With any film festival, narrowing down what to see can be difficult. That’s certainly true for the Lone Star Film Festival, where nearly 30 films are crammed into four days.
Here are five on our short list.
A Field in England: British cult director Ben Wheatley ( Kill List, Sightseers, a segment of The ABCs of Death) returns with a blend of thriller and fantasy that focuses on fleeing British Civil War soldiers who find something odd in a field. 7 p.m. Nov. 8.
Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self: In addition to having the most impressive title of the festival, this mostly one-man show about a motivational speaker breaking down during his presentation features a knockout performance from Dallas actor Barry Nash. It’s also the second feature from director Eric Steele, one of the minds behind the rejuvenation of Oak Cliff’s historic Texas Theatre. Robert Longstreet also stars. 9:30 p.m. Nov. 8.
Nebraska: The latest from Descendants’ director Alexander Payne has been a real crowd-pleaser at festivals around the world. Payne was nominated for Cannes’s Palme d’Or for this tale about a road trip by an aging, alcoholic dad and his son. Bruce Dern and Will Forte star. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9.
Little Hope Was Arson: In 2010, a series of church burnings left much of East Texas physically and emotionally scarred. Theo Love’s documentary explores the toll the destruction had on these communities. 2 p.m. Nov. 10.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: English filmmaker Justin Chadwick charmed audiences in 2010 with The First Grader, the story of an 84-year-old illiterate Kenyan villager who goes to school. He returns to Africa with this biography of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela starring Idris Elba ( The Wire). (If nothing else, it has to be better than the Winnie Mandela biopic starring Jennifer Hudson that came out earlier this year.) 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10.