Film Fest-ing Is Fun

Do you like traveling? Learning new things? Exposure to different cultures and new ideas? Laughing, crying and… popcorn? Then film fest-ing is for you.

I started my career in Hollywood complete with movie stars, special effects, elaborate sets – the whole shebang. A decade in I got burnt out and stopped watching movies for many years after leaving the industry.

Then, six years ago, I had the chance to experience the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). Over a week, I watched a dozen variant genre films – some domestic, some from other countries. The films took me into worlds I’ve never been and introduced me to ideas I’d never thought of. I was moved. Inspired. And hooked on the medium, anew.

This year, I attended the 2018 fest (DIFF’s 11th year) in early May catching a total of 14 screenings over a week at Magnolia Theater in the West Village. Short films, documentaries (two standouts were the Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth, and creative narratives (An American in Texas by Victoria, Texas filmmaker Anthony Pedone was a favorite) filled my week.

Dallas has a good amount of film festivals. A few notables include the Oak Cliff Film Festival, Dallas VideoFest, Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Jewish Film Festival of Dallas, Lone Star Film Festival and even a Cat Video Festival (yes, really).

But DIFF is the one which brings them all together. Really well programmed with diversity, it showcases every kind of film – worldwide representation of filmmakers, cultures, and storytelling styles. There are also parties, family events (ex: this year they had an outdoor screening of “Coco” at the Dallas Farmers Market) and other special, peripheral events.

So, real talk: A thriving international film festival is an offering every significant city in the world has. Though DIFF has good leadership and wonderful programming, Dallas’s festival is not thriving. How do I know? Every year, I take people who have never been and/or never heard of it. People who work in creative and media fields, even.

Our film festival should be of note and drawing more attendees and guests from our own city and all over the world. The fest needs more sponsorship. This paper is distributed in some of the wealthiest areas of Dallas. If you see the value of such an event for our city and might have interest in helping DIFF get to the next level, please contact DIFF or contact me ([email protected]), and I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can and/or contact them on your behalf. I have absolutely no association, other than being an attendee, but would love to see this festival attain the reach and notoriety it deserves. It’s good for all of us as individuals, it’s good for humanity at large, it’s GREAT for Dallas.

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