I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Taking place tonight through Sunday (June 11-14), the Oak Cliff Film Festival promises to be one of the best spots to see some of best films from Texas filmmakers. It will also bring some high-quality independent features, documentaries and shorts to the area.
Fresh Fiction has put together a list of films that you should seek out while venturing out to Big D to take in the festival setting.
Set to kick off the festival tonight is TANGERINE, a charming dramedy about two transgender prostitutes (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) in Los Angeles. On top of the unique and original storyline, the cool thing about this Sundance sensation is it’s shot exclusively on an iPhone 5. If that doesn’t inspire you to make movies, I don’t know what will.
If you like horror, then BODY may be the way to spend your Friday night. The premise is a little typical – a night takes a deadly turn when three girls break into a seemingly empty mansion – but the trailer seems pretty creepy. The film itself has received mixed reviews out of previous film festivals, but some have said it’s a fun and intense thriller. So take it or leave it.
Oak Cliff does not come without appealing documentaries. Filmmaker Brendan Toller documents the unveiling the incredible journey of Danny Fields, a man who played a pivotal role in music by working with such bands as The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and The Ramones.
CHRISTMAS, AGAIN provides an interesting perspective of the ways people celebrate Christmas but it primarily focuses on a heartbroken tree salesman (Kentucker Audley) who returns to the Big Apple in hope of putting the past behind him. However, things begin to spiral downwards… all until a mysterious woman (Hannah Gross) enters the picture.
The film looks like one of those “not much happens but not much is supposed to happen” kind of flicks, but it also shows to be a quiet yet moving film that many of us can relate to– and sometimes those can be the best of movies to watch.
If you have kept up with our South by Southwest coverage, you may be familiar with UNEXPECTED, writer-director Kris Swanbergs’ latest that spins a fantastic story of friendship and motherhood.
Swanbergs’ excellent human dramedy UNEXPECTED, starring Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm and relative newcomer Gail Bean. The film tells of two pregnant women who embark on an unlikely journey.
Smulders carries the film, but Bean gives the kind of explosive performance that awards are made for. So much heart, soul and personality rings in UNEXPECTED. It’s simply delightful.
Student Shorts: Friday (6/12) at 7:30 p.m. at Bishop Arts Theater Center
Narrative Shorts 1: Saturday (6/13) at 1 p.m. at Bishop Arts Theater Center
Cinema 16 Shorts: Saturday (6/13) at 7 p.m. at El Sibil
Documentary Shorts: Sunday (6/14) at 1 p.m. at The Kessle
Narrative Shorts 2: Sunday (6/14) at 2:45 p.m. at Bishop Arts Theater Center
This year’s lineup features a significant amount of shorts. From students to local filmmakers, the shorts include fun and riveting narratives/documentaries such as THE BOTTOM RUNG (an exploration of amateur comics in the world of stand-up) and UNMAPPABLE (a portrait of the life and work of a iconoclastic psychogeographer and convicted sex offender).
The full lineup, ticket and screening information can be found on oakclifffilmfestival.com.