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.
Preston Barta // Editor
The Dallas International Film Festival has released their official selections for the 11th edition of their 10-day event (March 30 – April 9). The list includes New York Film Festival favorite THE LOST CITY OF Z (starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, directed by James Gray), Sarah Adina Smith’s BUSTER’S MAL HEART (starring MR. ROBOTS’ Rami Malek), the world premieres of Jameson Brooks’s BOMB CITY and Micah Barber’s INTO THE WHO KNOWS!, and more.
If the first wave already has quality films such as this in its lineup, any more additions is just a bonus. You can check out the full list below and visit http://diff2017.dallasfilm.org/ for more information.
The eleven official selections include:
ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL
Director: Steve James
Cast: Neil Barofsky, Ti-Hua Chang, Jiayang Fan
Country: USA, Running Time: 88min
ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.
A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG
Director: Jason Headley
Cast: Matt Jones, Will Rogers, Jonny Mars
Country: USA, Running Time: 85min
A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG is a comedy about two would-be thieves who accidentally arm the alarm system and have to break out of the house they just broke into. When they discover an unexpected house sitter, they suddenly have to deal with a hostage situation, double crosses, sexual tensions, and discoveries that make their difficult escape even more dubious.
Director: Jameson Brooks
Cast: Ron Lester, Rachele Brooke Smith, Lorelei Linklater
Country: USA, Running Time: 93min
BOMB CITY is a gritty-drama, about the hatred and oppression of a group of punk revolutionaries in a conservative Texas town. Their ongoing battle with a rival clique leads to one of the most controversial hate crimes the U.S. has ever seen. Based on the true story of Brian Deneke.
BUSTER’S MAL HEART
Director: Sarah Adina Smith
Cast: Rami Malek, DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
In this bold thriller spiked with dark humor, Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) is Buster, a family man whose chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter leaves him on the run from the police and an impending event known as The Inversion.
Director: Tony Shaff
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
44 PAGES is a portrait of Highlights Magazine following the creation of the cultural phenomenon’s 70th Anniversary issue, from the first editorial meeting to its arrival in homes, and introducing the quirky people who passionately produce the monthly publication for “the world’s most important people,”…children. Along the way, a rich and tragic history is revealed, the state of childhood, technology, and education is explored, and the future of print media is questioned.
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner
Country: France/Germany, Running Time: 113min
A haunting tale of love and reconciliation begins in a small town in Germany in the immediate aftermath of World War I when a young woman mourning the death of her fiancé encounters a mysterious Frenchman laying flowers on her beloved’s grave.
INTO THE WHO KNOWS!
Director: Micah Barber
Cast: Macon Blair, Bryce Gheisar, Jessi Mechler
Country: USA, Running Time: 72min
Ten-year old Thomas has a best friend: Felix the Fox. But his parents want him to make “real friends”, so they send him to summer camp. However, he hates it, so he and Felix make a midnight escape. Deep in the forest of the Who Knows they pursue a mythical being called the Totem, and decide to catch it.
THE LOST CITY OF Z
Director: James Gray
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland
Country: USA, Running Time: 141min
A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.
THE PRESENT ONES (LOS PRESENTES)
Director: Alejandro Molina
Cast: Moises Arizmendi, Marianna Burelli, Aquiles Cervantes
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 90min
Ana, a former actress, gets the chance to reunite herself with Ophelia, a character she played years ago on the stage, when she met and fell for the man who is her husband now. However, at this point in her life, her marriage is facing a difficult time, tenuously kept together is their 6-year old son. By playing the character, and “becoming” Ophelia once again, and under stressful circumstances, Ana suffers a personality split which leads her to an extreme and life changing juncture, something she has never faced before.
SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Director: Matt Schrader
Cast: Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Williams
Country: USA, Running Time: 93min
SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY brings Hollywood’s premiere composers together to give viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world’s most widely known music genre: the film score.
Director: Stefan Avalos
Cast: Daniel Houck, Razvan Stoica, David Campbell
Country: USA, Running Time: 104min
STRAD STYLE follows a backwoods dreamer from Ohio with an obsession for ‘Stradivari’ and all things violin, who, through the magic of social-media, convinces a famous European concert violinist that he can make a copy of the most famous and valuable violin in the world. Fighting time, poverty, and most of all – himself – Danny Houck puts everything on the line for one shot at glory.
ABOUT THE DALLAS FILM SOCIETY
The Dallas Film Society celebrates films and their impact on society. A 501(c)(3) non- profit organization, the Dallas Film Society recognizes and honors filmmakers for their achievements in enhancing the creative community, provides educational programs to students to develop a better understanding of the role of film in today’s world, and promotes the City of Dallas and its commitment to the art of filmmaking. The annual Dallas International Film Festival is a presentation of the Dallas Film Society and has been named by Movie Maker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” In addition to producing one of the largest festivals in the Southwest, the Society produces numerous year round events, film screening series and programs in partnership with arts organizations around the city. The offices of the Dallas Film Society are located at 110 Leslie Street, Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75207. For more information about the Dallas Film Society and its ongoing events, visit www.dallasfilm.org or call (214) 720-0555.
ABOUT DART TO DIFF
DART allows commuters to navigate around Dallas and 12 surrounding cities with modern public transit services and customer facilities tailored to make transportation fast, comfortable and economical. The new DART to DIFF partnership is making it even easier for 2017 Dallas International Film Festival-goers to quickly and safely travel from the 2017 DIFF hub to exciting events around the city. As the main public transportation provider in Dallas, DART is the perfect partner for the 2017 festival and a vital resource for movie-goers. In addition, DART pass and ticket holders will receive $2 discount off DIFF regular ticket prices when purchasing tickets at the DIFF Box Office.
2017 DIFF SPONSORS: ABCO; AdChat DFW; Advocate Magazine; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, LLP; The Angelika Film Center; Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies; City of Dallas – Office of Culture Affairs; Commerce House; D Magazine; Dallas Film Commission; Dallas Morning News; Dallas Producer’s Association; Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District (DTPID); DART; Downtown Dallas, Inc.; Earth Day Texas; Earth X Film Festival; El Creative; Festworks; Flagship Marketing; The Highland Dallas; Hong Kong Economic Trade Office; IMDB; In-N-Out Burger; Lucky Post; Magnolia Hotel; Marcs Clips; Mercury One Foundation; MindHandle; Murray Media; Panavision; PaperCity; People’s Last Stand; PreKindle; Radar Creative Studio; SAGIndie; Selig Polyscope Company; Sewell Automotive Companies; Southern Methodist University – Division of Film & Media Arts; Solarity Studios; State Fair Records; Stella Artois; Studio Movie Grill; Texas Commission for the Arts; Texas Association of Film Commissions; Texas Film Commission; Univision; Visit Dallas; WFAA