October 24, 2008

The 21st Dallas Video Festival, Nov. 6 - 9

This year the Festival will be at the Angelika Dallas, with programming on two screens over four days. That cuts the programs down to roughly half the number included in the "classic" DVF in prior years. Bart struggled with some tough decisions in paring the selections down, so I expect everything that did make the cut this year to be pretty great.

All-Fest Passes are as usual an incredible bargain, just $75 – that's for about 33 hours of programming (there's at least twice that much, of course, but I'm counting just half since you can't be in two places at once), which comes out to about $2.37 per hour – all highly independent stuff, most of which you'll never have another chance to see. (See other pricing options, including day passes and discounts for seniors, here.)

NOTE: I've seen materials from the Festival and elsewhere that mistakenly refer to the Fest as running for three nites. Don't be confused! The Festival runs for FOUR nites, Thur., Nov. 6 thru Sun., Nov. 9, inclusive.

Below are just a few highlights. I haven't actually seen most of these, just thought they looked interesting based on descriptions from the Festival and other sources and on my own, idiosyncratic interests (e.g., I happen to be interested in anything relating to Islamic nations and culture; also, be aware that some of the programs selected may overlap in time).

For more details, see the DVF website (and don't forget to contribute to the Video Association while you're there!)


Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation by Eric Zala
After seeing the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, three Mississippi kids began filming their own shot-by-shot adaptation. Six years later it was in the can and making the art house circuit. Paramount is currently at work on a biographical story of the boys, and this is the ‘Adaptation’ that started it all. 100 min.
Chris Strompolos “Indy” in attendance.

German Music Videos
by various artists
A collection of innovative and pristinely produced music videos courtesy of the Goethe Institute. 60 min.

I'll Come Running

Spencer Parsons
A young Danish man traveling through Texas hooks up with an Austin girl, and even though they're not planning to see each other again, tragic circumstances lead her to his doorstep in Denmark. 112 min.

Science Gone Wild
by Gordon Smith
Amusing, illuminating documentary compilation of ridiculous moments from sci-fi and government scare films of the 50s and 60s, concerning radiation, monsters, space travel, drugs, computers, aliens, and the bomb. Includes clips from classics Killers From Space, The Amazing Colossal Man, and Attack of the Crab Monsters.
Filmmaker in attendance.


A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy by Robert Drew
A four-act feature on the presidency of John F. Kennedy. It follows his triumphant presidential campaign as a young senator and the fairy-tale Camelot early years of his presidency with candid photos and clips. Then the burdens of the grave problems of the Oval office end in his shocking assassination. 85 min.

The Wrecking Crew
by Denny Tedesco
A documentary featuring the The Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians in LA in the 60s, who played on hits for the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, The Byrds, Mamas and Papas, Tijuana Brass, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers and were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. The amount of work that they were involved in was tremendous. 100 min.

The Pleasure of Being Robbed
by Josh Safdie
A curious and lost Eleonore looks for something everywhere, even in the bags of strangers who find themselves sadly smiling only well after she's left their lives. They owe her their thanks. Directed by Josh Safdie. 71 min.



Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
by Stefan Forbes
Feature documentary about Lee Atwater, the original American Political Svengali. To Democrats he was the most evil man in America, but a hero to Republicans in the heartland. He helped reshape politics with his sense of humor and vision of politics as war. He also played a mean guitar that B.B. appreciated. 88 min.
NOTE: This screens at the same time as the London Advertising Awards.

Finding Kraftland
by Adam Shell and Richard Kraft
Hollywood music agent turns his home into a shrine to kitsch and the American consumer culture. He has collected everything from a life-size Kips Big Boy to the model for Willy Wonka’s boat. A documentary for the kid in all of us. 75 min.

Video Art Compilation

A collection of short experimental films that explore alternative approaches to storytelling [curated by Bart Weiss]. Includes:

O.J. is Guilty But Not of Murder, The Overlooked Suspect
by Phil Smith
Internationally renowned private detective, William C. Dear, presents new evidence that he has uncovered in this documentary. This incredible story brings to light some of the pitfalls of a modern day police investigation, while it reminds us that sometimes what we think of as the truth, may not actually be the truth at all. 84 min.
Filmmakers and Private Eye William C. Dear in attendance.

Dance Compilation

A collection of videos that highlight the highs and lows of dance. Featuring three stories about a Ft. Worth ballet company, the thwarted dreams of a prima ballerina, and a comical movement study. Includes:
Guest of Cindy Sherman
by Tom Donahue and Paul H-O
Feature documentary about the reclusive artist Cindy Sherman. The makers of the New York public access show Gallery Beat get to hang out with Sherman and get an insider’s look at her place in the pantheon of the New York art market and culture of celebrity. 90 min. [See also "Cindy Sherman Disavows Guest of Cindy Sherman."]

Screening with:
Color Equations by Pamela Nelson and Robert A. Wilson
An experimental study in color. 5 min.
Filmmaker in attendance.

Present Company
by Frank V. Ross
Living separate lives out of her parent’s basement, about the only thing Christy and Buddy share is their baby. What little that is left of their relationship falls apart in questions about obligations and consequences. 85 min.

The Albert Maysles Award Presentation

The ALBERT MAYSLES AWARD for an emerging documentary filmmaker. Albert Maysles will be in attendance to present his own film, Running Fence, and to award his hand-picked documentary filmmaker Bradley Kaplan. The documentary work of the award-winning maker will also be showcased.
Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan in attendance.

Screening with: Running Fence by David Maysles, Albert Maysles and
Charlotte Zwerin

A celebration of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's vision; first a four-year struggle, then 24 1/2 miles of white nylon fabric, rising from the Pacific and stretching like a white sail across California. Runing Fence depicts the long struggle by the artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, to build a 24-mile fence of white fabric over the hills of California disappearing into the Pacific. Cost: 3 million dollars. The idea at first must seem the limit of absurdity for the fence was taken down as planned at the end of two weeks and now exists solely on film. There is a struggle between the artists and the state bureaucracy, who want to prevent the fence being erected, even though the ranchers whose land it crosses want it. After four years of work, Christo sees the vision realized. "See how it describes the wind." 58 min.

Also screening with: Preview of Rufus Wainwright: Do I Disappoint You by Bradley Kaplan
A preview of a feature documentary in progress, Rufus Wainwright: Do I Disappoint You is an intimate and revealing portrait of a truly magical, passionate artist in his prime and at the top of his game. The film chronicles stunning performances and behind-the-scenes footage captured live at a one-of-a-kind show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin shot by Maysles Films in the most direct, up-close, and personal style. 8 min.

Mickey Mouse, We Ain’t Compilation

Artists use awe-inspiring animation techniques to treat a variety of adult-oriented subject matter. Includes:
10:00PM – 2:00AM
PARTY at Lee Harvey's


Miss Universe 1929
by Péter Forgács
Lisl Godarbeiter was the first Miss Austria and the first non-American to win the Miss Universe contest in 1929 – held on the Galveston beaches that year. Her cousin, Marci, was secretly in love with her and started making films of her. These films, modern interviews and archive footage tell their story. 70 min.

La Couleur d'Argent (The Color of Money)
by Jean Marie Michel
The 2008 presidential race was the most expensive election in U.S. history. And the entire country got caught up in the race, from the average American to the most powerful figures in the U.S. The country’s special interest groups geared up for battle, from Hollywood to Wall Street to Texas oil tycoons. But the Internet may have made it possible for candidates to finally break free of the generosity of corporate interests. This film takes a close-up look at the battle: a struggle between the American people, who want to choose their own president, and U.S. corporate groups, whose special interests often clash with those of ordinary citizens.

Cinematic Bebop Compilation
A cornerstone of our festival is celebrating the marriage of music and images through the art of the music video.
Here and There Compilation

These videos explore the interplay between people and their environments using disparate visual styles.
Cinematic Surface Compilation

The subject of this compilation is the nature and texture of film itself.
Moral Kombat by Spencer Halpin
This high-def video documentary studies the controversies of the video game industry. Both a history of the development of the games as well as the First Amendment arguments about the more violent games. A serious look that lets developers, politicians and experts have their say. 81 min. You might find it useful to supplement the Wikipedia entry with this from M.I.T. Prof. Henry Jenkins' blog.
Filmmaker in attendance.

Iranian Compilation
This compilation includes two excellent shorts from Iran.
The Texas Show Compilation

The annual Texas Show is a sampling of the finest shorts the Lone Star State has to offer over a broad spectrum of genres and styles. This year's showcase was juried by Ya'ke, Austin-Based filmmaker and educator, James Johnston, underground filmmaker and renowned Vegan Chef, and A.C. Abbott festival director, filmmaker and educator.

10:00PM – 1:00AM
PARTY at The Belmont
; map here.

1 comment:

  1. late breaking news...The Gates has been replaced by another film called Running Fence about Christo's project in California by Albert and David Maysles produced in 1978.