Dallas VideoFest 30 presents the final series of films in its fall season: Alternative Fiction Fest, featuring dozens of narrative features, TV-focused special events and shorts, during four days, Nov. 2-5, at Angelika Film Center in Dallas.
The narratives that make up the majority of AltFiction Fest explore this moment in time at the intersection between media and how cinema artists can create original work in this new world.
“Over the 4 days at the Angelika, a great palace of traditional cinema exhibition, AltFiction Fest features new works from local and international filmmaker telling unique stories, working the edges and sometimes the centers of this world,” stated Weiss, founder and artistic director, in a press release.
Thursday, Nov. 2
Director: Jennifer Reeder
Zaynab, a 30-something Pakistani, Muslim, lesbian in Chicago takes care of her sweet and TV-obsessed mother. As Zaynab falls for Alma, a bold and very bright Mexican woman, she searches for her identity in life, love and wrestling.
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME
Director: Bill Morrison
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME pieces together the bizarre true history of a collection of some 500 films dating from 1910s – 1920s, which depict a unique history of a Canadian gold rush town. The films, lost for more than 50 years, were discovered buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon Territory, in Dawson City, located about 350 miles south of the Arctic Circle. DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME utilizes these permafrost protected, rare silent films and newsreels, archival footage, interviews and historical photographs to tell the story of how a First Nation hunting camp was transformed and displaced. The story, accompanied by an enigmatic score by Sigur Ros, and collaborator and composer Alex Somers (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC), chronicles the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery and salvation.
Friday, Nov. 3
THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF EVERYTHING
Director: Ya’ke Smith
Filmmaker in attendance
Angelita returns home from prison in hopes of reuniting with the young child she left behind. Upon discovering the child is nowhere to be found, she goes on a quest to find the baby, her hope and her reason for living
Andy Anderson tribute
To honor the memory of local filmmaker and teacher Andy Anderson who passed away this year, we are showing his film, DETENTION.
Director: Andy Anderson
After some personal trauma, Wilson Walmsley is invited to work as a substitute teacher in a suburban public high school. He finds lack of authority and interest in the school direction and teacher body; and uncontrolled and abusive students in an environment of disrespect and lack of discipline. Walmsley becomes close to the arts teacher Louise and to the smart and abused student Joey. When he saves Louise from a sexual assault by a student named Davey, he and Louise are sued by Davey’s family lawyer; then Davey’s girlfriend beats Louise. The upset Walmsley lures, drugs and kidnaps Joey and six troublemakers of his class and brings them to his isolated property in Alpine, Texas. When the seven students wake up, they are naked and locked in cages with electric fences. When Walmsley arrives, he advises them that his class will begin, and any disrespect or lack of discipline will be duly punished. He shoots Joey to make his intentions clear. And the class begins.
Saturday, Nov. 4
I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE (Mexico)
Director: Ernesto Contreras
Sundance Audience Award Winner
A linguist (Fernando Álvarez Rebeil) travels to an isolated Mexican village to study a nearly dead language, but finds that its only two speakers (Manuel Poncelis and Eligio Melendez) refuse to converse with each other due to an ancient grudge. In time, the researcher works to reunite the duo in the hope of preserving their native tongue, and learns more about the language’s mysteries in the process.
AMS Pictures – Programs – David Koresh and Monica Lewinsky
AMS Pictures has developed a unique style to mix archival film and historical recreations to reinvent the Reality TV genre. We are showing two examples of this.
Murder Made Me Famous-David Koresh
Director: Ya’Ke Smith (filmmaker in attendance)
Produced by AMS Pictures
The unnerving psychology behind murder has long been source material for television, books and movies but why do certain killers capture the attention of millions and their stories generate so much interest that movies are made about them? Each one-hour episode of Murder Made Me Famous presents dramatic recreations of well-known crimes using archival material and insightful commentary from those connected to the case to help unravel the twisted personalities behind the grisly crimes. New episodes focus on John Gotti, David Koresh, Susan Smith and “The Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez among others. Featured commentator for every episode is author and PEOPLE crime reporter, Steve Helling, who has covered several high-profile crime stories including the Natalee Holloway and Laci Peterson disappearances.
Scandal Made Me Famous-Monica Lewinsky
Directors: Brad Osborne and Rijaa Nadeem (filmmaker in attendance)
Produced by AMS Pictures
What happens when a face in the crowd becomes a household name for all of the wrong reasons? See the unforgettable stories that thrust everyday people into the spotlight when their scandals reach the public. Each hour-long episode of Scandal Made Me Famous unfolds in the storytelling tradition of the fan favorite original series Murder Made Me Famous. Dramatic recreations of famous scandals are brought to life through archival material and insightful commentary from those connected to the story, but Scandal Made Me Famous proves you don’t have to kill to become a notorious celebrity—you just have to be a part of a killer scandal.
New episodes include the salacious stories of Monica Lewinsky, Rachel Uchitel, Heidi Fleiss, Jessica Hahn, Mary Kay Letourneau and Jennifer Wilbanks. Scandal Made Me Famous is produced by AMS Pictures.
Producer and director: Kat Candler
Kat Candler has had a successful career as an independent filmmaker making powerful shorts and features. She is now a great example of making the move from film to TV.
QUEEN SUGAR follows the life of three siblings, one brother and two sisters, who, with one of the sister’s teenage son, move to the heart of Louisiana to claim an inheritance from their recently departed father – an 800-acre sugar cane farm.
Kat Candler, who served as producing director on the second season of QUEEN SUGAR, has been named executive producer/showrunner for the hit OWN drama’s upcoming third season. She replaces Monica Macer who served as showrunner in Season 2. Macer, in turn, replaced Season 1 day-to-day showrunner Melissa Carter. Like her processors, Candler will work closely with QUEEN SUGAR creator/executive producer Ava DuVernay.
Director: Kyla Simone Bruce
UNDOCUMENT is an episodic feature, following four stories of longing and love, immigration & identity. The vision of an Iranian and a European director, dealing with the complex theme of illegal immigration or ‘undocumented migrants.’ Each story is set at a different stage of the migrants’ journey, in three different countries: Iran, Greece and England.
Sunday, Nov. 5
Panel From Film to Television
Sunday 10 a.m.
In Dallas Film Commission Lounge
It seems like many filmmakers these days want to try their hand in television. This panel discussion will talk about how to make that transition both from a technical point of view and an aesthetic point of view. Panelists will include 2 local filmmakers now exploring the world of creating TV in the 21st Century: Ya’Ke Smith, filmmaker of both feature-length and short films, now has a web series and has directed television; and Rijaa Nadeem, filmmaker, now has produced and directed TV for AMS pictures and Kat Candler, a producer and director, known for Hellion (2014) and Black Metal (2013).
World premiere filmmaker in attendance
Director: Richard Bailey
In this unusual ghost story, a working-class family of artists reckon with the gentrification of their neighborhood. They are people of an older Oak Cliff who cannot afford the new. When the connection between history, possibility, and place is severed, the situation is like living in a ghost world. In this poetic film, the topical coexists with the metaphysical; just as the family is haunted by the higher cost of living, they are visited by troublesome ghosts.
ART OF DIRECTING: JOHN HUSTON
Director: Allan Holzman
Filmmaker in attendance
Allan Holzman, who has brought us the great series of documentaries about directing film, is bringing the world premiere of ART OF DIRECTING: JOHN HUSTON to DVF30.
An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The 10-time Oscar-nominated legend answers questions like, “What is cinema?” as he reveals his thought processes in making great movies out of great novels, which happen to include: MOBY DICK, THE MALTESE FALCON, THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, Tennessee Williams’ NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. Emmy and Peabody award-winning director/editor Allan Holzman interweaves Huston’s bold and daring movie gems of Mr. Huston’s masterful work with the master’s wisdom, completing his trilogy on the Art of Directing.
The previous films, restored from AFI’s Harold Lloyd Master Seminars from the late 1960s and ‘70s, covering Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, François Truffaut and Frank Capra had their premieres at the Dallas VideoFest in 2015 and 2016.
Directors: Oliver Butler and Will Eno
Rainn Wilson brings Will Eno’s one-man show “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” to the Geffen Playhouse 10 years after it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Thom Pain is just like you, except worse. One night, he finds himself on a stage, in the dark, in a theatre. In the audience are people who, just like him, were born and will die. Thom is going to try to make sense of it all. He’s going to try to save his life, to save their life, to save your life – in that order. A camera crew captures the night, as various forces align to produce a reckless and accidentally profound event.
WAKING DAVID (England)
Director: Kevin Nash
Filmmaker in Attendance
During a lecture tour of England, Scarlett, an American psychologist decides to look up Amy, her half-sister and find out about her father who died 10 years earlier. She is surprised to encounter a family that won’t communicate with her or each other about the past. Just when Amy starts to open up about their father, the family creates a wall of secrecy and lies surrounding his death. Scarlett delves further into the truth, but when the truth is finally revealed, it shatters the stability of the family, causing all of the family and Scarlett to reassess their relationship to one another. The film explores the dangers both of keeping secrets and digging them up.
TEXAS SHOW-shorts block
Director: Paul Armstrong – Dallas
A grieving woman is given a chance for closure with her dead mother.
Director: Peter Koutsogeorgas – Dallas
The key to a woman’s apartment is taken by something unseen.
Director: Joshua Gallas – Arlington
Attempting to bury his past, an Ottoman soldier flees his home country during The Great War and struggles to find his place in America.
Director: Daniel Garcia – Arlington
Samantha pretends to be tough and streetwise but in fact she has never had power over anybody. Without planning to, she terrifies a young undocumented man about her age, and in his eyes she sees and understands fear. After chasing him for a while she might discover a friend.
Director: David Maddox – Dallas
A well-meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America.
Far From the Tree
Director: Dave Thomas – Dallas
Abbie is a good mom, strong and a survivor…but Abbie is struggling. She struggles in her daily routine and in her relationship with her teenage son, Evan. The effect of a sexual assault years earlier weighs heavy on her. As these deep embedded feelings work their way out like a splinter, Abbie and her son reach a pivotal moment in both of their lives
Casa de mi Madre
Director: Frank Mosley-Austin
A fire rages in the woods near a village. This fire triggers a memory in a lonely, middle-aged woman. And this memory pushes her to utter aloud the words she’s always wanted to say.
Produced in Cuba with the support of Black Factory Cinema and Escuela Internacionales de Cine y Tv in San Antonio de los Banos (EICTV), and made under the guidance of master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The result of Mosley’s selection as a participant in the 2016 Workshop for Auteurs, the film examines grief, transference, and the consequences of role-playing.
Director: Brady Tulk – Dallas
Sock Puppet Parody
Thread Sullivan introduces “The Feetles” for their first TV appearance.
The Earth is Not a Spaceship
Director: Krista Steinke – Houston
The Earth is Not a Spaceship is an experimental film that remixes vintage educational source footage collected by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. A woman’s voice narrates the film, functioning as a mother nature type character. The narration becomes haunting and robotic when coupled with glitchy film footage that has been re-recorded off of various digital screens. The reworking of the footage presents a new interpretation at the intersection of abstraction, the digital sublime, and an inconceivable dystopian existence. Various collisions emerge between the digital and physical world, raising questions about technology’s ability to function as a surrogate for experiencing nature and the role that technology plays in our lives.