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Dallas International Film Festival Goes Populist After AFI

Serving up Texas-sized helpings of cinema, the Dallas International Film Festival will engulf all eight screens of the AArrigangelika Film Center for its Opening Night shindig on April 8, 2010. The festival runs through April 18.

The smorgasbord includes such fiction and documentary films as Bill Cunningham New York, by documentarian Richard Press; Multiple Sarcasms, Brooks Branch's relationship drama starring Timothy Hutton; Mexican classic Nosotros los pobres; and Anthony Burns' Texan-spun drama, Skateland.

It's a foretaste of programming categories to descend on America's eighth-largest city over the subsequent 11 days. Before the Festival closes, some 1,600 film-goers will have seen 153 films from 25 countries.

Dallas IFF's first edition following the expiration of its contract with AFI foregrounds local, Latino and Mexican titles, reflecting the populist convictions of artistic director James Faust, senior programmer Sarah Harris and Festival chairman Michael Cain.  

Last year's multi-screen finale was the model for this year's opener, according to Cain. Not only was it audience catnip, but the stretched slate vested that many more filmmakers in the glamor and goodwill of a gala celebration.

While the cultural flavor is down-home, the new regime hardly stints on pomp. And some of it converges on the Dallas Star Awards.

Mexican screenwriter/director Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams) will receive one. Further basking in the Festival limelight, the master of nonlinear narrative will be honored with a retrospective of his work at the Latino Cultural Center. Particular sizzle surrounds The Burning Plain, which female lead Jennifer Lawrence will be on hand to discuss, and which Arriaga also directed. In a "Conversation with… " panel discussion, erstwhile university maestro Arriaga will field questions about his work.

To salute Mexico's bicentennial, another Dallas Star Award will be presented (posthumously) to fellow countryman Pedro Infante. Among the screen icon's myriad hits were Opening Night's Nosotros los pobres (We the Poor) — a popular favorite set in a poor working-class barrio of Mexico CityUstedes los ricos and Pepe el Toro. Mexico's first filmed trilogy, by Golden Age director Ismael Rodríguez, will be screened alongside other Infante greats.

Writer-director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, The Blind Side) and three-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Wally Pfister (Batman Begins,The Dark Knight) round out the roster of Dallas Star Awardees.

Oscar-winning writer/director Pete Docter will take home the Texas Avery Animation Award, which Reel FX Entertainment is springing for. Docter will be decorated prior to a special salute to his animation career.

Also, Target is back for the fourth year to sponsor the Target Narrative and Target Documentary Feature Competition awards, each of dangles $25,000 in cash.

Dallas IFF is also cuing the drum roll for its “Super Saturday Presentations,” a slate of seven premiers to be presented April 10. Virsa, which is an official World Cinema Selection and Feature in Competition, makes its world debut that evening. The Punjabi-language film about cross-generational and cross-cultural tensions is directed by Pankaj Batra and executive produced by Dallas-born oncologist and hematologist Dr. Amanullah Khan.

Hold, Frank Mosely's drama about a young couple's relationship after the wife's rape also has its world premiere on Super Saturday, as do Derrick Borte's sendup of consumerist society, The Joneses (starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny) and Hollywood romance Waiting for Forever, by James Keach (starring Rachel Bilson, Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner).

Sin Ella (Without Her), a drama by Jorge Colon about a TV producer whose late ex-wife comes back to guide him, and We are the Sea, Neil Truglio's portrait of a drifter, are other eagerly anticipated April 10 selections.

For information on additional films and awards at Dallas IFF, visit

The Dallas International Film Festival
Apr. 8 - 18
the Angelika Film Center
3625 N Hall St

Dallas, TX
(214) 720-0555
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