The Dallas International Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 2010 edition, which takes place April 8-18. This is a critical year for the fest, the first since its partnership with the American Film Institute expired. The big question is whether the event will be able to maintain the momentum it built over the past three years without the cachet of the AFI brand.
One notable change this year: There won't be a single opening-night gala film but instead four features and one program of short films that will unfold simultaneously at the Angelika Film Center. (The fest will take over the entire theater on opening night.) The opening titles include Skateland, a coming-of-age drama set in East Texas that premiered at Sundance; Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about the New York Times photographer; and Multiple Sarcasms, a drama with Stockard Channing and Timothy Hutton.
It's an eclectic group of films, though those who had grown accustomed to the star-studded galas of years past are probably going to be disappointed.
Four filmmakers are being honored with the Dallas Star Award: Guillermo Arriaga, the writer-director whose The Burning Plain was one of the festival's strongest entries last year (it will have an encore screening); cinematographer Wally Pfister ( The Dark Knight); the late Mexican director Pedro Infante (it's part of a special sidebar on Mexican cinema); and writer-director John Lee Hancock ( The Blind Side). Oscar-winning animator Pete Docter ( Up) will also come to town to receive the fest's Tex Avery Animation Award.
Among the other highlights of the lineup, which includes 153 features and shorts:
Brotherhood : Directed by Arlington native Will Cannon, this drama about fraternity hazing won the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
Wake : One of my favorites from SXSW, this thriller marks the feature debut of another local, Cowtown-reared Chad Feehan. The Sopranos' Jamie-Lynn Sigler co-stars.
Carried Away : Tom Huckabee, former artistic director of the Lone Star Film Festival, directs this tale of an aging woman who takes off on a cross-country adventure with her grandson.
A Surprise in Texas : A documentary about the most recent Cliburn competition.