The Dallas Film Society Announces First 10 Films of 2015 Dallas International Film Festival


dallas-international-film-festivalCole Clay // Film Critic

If we were to give the 9th annual Dallas International Film Festival a theme it would be that there is no theme. Diversity is key in getting your festival noticed by a wide variety of filmgoers. Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society James Faust and company have certainly far exceeded their due diligence by delivering an eclectic blend of programming.

Now, we are only getting a snapshot of the festival, which is taking place from April 9th-19, but these 10 films have tremendous talent and possibly a few hidden gems stowed away.

Notable announcements from the press release include the presentation of the Dallas Star Award to legendary horror/comedy filmmaker John Landis. In honor of the ceremony his classic 1980 comedy THE BLUES BROTHERS will receive a special screening.

Festival goers will also get the chance to see the world premiere of ECHOES OF WAR starring James Badge Dale (THE DEPARTED), Ethan Embry (CHEAP THRILLS) and burgeoning star Maika Monroe (IT FOLLOWS). Other films include THE LOOK OF SILENCE, the second film from Oscar nominated documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer (THE ACT OF KILLING), and a surreal romantic comedy PLAYING IT COOL starring Chris Evans (THE AVENGERS), Luke Wilson (OLD SCHOOL) and Aubrey Plaza (PARKS AND RECREATION).

The Dallas Film Society has provided us with a wonderful tease of what its to come, but as we all know waiting is the hardest part.

gty_diane_keaton_morgan_freeman_mn_thg_130924_mn5 FLIGHTS UP (USA)
Director: Richard Loncraine
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Carrie Preston 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.

15254-1-1100BEING EVEL (USA)
Director: Daniel Junge

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.

Echoes-of-War-2D-thumb-630xauto-53626ECHOES OF WAR (USA) (World premiere)
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.

phim22072014-25d5cHOLLOW (Vietnam)
Director: Ham Tran
Cast: Kieu Chinh, Jayvee Mai The Hiep and Nguyen Hong An

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.

grace-huang-gunJASMINE (USA)
Director: Dax Phelan
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.

Director: John Landis
Cast: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin

Synopsis: Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.

the-look-of-silenceTHE LOOK OF SILENCE (Denmark/Finland/Indonesia/Norway/UK)
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

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 power.

-1PLAYING IT COOL (USA) (North American Premiere)
Director: Justin Reardon
Cast: Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza, Ashley Tisdale, Martin Starr, Topher Grace, Anthony Mackie and Luke Wilson

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.

Official Trailer:

7c529e93cff98c2ea58392d317cef81f_largeWELCOME TO LEITH (USA)
Director: Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker

Synopsis: WELCOME TO LEITH is a feature documentary chronicling the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. Filmed in the days leading up to Cobb’s arrest for terrorizing the townspeople on an armed patrol and his subsequent release from jail six months later, the film is an eerie document of American DIY ideals.

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 10.57.24 AMWESTERN (USA/Mexico)
Director: Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross
Cast: Chad Foster, Brylyn Wall and Martín Wall

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.

Online ticket sales will be available for members only beginning Monday, March 16 at, with online ticket sales opening to the public on Thursday, March 19. The physical Prekindle Box Office at Mockingbird Station will open on Thursday, March 26.

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 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” In addition to producing one of the largest festivals in the Southwest, the Society produces numerous year round events, screenings series and programs in partnership with arts organizations around the city. The offices of the Dallas Film Society are located at 3625 North Hall Street, Suite 740, Dallas, TX 75219. For more information about the Dallas Film Society and its ongoing events, visit or call (214) 720-0555.

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 2015 Dallas International Film Festival-goers to quickly and safely travel from the 2015 DIFF hub in Mockingbird Station to exciting events around the city. As the main public transportation provider in Dallas, DART is the perfect partner for the 2015 festival and a vital resource for movie-goers.

2015 CONFIRMED SPONSORS:  ABCO; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, LLP; Alamo DraftHouse Cinemas DFW; The Angelika Film Center; Austin Film Festival; AutoNation; Buy LEDs; CAMP TV; CBS 11;  Cinemark USA, Inc.; City of Dallas – Office of Cultural Affairs; City of Richardson; The Crow Collection of Asian Art; Commerce House; D Magazine; Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau; Dallas Film Commission; Dallas Museum of Art; Dallas Producers Association; Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District (TPID); DART; Deep Eddy Vodka; Downtown Dallas Inc.; Dublin Bottling Works; Earth Day Texas; El Creative; Embrey Family Foundation; Flagship Marketing; The Highland Dallas, Holiday Inn Central Park Cities; Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office;  In-N-Out Burger; Jackson Walker LLP.; Klyde Warren Park; Levenson; Lufthansa Airlines; Marcs Clips; Mary Kay; Mockingbird Station; Movie Magic; My Sweet Charity; Nasher Sculpture Center;  Panavision; PaperCity; Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Pencilneck Software Post Asylum; Prekindle; Pure Evil Sound & Music Design; Radar Creative Studio; ReelFX; SAGindie; Selig Polyscope Company; Southern Methodist University – Division of Film & Media Arts; Stella Artois; Texas Association of Film Commissions; Texas Commission of the Arts; Texas Film Commission; Which Wich

About author

Preston Barta

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 ( 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.