AFI DALLAS 2009 INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
FOUNDING SPONSOR VICTORY PARK, PRESENTING SPONSOR NORTHPARK CENTER ANNOUNCES
THE BROTHERS BLOOM AS OPENING NIGHT GALA
FESTIVAL ALSO ANNOUNCES
AFI DALLAS STAR AWARD RECIPIENTS
AND FESTIVAL LINEUP
DALLAS, TX, March 4, 2009 – AFI DALLAS International Film Festival Founding Sponsor Victory Park, Presenting Sponsor NorthPark Center announces Rian Johnson’s THE BROTHERS BLOOM, as the festival’s Opening Night Gala presentation.
The eight-day festival (March 26 – April 2), will feature 173 feature films and shorts with 150 screenings. Once again, the Target Narrative and Target Documentary Feature Competition winners will each receive a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize.
This year, the AFI DALLAS Star Award, which is presented annually by the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival to a select group of film artists in recognition of their unique contributions to cinema, will be given to Kathryn Bigelow, Adrien Brody, Rita Hayworth (posthumously) and Robert Towne.
Brody will receive the AFI DALLAS Star Award prior to the Opening Night Gala screening of THE BROTHERS BLOOM, Bigelow will be presented her AFI DALLAS Star Award prior to a Centerpiece Screening of her film THE HURT LOCKER, Rita Hayworth’s AFI DALLAS Star Award will be presented to her daughter, Princess Yasmine Aga Khan on behalf of her late mother’s remarkable body of work, prior to a screening of GILDA, and Towne will be on hand at a special presentation of the 35th anniversary of his classic, CHINATOWN.
Director Henry Selick will be the recipient of the Texas Avery Animation Award presented by Reel FX Entertainment, which honors lifetime achievement in animation filmmaking. The award will be presented to Selick prior to a special celebration of his career in animation.
THE BROTHERS BLOOM will screen as the AFI DALLAS Opening Night Gala presentation on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at AMC NorthPark 15 in Dallas. Directed by Rian Johnson the film tells the tale of two brothers who are the best con men in the world, swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. However, the younger brother’s desire to retire inspires the decision to take on one last job – showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world. The film stars Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, and Rinko Kikuchi. The evening’s festivities will also include the first presentations of the Festival’s AFI DALLAS Star Awards (the award is designed from Steuben Crystal, courtesy of Neiman Marcus) to Brody. Also attending will be Johnson and Kikuchi.
In addition to the Centerpiece Screening of THE HURT LOCKER, AFI DALLAS will present the Centerpiece Screening of THE BURNING PLAIN. Featuring highly anticipated films and attended by top filmmakers and stars, these screenings are held in the festival’s largest houses and will be the highlight of that evening’s red carpet event.
Saturday, March 28
Centerpiece Screening at Landmark’s Magnolia Theater
THE HURT LOCKER will screen on Saturday, March 28 at the Magnolia Theater. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Evangeline Lilly, David Morse, Guy Pearce and Jeremy Renner, director Kathryn Bigelow shows an elite Army bomb squad forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of the Iraq war. The unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb. Bigelow will receive the AFI DALLAS Star Award prior to the screening. Also attending will be Renner.
Monday, March 30
Centerpiece Screening at AMC NorthPark 15
THE BURNING PLAIN will screen on Monday, March 30 at AMC NorthPark 15. Directed by Guillermo Arriaga and starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. the drama employs multiple storylines featuring a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman’s difficult childhood. The film also stars Jennifer Lawrence, José Maria Yazpik, J.D. Pardo and Joaquim de Almeida. Attending the screening will be Arriaga and de Almeida.
Last year, AFI DALLAS established itself in only its second year as a major and significant film festival on the international and national front by seeking out and bringing the best films on the film festival circuit to Dallas audiences, while continuing to provide a spotlight for local film artists as well. Commenting on the 2009 lineup, Director of Programming James Faust said, “This year’s films really strike a true balance between the films that spoke to us from the most prominent film festivals this year as well the exceptional work we always seek to highlight from our Texas-based and Dallas-area filmmakers.”
Victory Park will again serve as the epicenter for the festival, with screenings and red carpet entrances at NorthPark Center and Landmark’s Magnolia Theater, award presentations, filmmaker panels at the Nasher Sculpture Center and the AFI DALLAS Festival Lounge, parties, and other special events celebrating film at The Crow Collection of Asian Art and area high schools and universities, culminating in an awards ceremony held at NorthPark Center on Thursday, April 2. Victory Plaza will also host film screenings on its high definition superscreens, as well as a myriad of events as part of the film festival’s Family Celebration taking place there and at NorthPark Center over the weekend of March 28 and 29.
In addition to the Target Filmmaker Awards, filmmakers will vie for $20,000 in cash, goods and services from MPS Studios for the winner of the Texas Competition and a $10,000 prize from Current Energy for the winner of the Environmental Visions Competition. Additional awards will be presented to the jury winners of the Animation, Student Film and Shorts categories, as well as audience awards for Narrative Feature, Documentary and Shorts.
AFI DALLAS Artistic Director Michael Cain said. “In our third year, we are seeing the personality and reputation of this film festival firmly establish itself both within the city of Dallas, but also as a striking representative of the city itself, nationally and internationally. Each year the flavor and character of our programming and events has further distinguished itself as we work to set ourselves apart and reach to achieve the goals we have set for AFI DALLAS for three years now.”
AFI DALLAS Board of Directors Chairwoman, Stephanie Hunt also announced that the 2009 festival would be dedicated to Ruth O’Donnell Mutch for her invaluable support and contributions to AFI DALLAS since its inception.
“We are delighted and honored to dedicate the 2009 festival to Ruth O’Donnell Mutch,” said Hunt. “She exemplifies the steadfast support that has made this film festival the amazing achievement that it has been and will continue to be this year.”
AFI DALLAS’s founder and former Chairman, Liener Temerlin praised the Festival’s founding and presenting sponsors saying, “This year’s edition of AFI DALLAS owes a great debt of gratitude to both Victory Park and NorthPark Center. At a time when many sponsors are having difficulty maintaining their support of events like ours, they have been energetic in their efforts to help us make this year’s film festival more than exceptional.”
David J. Haemisegger, president, NorthPark Management Company said, “We look forward with great anticipation to welcoming everyone to NorthPark Center for this unforgettable film event which has garnered world-wide attention through the creativity and dedication of AFI DALLAS. As the presenting sponsor and primary location for this year’s festival, we are excited to roll out the red carpet in NorthCourt for the many Hollywood filmmakers, directors and stars who will be in attendance.”
Nine feature films will be making their world premieres at AFI DALLAS 2009. Those films include BOLLYWOOD BEATS; DESDEMONA: A LOVE STORY; HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM; LOCK AND ROLL FOREVER; ONE NATION; THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE; PEARL; ROCK PROPHECIES and WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Eight feature films will be making their U.S. premieres. That group includes AMERICANA; AMERICAN TRAP; FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING; FOOD, INC; GIGANTIC; MORENITA; THE SEVEN OF DARAN and YOROI: THE SAMURAI ZOMBIE.
The AFI DALLAS film categories are as follows:
TARGET Narrative Feature Competition;
TARGET Documentary Feature Competition;
Documentary Showcase features the most cutting-edge, informative documentary work, not up for competition;
Deep Ellum Sounds, which honors the rich music culture of Dallas’ historic Deep Ellum neighborhood by showcasing music documentaries;
Special Presentations features films that fall outside of the festival’s programming categories yet deserve screenings on their own special merit;
Dallas Premiere Series features the best new films on the horizon that are making their debut on Dallas screens, including top studio films and top industry talent;
Texas Competition sponsored by MPS Studios, which encourages and promotes Texas filmmaking by showing both short and feature films produced and shot in Texas;
Environmental Visions Competition sponsored by Current Energy highlight films and filmmakers that best communicate the importance of environmental conservation through the art of film;
World Cinema features diverse cinematic voices from around the world—including Australia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia—giving local audiences the unique opportunity to engage with these innovative films and filmmakers;
Family Friendly features dynamic and adventurous films that are uniquely suited for the family viewing experience;
Animation Competition features films that explore the many potential avenues and media utilized in film animation today;
Community Showcase highlights films that feature the achievements of local individuals and groups;
Midnight Specials features on-the-edge films that relish both the genre and outré filmmaking worlds;
Shorts Competition presents the most innovative films from around the world that push the edge of traditional storytelling in 30 minutes or less.
Student Competition showcases the best from up-and-coming filmmakers across the world, including both short and feature length films created by high school and college students; and
Local Student Shorts features the best work from students of local universities and high schools.
The AFI DALLAS full festival lineup will showcase 77 features and 96 shorts (including the Education/Student shorts) for a total of 173 films from 22 countries.
AFI DALLAS films (by category) are as follows:
TARGET NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
AGAINST THE CURRENT – DIR: Peter Callahan (USA)
Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Trachtenburg
BIG FAN – DIR: Robert D. Siegel (USA)
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport, Marcia Jean Kurtz
CHILDREN OF INVENTION – DIR: Tze Chun (USA)
Cast: Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu
GIGANTIC – DIR: Matt Aselton (USA)
Cast: Paul Dano, Zooey Dechanel, John Goodman, Ed Asner, Jane Alexander
THE MISSING PERSON – DIR: Noah Buschel (USA)
Cast: Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood
MORENITA – DIR: Alan Jonsson Gavica (Mexico)
SKIN – DIR: Anthony Fabian (UK/South Africa)
Cast: Sam Neill, Sophie Okonedo, Alice Krige
TARGET DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
AMERICANA – DIR: Topaz Adizes USA)
THE EYES OF ME – DIR: Keith Maitland (USA)
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM – DIR: Nicole Torre (USA)
PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI – DIR: Paul Saltzman (Canada)
Featuring: Morgan Freeman
ROUGH AUNTIES – DIR: Kim Longinotto (UK)
WHATEVER IT TAKES – DIR: Christopher Wong (USA)
ART & COPY – DIR: Doug Pray (USA)
DUNGEON MASTERS – DIR: Keven McAlester (USA)
FOOD INC. – DIR: Robert Kenner (USA)
THE GARDEN – DIR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy (USA)
TYSON – DIR: James Toback (USA)
Featuring: Mike Tyson
DEEP ELLUM SOUNDS
RIP: A REMIX MANIFESTO – DIR: Brett Gaylor (Canada)
Featuring: Girl Talk
ROCK PROPHECIES – DIR: John Chester (USA)
Featuring: Jeff Beck, Slash, Santana, Steve Vai, ZZ Top, Def Leppard, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Sick Puppies, Panic at the Disco
SAY MY NAME – DIR: Nirit Peled (USA)
Featuring: MC Lyte, Eryka Badu, Estelle, Big Manda, Chocolate Thai, Monie Love, Dr. Roxanne Shante, Mystic, Princess and DIamond, Remy Ma
SOUL POWER – DIR: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte (USA)
Featuring: Muhammad Ali, James Brown, B.B. King, Don King, Celia Cruz
CHINATOWN (1974) – DIR: Roman Polanski
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) – DIR: Billy Wilder
Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1955) – DIR: Howard Hawks
Cast: Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Coburn
GILDA (1946) – DIR: Charles Vidor
Cast: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971) – DIR: Peter Bogdanovich
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Randy Quaid, Timothy Bottoms, Ben Johnson
ROCK SLYDE – DIR: Chris Dowling
Cast: Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, Rena Sofer, Elaine Hendrix
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD – DIR: Jordan Galland
Cast: Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki, John Ventimiglia, Ralph Macchio, Jeremy Sisto
DALLAS PREMIERE SERIES
THE 2 BOBS – DIR: Tim McCanlies (USA)
Cast: Jay Chandrasekhar, Leonardo Nam, Mika Boorem, Devin Ratray
ADAM RESURRECTED – DIR: Paul Schrader (USA)
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe
ALIEN TRESPASS – DIR: RW Goodwin (USA)
Cast: Eric McCormack, Robert Patrick, Jenni Baird
THE BROTHERS BLOOM – DIR: Rian Johnson (USA)
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rinko Kikuchi
THE BURNING PLAIN – DIR: Guillermo Arriaga (USA)
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, Joaquim de Almeida, Jennifer Lawerence
HUNGER – DIR: Steve McQueen (UK)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham
THE HURT LOCKER – DIR: Kathryn Bigelow (USA)
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, Evangeline Lilly
LIGHTBULB – DIR: Jeffrey Balsmeyer (USA)
Cast: Dallas Roberts, Jeremy Renner, Ayelet Zurer
LIKE DANDELION DUST – DIR: Jon Gunn (USA)
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Barry Peppers, Cole Hauser
LYMELIFE – DIR: Derick Martini (USA)
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Kierin Culkin, Rory Culkin, Cynthia Nixon, Timothy Hutton
MOON – DIR: Duncan Jones (UK)
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Benedict Wong, Matt Berry
PETER AND VANDY – DIR: Jay DiPietro (USA)
Cast: Jason Ritter, Jess Weixler
SUGAR – DIR: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (USA)
Cast: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino
VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR – DIR: Matt Tynauer (USA)
Featuring: Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER – DIR: Marc Webb
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zoey Deschanel
TEXAS COMPETITION sponsored by MPS Studios
BOLLYWOOD BEATS – DIR: Mehul Shah (USA)
Cast: Sachin Bhatt, Lillete Dubey
DESDEMONA: A LOVE STORY – DIR: Phillip Guzman (USA)
Cast: Jorge Jimenez, Denton Blane Everett, Cindy Vela
ONE NATION – DIR: Justin Wilson (USA)
THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE – DIR: Justin D. Hilliard (USA)
Cast: Arianne Martin, John Elliot, Frank Mosley, Drew Waters
ST. NICK – DIR: David Lowery (USA)
TATTOOED UNDER FIRE – DIR: Nancy Schiesari (USA)
ZOMBIE GIRL – DIR: Aaron Marshall, Justin Johnson, & Erik Mauk (USA)
Featuring: Emily Haggins
ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS COMPETITION sponsored by Current Energy
AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD – DIR: Dan Stone (USA)
CRUDE – DIR: Joe Berlinger (USA)
SUNDANCE CHANNEL – ECO TRIP: COTTON SHIRT (SHORT)/ADDICTED TO PLASTIC (FEATURE) (USA)
UPSTREAM BATTLE – DIR: Ben Kempas (Germany)
THE AMERICAN TRAP (Piège américain, Le) – DIR: Charles Binamé (Canada)
Cast: Gérard Darmon, Colm Feore, Joe Cobden, Janet Lane
EMPTY NEST (NIDO VACÍO, EL– DIR: Daniel Burman (Argentina, Spain, France, & Italy)
Cast: Carlos Bermejo, Eugenia Capizzano, Inés Efron
EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE – DIR Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno (Japan)
HEAVEN ON EARTH – DIR: Deepa Mehta (Canada)
Cast: Preity Zinita, Balinder Johal
HELLCATS (Ddeugeoun-geosi joh-a) – DIR: Chil-in Kwon (South Korea)
Cast: Mi-suk Lee, Min-hie Kim
KASSIM THE DREAM – DIR: Kief Davidson (USA/Uganda)
Featuring: Kassim Ouma
LULU AND JIMI – DIR: Oskar Roehler (Germany)
Cast: Jennifer Decker, Ray Fearon
PARIS 36 (FAUBOURG 36) – DIR: Chirstophe Barratier (France)
Cast: Gérard Jugnot, Clovis Cornillac
RUDO Y CURSI – DIR: Carlos Cuaron (Mexico)
Cast: Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Guillermo Fracella
LOCK & ROLL FOREVER – DIR: Chris Grismer (USA/JAPAN)
Cast: Lucas Grabeel, Ike Barinholtz, Taylor Negron, Brad Dourif
PEARL – DIR: King Hollis (USA)
SEVEN OF DARAN – DIR: Lourens Blok (The Netherlands)
THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE – DIR: Stephen Hillenburg (USA)
ANIMATION COMPETITION presented by REEL FX Entertainment
CHICKEN COWBOY – DIR: Stephen Neary (USA)
FROM BURGER IT CAME – DIR: Dominic Bisignano (USA)
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU – DIR: Don Hertzfeldt (USA)
LIES – DIR: Jonas Odell (Sweden)
MUTT – DIR: Glen Hunwick (Australia)
TOKEN HUNCHBACK – DIR: Tim Reckart (USA)
UNBELIEVABLE4 – DIR: Sukwon Shin (USA)
HAZE – DIR: Pete Schuermann (USA)
THE LEAST AMONG YOU – DIR: Mark Young (USA)
WARRIOR QUEEN – DIR: Hezekiah Lewis (USA)
GRACE – DIR: Paul Solet (USA)
Cast: Jordan Ladd
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD – DIR: Mark Hartley (Australia)
YOROI: THE SAMURAI ZOMBIE – DIR: Tak Sakaguchi (Japan)
Cast: Tak Sakaguchi
COMMUNION – DIR: Markus Kirschner (USA)
Cast: Louisa Krause
THE EARLY NINETIES – DIR: Andrew Mailliard (USA)
HUG – DIR: Khary Jones (USA)
LOVE, SADIE – DIR: Naiti Gámez (USA)
LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE – DIR: Julie Sagalowsky (USA)
SLEET/SNOW – DIR: Daniel Laabs (USA)
TAG – DIR: Alex O’Flinn (USA)
LOCAL STUDENT SHORTS
NORTH TEXAS COLLEGE SHOWCASE
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON BLOCK
LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS’ BLOCK
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA – DIR: Justin Nowell (USA)
CHINA’S WILD WEST – DIR: Urszula Pontikos (UK)
DANSE MACABRE – DIR: Pedro Pires (Canada)
DANZAK – DIR: Gabriela Yepes (Peru/USA)
ELLA AND THE ASTRONAUT – DIR: Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck & Robert Machoian (USA)
GRANDE DIP – DIR: Angelo Restaino (USA)
HEADSHOT – DIR: Miles Fisher (USA)
THE HORRIBLE SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON – DIR: Richard Gale (USA)
HUNGER – DIR: Chad Jackson (USA)
I LIVE IN THE WOODS! – DIR: Max Winston (USA)
THE ISLAND – DIR: Trevor Anderson (Canada)
KATE WAKES – DIR: Jasmine Kosovic (USA)
Cast: Adam Goldberg & Antoinette Valente
LAST MEAL – DIR: Mark Stern (USA)
MAKE MY DAY – DIR: Pelle Møller (Denmark)
THE MANAGEMENT OF GRIEF – DIR: Sai Selvarajan (USA)
MEGATRON – DIR: Marian Crisan (Romania)
NEXT FLOOR – DIR: Denis Villeneuve (Canada)
OIL CHANGE – DIR: Todd Luoto (USA)
ONE CUP OF COFFEE – DIR: Sarah Adina Smith (USA)
Featuring: Rohan Marley
POETRY OF EXACTITUDE – DIR: Alan Govenar (France/USA)
PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD – DIR: Kazik Radwanski (USA)
PUSH BUTTON HOUSE – DIR: Robert Profusek & Ryan Silbert (USA)
RIP AND THE PREACHER – DIR: Michael Lennox (UK/Ireland)
SHORT TERM 12 – DIR: Destin Daniel Cretton (USA)
Cast: Brad Henke, Tania Verafield, Phoenix Henke, & Adam Shapiro
SISTER WIFE – DIR: Jill Orshel (USA)
SMALL COLLECTION – DIR: Jeremiah Crowell (USA)
SMOKEY – DIR: Scott Thurman (USA)
SNAKE MOUNTAIN COLADA – DIR: Calvin Reeder (USA)
SUSANNAH – DIR: Evan Nicholas (USA)
TEAM TALIBAN – DIR: Benjamin Kegan (USA)
TRECE AÑOS – DIR: Topaz Adizes (USA/Cuba)
TIPPING POINT – DIR: Javier Solis (USA)
TREEVENGE – DIR: Jason Eisener (Canada)
UNDONE – DIR: Brian Lee Hughes (USA)
AFI DALLAS 2009 will run March 26 – April 2, 2009. Passes are currently on sale; tickets go on sale March 4. Passes and tickets will be made available via online (AFIDALLAS.com), phone (214.720.0663) and in person at the Box Office located at the AFI DALLAS locations at NorthPark Center and Victory Park.
About AFI DALLAS International Film Festival
The AFI DALLAS International Film Festival celebrates films and their impact on society, honors filmmakers and recognizes their achievements and contributions in enhancing the creative community, provides educational programs to students to develop better understanding of the role of film in today’s world, and promotes the City of Dallas and its commitment to the art of filmmaking. AFI DALLAS is a presentation of the nonprofit Dallas Film Society.
About NorthPark Center
As one of the premier shopping centers in the United States, NorthPark Center (www.northparkcenter.com) proudly offers shoppers the best of the best in every category represented, including the finest in luxury retail and exclusives in the Southwest. Offering an unparalleled selection of international designers set amid timeless modern architecture and a world-class art collection, NorthPark Center has established a new standard in the United States for innovative retail destinations.
NorthPark Center is owned, managed, operated and leased by husband and wife David J. Haemisegger and Nancy A. Nasher. After a $250 million expansion in 2006, NorthPark Center became the largest shopping center in North Texas and one of the top shopping destinations in the United States. NorthPark Center will continue to open more luxury boutiques, exclusive stores and dining options throughout 2009 and beyond, culminating in more than 235 stores and restaurants.
NorthPark Center is located at the intersection of North Central Expressway and Northwest Highway in the heart of Dallas. Stores are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Department store, theatre, restaurant and spa hours vary.
About Victory Park
Victory Park is Dallas’ most dynamic urban neighborhood—and one of the most significant and innovative urban developments in the United States. The neighborhood is a carefully crafted collection of upscale retail shops, distinctive dining, modern office space, dramatic residential units, the W Dallas Victory hotel and signature entertainment venues, including the American Airlines Center and House of Blues. Victory Park is a development of Hillwood, a Perot Company. For more information on Victory Park, visit http://www.victorypark.com.
In addition to NorthPark Center and Victory Park, AFI DALLAS 2009 major sponsors include American Airlines, Bank of America, Barefoot Wine, Blockbuster, Brierley+Partners, CBS Radio, City of Dallas, Current Energy, The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, DG FastChannel, Dallas Film Commission, DART, DCVB, e-Rewards Market Research, Entertainment Partners, El Creative, Faulkner Design Group, Jones Day, KERA, MPS Studios Dallas, Neiman Marcus, Post Asylum, Premiere Video, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Pure Evil Music & Sound, Reel FX Entertainment, Screen International, Scott Yung LLP, Sony, The State of Texas, Studio Movie Grill, Target, Temerlin Consulting, Texas Film Commission, TM Advertising, 2929 Entertainment, Texas Association of Film Commissions, TXMPA, vitaminwater10, W Dallas Victory, WFAA, Whole Foods and WRR.
PRESS CONTACT FOR AFI DALLAS
Director, Press and Public Relations
AFI DALLAS Presented by NorthPark Center,
Founding Sponsor Victory Park
Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, then later today we’ll be rolling out the full schedule for this year’s AFI DALLAS Film Festival. And if all goes according to a still forming new plan, there could be some cool surprises in that schedule that may be added almost up until the last minute before I hit the send button to rocket that thing off to the first journalist to make it all official and in-the-news.
This is the time where Artistic Director Michael Cain and Director of Programming James Faust (or as you probably know him: Faust-About-Town) trade phone calls and e-mails with various studio, production, and distributor heads, agents, managers, and publicists to get a final determination on whether or not we can screen those last few films we want on our schedule.
But more to the point, they – along with the charmingly British Artistic Coordinator Emily Hargrove and AFI’s tireless, yet gentle Talent Coordinator Christine Calandra are trying to get an honest bead on what directors and stars will accompany those films to Dallas.
Because it’s a film festival. And, the truth is, that’s why we go to film festivals – to see the films and then see and hear the people who made those films and were part of the creative process – talk about them. We want to see them in person, we want a chance to ask them what their inspiration was, how they pulled off making an accomplished feature film for the price of an economy car, did they luck out when that butterfly flew into the shot or was it planned, and what the hell were they thinking by not having the guy kiss the girl in the third act?
Stuff like that.
Otherwise we could watch these films when they come out in general release or when they hit the Sundance Channel or DVD or on our laptops.
The worst part about this time is when some studio or production company decides it’s not that important to send anyone at all to represent their film at our film festival. This kills me. Kills me. Let me put this simply: Rare, oh so rare is the film so good, so brilliant, a work of unqualified genius, that we are blessed just to bathe in the glow of its glorious cinema.
We have a few films that have major stars in them that can’t find their way clear to make it to Dallas for a couple days to show up for a Q&A or two. Now, for one of those films they are able to pull off a trip to South By Southwest a week or so earlier but Dallas – yeah…well, they’ve got this thing and it’s tough but they’re like busy and stuff and…
For another, no one out of a good half dozen possible cast members we’d be thrilled to have can make it because they have a press day scheduled two days after their film screens at AFI DALLAS. The hilarious thing is that the production company originally said that none of their stars could attend because they were too busy promoting their film. Uhmm…wait…we do this thing called a film festival and one of the super neat things it does is like, totally promote your movie!
In the third case, we’ve got a producer who wants to hold back his biggest star because he’s saving her for a New York premiere.
And you know what? I can respect that. Of course, I get it. The guy has a tiny indie film, and he has a money-in-the-bank star that will help him sell it AND he knows that he has her for a limited number of appearances on behalf of that film so he has to parcel out his cast as best he can. He’s dealing with personal publicists that are telling her to do as little as she has to do because it’s not something they can exploit to great effect and so he needs to pick his spots. And he’s been up front about it from the beginning. Now, we may go after the personal publicist ourselves if he thinks that will buffer him from the responsibility for the “ask”. Or we may just settle for another couple of stars from the film. But at least it is all above board and we feel he’s playing fair and respecting us.
Those first two examples. Not so much.
Let’s take version number one. I understand the desire to go to SXSW. This is only our third year and we don’t have the same cache yet. Not by a long shot. However, there is a PR philosophy behind what we do on behalf of the films that come to AFI DALLAS and AFI FEST (not to mention IFFLA, Lone Star and Feel Good) that is aggressive and personal and inventive. We work hard for each film and filmmaker we have here. And frankly, to not even consider coming to AFI DALLAS is lazy. It’s rote. And it smacks of a dump. The film company gives us a few of their titles, but doesn’t see any need to support those screenings either by sending talent or screeners (for press) or even posters for the films.
Version number two. We caught this film at Sundance, immediately got onboard and invited them to AFI DALLAS. It’s all going to be great and then suddenly there is a New York press day that has been scheduled and that press day takes precedence over the film festival. The problem is, no one informed us as to the date for that press day as we were putting together the schedule. AND – even after we made efforts to move the screening dates after the fact, no one was willing to budge.
What’s interesting about this is that I used to work for the PR firm handling that film and consider them friends. I have even pinch hit for them at screenings and events long after leaving for AFI-land. But the truth of the matter is that kind of thing rarely, rarely, let’s do this one more time for emphasis – rarely…matters. Because that kind of consideration and possibly extending yourself to make something work in a case like this can fly right out the door once the key voice of reason and integrity for your company goes on maternity leave.
And what’s left is arrogance.
So we will work even harder on behalf of the films with filmmakers coming to town, we’ll exhaust every idea to get the word out and make sure that the theaters are filled and that national and international press takes note of those films as well. It doesn’t mean we’ll score features for each and every one of them, but each one of those filmmakers will know they had a lot of people genuinely busting ass for them.
And those others? Well, check out the AFI DALLAS website. We’ve got a lot of movies this year…