrayed in that film as a seedy, corrupt, white-trash place.]

After two more awards [Best Documentary Feature and Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize], James closed the ceremony smiling, “We’re 30 minutes ahead of schedule!” Perhaps the Oscars could learn from the DIFF organizers.

April 4 Round Robin: Dallas International Film Festival, Visiting Nurse Association, Crystal Charity Ball And Women Of Tocqueville

Unfortunately, MySweetCharity’s elves have been burning the rubber soles off trying to keep up with all the fundraising about town. Thursday April 4 proved simply too much, so the elves had to rely on a “recap” from the field on one event. We’ll try not to let that happen again.

Dallas International Film Festival

Talk was about the father/son of Rob Allyn and Conor Allyn, who wrote and produced “Java Heat.” Conor also directed the film starring Mickey Rourke.

Waiting in the chill

Waiting in the chill

While waiting for them and the rest of the Dallas International Film Festival’s opening night VIP’s to stroll the Mary Kay pink carpet at the new LOOK, the media took their places on the other side of the cord shivering. One vet admitted that in the past, “The silks were great. Today they were under cover.” Pity the poor things who wore shorts and silk skirts and sleeveless tops. They were easy to spot. Their skin had a tinge of blue.

Allan and Lynn McBee and Lee Papert

Allan and Lynn McBee and Lee Papert

But that wasn’t the case for Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert in his Texas flag shirt, blazer and warm smile.

Lynn and Allan McBee were early arrivals for the carpet presentation. In addition to being DFS chair, Lynn was also one of the Legends at the Visiting Nurse Association at the Fairmont. [More about that later.]

BTW, there were some touches of anxiety earlier in the day. Evidently the fire marshal just barely gave his stamp of approval for LOOK in time for the 100 Paul L. Dunbar Elementary fourth and fifth graders and Billy E. Dade Middle School sixth, seventh and eighth graders to be treated to the carpet walk, celebrity treatment and learn about animation from JIMMY NEUTRON animator Aaron Werntz. It was all arranged through the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation, the DFS, the Larry Hagman Foundation and Frazier Revitalization.

Speaking of Arthur Benjamin, the chatter along the media line was that he and Larry Hagman Foundation President Lisa Blue Baron had really hit it off in arranging the kiddo gathering. Good deeds can do that.

Visiting Nurse Association

A crowd of 440 people gathered at the Fairmont Hotel Thursday for the Legends & Leaders dinner, benefiting the Visiting Nurse Association. According to Co-chairs Lori Whitlow and

Lori Whitlow, Meaders Moore Ozarow and Jay Oppenheimer

Lori Whitlow, Meaders Moore Ozarow and Jay Oppenheimer*

Jay Oppenheimer, the first-time event exceeded its $500,000 fundraising goal by a whopping $100,000, giving the VNA a handsome sum for its hospice care, Meals on Wheels and private care programs.

Bill and Gay Solomon and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal*

Bill and Gay Solomon and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal*

 No wonder it was such a success. Guests at the unique dinner were able to choose to sit with more than 60 Dallas leaders from fields including the arts, business, civic, education and food worlds. Among the legends and leaders were Mayor Mike Rawlings, Lynn McBee, Dr. Kern Wildenthal, Keith Cerny, Richard Fisher, Bobby Lyle and Tracie and Kent Rathbun. Honorary Co-chairs were sisters Suzanne Simmons Bartolucci, Peggy Simmons Dear and Betty Simmons Regard.

Crystal Charity Ball

The 2012 Crystal Charity Ball committee handed out mega checks at Nick and Sam’s grill on Preston Road. It was supposed to start at 6:30 p.m., and did! But what usually takes 15 minutes to a half hour to dole out the dough only took seconds, it seemed like, to distribute $4.7M.

Michal Powell, Brian Shivers, Mary Brinegar and Aileen Pratt

Michal Powell, Brian Shivers, Mary Brinegar and Aileen Pratt

Of all the smiles being worn, those belonging to the Arboretum’s Mary Brinegar, Michal Powell and Brian Shivers seemed the biggest. While they hadn’t been on the 2012 beneficiary list, the 2012 CCB team had raised more than planned and provided the Arboretum’s Children’s Garden with a nice surprise of $814,276 as part of its 2012 Beneficiary Distribution.

2012 CCB Chair Aileen Pratt not only looked delighted over the amount raised on her watch, she was also sporting that glow of, “My job is done. Now I can relax.”

2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon was flashing grand baby photos of her first grandest daughter, Quinn.  She just may need a separate iPhone to store all of Quinn’s photos.  

Women of Tocqueville

Got this recap of the evening sent in from the field.

Angela Fontana, Jennifer Sampson and Debra Brennan Tagg

Angela Fontana, Jennifer Sampson and Debra Brennan Tagg**

“It was a busy night at the Dior Exhibition, as some of the most powerful – and generous women in Dallas – convened for the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Women of Tocqueville gathered.

Shay Geyer mingled with Debra Brennan Tag and Michelle Brennan Hall, sharing her excitement for the Mad Hatter’s Luncheon; while Tiffany Divis shared with Margaret Reid her upcoming plans for Equest.

“Weil Gotshal & Manges partners and best pals Yvette Ostalaza, Penny Reid and Angela Fontana eyed the exhibition, drooling over an iconic cinched-waist couture dress.

“United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Jennifer Sampson, wearing her trademark high heels (which is impressive given her natural height) welcomed Deb Sorelle, Robbi Luxbacher, Dena Miller, Anelise Sacks, Cecily Gooch, Deb Gibbins, Debra Brennan Tagg, Katie Rose, Kristy Faus, Erin England, Sherrie Tawwater, Dipti Vachani, Cece Lia Smith, Patricia Villareal, Deanna Luxbacher and other social swells.”

* Photos provided by Visiting 
Nurse Association
** Photo provided by Women
of Tocqueville

Val Kilmer Just Might Join Dallas International Film Festival Gala

Val Kilmer and Carolina Herrera

Val Kilmer and Carolina Herrera

Surprise, surprise. Actor Val Kilmer popped in this morning at Carolina Herrera’s fashion showing in Highland Park Village for Equest.

After spending the morning being interviewed by KLUV’s Jody Dean and the gals at D Broadcast, Val stopped by the Herrera boutique to check in with the Venezuelan couture designer and his pal Jennifer Houser, who is helping with underwriting the Equest Fashion Show this fall for Event Chair Tiffany Divis. Now, that’s friendship when you realize that it was cold and rainy.

Val’s in town for his one-man show, “Citizen Twain” at the Wyly April 18-21.

While the former Batman was surrounded by a flock of females, Jennifer reported that Val might be at Friday night’s Dallas International Film Festival gala. Why, he might even help present the awards. Wouldn’t be surprised at all. He made a lot of fans and friends when he was here last November for the Dallas Film Society‘s The Art of Film.

Before all the ladies got their fill of Val, he was out the door and on to tape an interview for “Prime” with Emily Hargrove.

More about today’s Equest fundraiser later.

LOOK! — Tonight Is Right For A Dallas International Film Festival Red Carpet First Nighter

How simply perfect! It’s cold and damp outside. Yes, it’s pretty rotten conditions for sunbathing or gardening. Even strolling is not relished. But it’s the best type of weather to settle back for movie watching, popcorn eating and learning from experts about the behind-the-scenes activities of making films.

Dallas International Film Festival

Dallas International Film Festival

Tonight kicks off the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival at the brand newest movie theater in Dallas — LOOK in Addison. Showing on the LOOK screens will be “Still Mine,” “Kon-Tiki,” “The Crash Reel,” “” and “Java Heat.”  BTW, Frederico Fellini’s “8½” is legendary. You’ve probably seen it at home on your 60″ flat screen. Not the same, though, as seeing it on a theater’s bigger-than-big screen. If you can’t see it tonight, the DIFF will also show it on April 13 at the Angelika.

For more info about the 175 films, schedules and super-duper packages tailor-made for everyone thanks to the Dallas Film Society, check out the DIFF website. It’s a movie lovers’ idea of OMG!

Java Heat

Java Heat

BTW, “Java Heat” was written and produced by Dallas’s own father/son team Rob Allyn and Conor Allyn and stars Mickey Rourke. Conor also directed the film.

Graphics courtesy of the Dallas International Film Festival

Dallas International Film Festival Parties With Sponsors High Atop NyLo Dallas South Side At The Soda Bar

Love dark rooms. Add a jumbo box of popcorn and a wall lit up with a film. . . well, it’s a little bit of Hollywood heaven. What’s even better is when it’s a movie that knocks your socks or stockings off. And what’s even best is when you’re the first of your crowd to have spotted it as a must-see. That’s the feeling that permeates film festivals.

Back in the 1970’s SMU’s film professor Bill Jones and a young film upstart by the name of Kit Carson launched a film festival. Knowing Dallasites loved films and LA and NYC seemed too far away, they thought it would be great for Dallas to have its own festival.

Now, fast forward. Jones has long ago gone to the heavenly movie theater in the sky and Kit has continued as a maverick in the film industry. But the dream of Dallas being a film lovers haven has continued with two venues — Dallas International Film Festival and the USA Film Festival.

NyLo Soda Bar terrace

NyLo Soda Bar terrace

With the 7th annual DIFF just around the corner, DIFF patrons gathered at the Nylo South Side’s rooftop Soda Bar last Thursday to learn about the latest plans and news from organizers. Sure, there was a chill in the air because winter was lingering. But not enough to discourage folks from enjoying cocktails on the terrace with the skyline of downtown Dallas as the backdrop, or to take the steps up to sit by the fire bowl overlooking the pool.

Lee Papert, Lynn McBee and James Faust

Lee Papert, Lynn McBee and James Faust

But they gathered inside when Dallas Film Society leadership (President/CEO Lee Papert, Board Chair Lynn McBee and Artistic Director James Faust) revealed plans for the April 4-14 film fest. Oh, boy! What plans they are!

Chet and Cindy Parsons

Chet and Cindy Parsons

During the 11-day run, there will be 168-170 films from 29 countries (Korea, Italy, Germany, Ireland, etc.) to be shown. Legendary director William Friedkin will be on hand to accept the Dallas Star Award on April 12. The Palomar Hotel will be the festival hotel once again with the DIFF lounge being at the West Village. Among the 120 festival sponsors are AutoNation Volkswagen Dealers, NYLO, Texas Capital Bank, TXU Energy, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mary Kay.

Donna Egen

Donna Egen

TXU is once again presenting the TXU Energy Showcase featuring winning student films about energy conservation and energy efficiency. These films tend to be extremely impressive showcasing young talent.  

Presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation, the April 4th opening night will be held at the new LOOK Cinemas featuring “8 ½,”“Susperia,” “Java Heat,” “The Crash Reel,” “Still Mine” and “Kon-Tiki.” Instead of a red carpet, it’s going to be a pink one. Why? Because it’s being sponsored by Mary Kay!

A special nod was paid to the volunteers who help run the festival. Last year’s headcount of these unpaid devotees was 929.

Knowing that the 100 folks in the room love their screens, 45 minutes of trailers provided a great conversation piece following the speeches. First one was “42,” the Jackie Robinson story. James admitted that Jackie was his hero as a boy.

Anne Stodghill

Anne Stodghill

When guests weren’t checking out the trailers, they were catching up. Anne and Steve Stodghill were just back from Austin where they saw Condi Rice speak at the LBJ Library and had dinner with Vince Young and his wife Candice Johnson at Vince Young’s Steakhouse, of course. They’ll once again be hosting the “Stodge Classic Movie Night” in connection with DIFF. This year’s showing — “Sweet Smell of Success.”. . . Neal Sleeper was catching friends up on his project across from the West Village. He’s been working on it for decades. . . Lynn McBee reported that husband Allan’s clothes were a lot looser nowadays. Seems he lost 12 pounds on the 21-day Le Jus program.

Check out the DIFF’s website. It’s pretty darn good. Not only is there one tab with the daily schedules, there’s another that lists the movies, details and schedule.

Tickets are flying for the DIFF. The reason may be due to the variety of passes, tickets and vouchers that are available. What’s especially great is that the DIFF folks let you know upfront the pros and cons of each of the plans. Best description? The cons of the passes — “movie overload, red eyes and no sleep for 11 DIFF-filled days.”


Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert Is Mum On Art Of The Film But He’s Got Other News That Includes New Members And $$

Lee Papert

Ran into Dallas Film Society President Lee Papert at the Klyde Warren Park reveal event taking place at the Dallas Museum of Art today. Guess it was too hot to have it at the park itself, or the construction workers didn’t want a bunch of civilian types slowing down the progress.

Back to Lee. He looked like he had just popped in from a Hawaiian vacation in a Dale-Hansen-training-camp type shirt. The big smile on his face begged the reason. Was it the headliner of the Art of the Film in November? Nope. That person was yet to be decided/announced.

But he was very happy about the brand, spanking new members of the Dallas Film Society Board including Benton Bagot, Brad Berkley, Clare Freeman, Tara Lewis and Ian McGloin.

Then there were the plans for the April 4-14 Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). Submission of films for the 2013 film extravaganza opened today.

In its six-year history, DIFF has received over 7000 submissions, screened 1162 films from 50 countries, hosted 1000 filmmakers and featured 62 world premieres and 17 U.S premieres.

That’s a heck of a lot of popcorn.

If you’re a film type or a wannabe, you need to know confirmed awards include an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 for the winners of both the Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature Competition. Once again The Embrey Foundation’s $10,000 Silver Heart Award is awarded the film most dedicated to fighting injustices and creating social change for the improvement of humanity. The Texas Competition winner will receive a camera rental package worth $30,000 for their next production, courtesy of Panavision.

Early deadline for submissions is Friday, October 26.  Regular deadline is Friday, December 7.  Late deadline is Friday, December 14.

You don’t want to make a bad impression, so don’t be late.