AFI DALLAS 2009 – The long belated wrap up (Part One – The Ladies of AFI DALLAS)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on May 1, 2009

No sooner did I get comfortably back home in L.A. than I was immediately in the thick of things with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and all of the AFI stuff (Life Achievement Award, AFI Conservatory Thesis screenings and the upcoming DWW showcase), oh AND The upcoming edition of The Vision Awards. So my apologies for the lack of “original content” in between the plethora of press releases, but I’m still figuring out how to do all of this stuff at once.

Anyway, I have had some time to think and think and think some more about this year’s AFI DALLAS Film Festival, and I feel there is so much to write about that I have decided to do it in three of four parts.

So in no particular, in fact very random order – here goes:

Part One – The Ladies of AFI DALLAS

One of the overriding themes for me this year was the influx of very cool women that came to Dallas for the festival. Some of these women I have known, known of, and in some cases been a fan of for a little while now. Yet most of these women I met for the very first time at AFI DALLAS and thrilled that I did. They are (in alphabetical order):

Alice Krige – We had Anthony Fabian’s thoughtful drama SKIN at AFI FEST last fall and we were fortunate enough to have it come to AFI DALLAS for an encore of sorts since it became part of AFI’s very cool Project 20/20 program. The program basically travels various filmmakers that have had their films play at the AFI film festivals around the world to literally and truly use film and filmmakers as a way to build a bridge between cultures. It’s a shining example of AFI taking an ambitious lead to do something outside of trotting out classics for another look and promote and utilize film for the next generations. It’s one of those things that make me proud to be here.

Anyway, we got a huge bonus at AFI DALLAS by having Alice Krige come to town to represent the film with the director, Fabian. She provided one of those high expectations payoffs by putting the “red” on my carpet to shame with a crimson gown that just stopped everyone in their tracks. Not only that, she exuded all kinds of ethereal grace and charm. Great moment.

Jordan Ladd – I almost have to include Jordan’s father, David with this shout out because I really spent time with them both while she was in Dallas. Let me begin by saying that if I was a cheerleader for any single film this year, it was for Paul Solet’s creepy instant classic GRACE. And Jordan gives the kind of performance in the film that transcends genre and should place her several rungs up the respect ladder if the right people are paying attention. So, I kinda almost willed both the film and her and Paul to be at AFI DALLAS (thank god that James Faust and Michael Cain will listen to me sometimes with recommendations for this festival). But beyond that, within moments of talking to her and her father, I wanted Jordan to move in to my condo so my wife and I would have the prototypical nicer-than-nice and coolest neighbor that anyone could conceive of. Unassuming is a word. And two words that trump that one are “Jordan Ladd”. And her father, David Ladd was great too. If you didn’t know your film history or (as I was) could be lulled into forgetting it, you would think you were just hanging out and talking to a proud dad just happy to be there and see the attention his daughter was getting for her new movie and not a guy who has forgotten more than a lot of us will ever know about film production and the business. Even if that movie involved her as a mom dealing with a newborn baby with a bloodlust for mommy. If we could have, we would have extended both of their visits for the duration of the festival.

Karina Longworth – I was looking forward to having Karina attend a film festival of mine for some time now. Tough, tough writer and critic and I was anxious to have her around not just to weigh in on the programming (in this case) that AFI DALLAS offers but frankly because I wanted an opportunity to hang out with her and get to know her a little. And the truth is, I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with Karina as I had hoped. But watching her moderate a panel and then give MSN’s James Rocchi all he could handle at a lunch afterwards was more than worth the price of admission. Listening to the give and take between those two was fun. I have to think that if you were a movie blow hard then she would scare the shit out of you. But if you can hold your own, have something to say, and are willing to lay it out there with her then I have to think she gets the automatic invite to any party (movie-related or otherwise) you might want to throw.

Heather Matarazzo – I kid you not, AFI DALLAS scored Heather to be part of our jury this year because we are Facebook buddies. I had admired Heather not just due to her work in film but her outspokenness regarding her choices and career. And from the moment she arrived, I had everyone at AFI DALLAS thanking me for reaching out to her. Never for a moment do I believe I’m the only one that cares as deeply as I do about this stuff, but Heather combines that damn near uncompromising notion of what potential is out there for us too achieve through film, but goes about delivering her opinions – which are strong and direct to be sure – more gently and considerately than I could hope to. You hope for an “ambassador” when you ask someone to serve on a film festival jury – and she was the epitome of that.

Carri McClure – Here’s the thing about personal publicists: They can make the dealings with their clients a joy or a wanna-slit-your-wrists job – bottom line. I came from personal PR, and it kills me when the personal pub is simply a road block. Either out of a lack of imagination, laziness, or just because they happen to be a sour pain-in-the-ass, it is rare, rare, rare to find a personal publicist that both “gets it” and is genuine in their dealings with you. Carri does. In consecutive years, we have had her clients Ron Livingston (twice) and Robert Towne come to Dallas and the experience all three times has been near-flawless because Carri knows what she’s doing. And she also plays fair. And let me be clear – she is tough on the facts and the details on behalf of her clients. She is no push over by any means. BUT she also works toward the greater good of the event and her client to make sure that things will run smoothly and logically – as opposed to just standing in the way of everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. There are actors and actresses that I advise the people in charge of film festivals and events I do to cross off their lists because life is just way too short to deal with the person in charge of their PR.  Carri is at the other end of that spectrum. And that trust and working relationship make me want to give her first “dibs” with her clients whenever I do events.

Monique Parent – Another My Space and Facebook pal. My first year at AFI FEST, Monique allowed me to publish an article she had written about the intricacies and oftentimes awkwardness of shooting explicit love scenes for films. But we had never actually met until this year when we had an idea for a filmmakers’ panel for Women in Film Dallas. I wanted her presence and opinion on that panel and knew she would have the right personality to bring to town. And that thought was right on all counts. Monique is smart, beautiful and a straight talker. You could see a filmmaker wanting to write a part for her just for the excuse to have her on set – let alone raising the game of their film. She has done plenty of service in the land of soft core and really, really deserves someone giving her a Tarantino-type spotlight role in a cool indie thing somewhere.

Robin Wright Penn – Robin’s publicist Mara Buxbaum (who is a friend) more-or-less made it clear to me that the only way Robin would be coming to Dallas was if I could…let’s just say…uhm…take a personal interest in her well-being while she was here. No problem. Now Mara had been to Dallas with the Wilson brothers a year or so ago so she knew what to expect (and more importantly knew it was “safe”), but this was a specialized situation. And frankly, it’s important to have someone like Robin come to the festival – not just for this particular one but for the future well-being celebrity-wise. Because, AFI DALLAS only being in its third year is still in that process of forming a reputation as a destination for people of Robin’s ilk. And you know the “ilk” I’m speaking of, don’t even pretend. Therefore, even though I had Mara’s trust in this case, we still need to impress each and every big league actor and actress and send them away very happy and gushing with praise with how we run this particular film fest machine. Because they’ll tell two actors and then they’ll reassure two actors and they’ll convince two more actors and so on and so on…

Two, Robin was coming to town to support a documentary, HAZE, about teenage binge drinking – which I personally thought was an important one beyond just being a good film. And as the spokeswoman for The Gordie Foundation which was deeply involved, if not the outright inspiration for the film, it was important to Robin for her participation to be done properly. And that’s what impressed me. Because we get “demands” all of the time. And a lot of the time, those demands come from a place of personal comfort or convenience or sheer “testing” to see how much they can get away with (like the old lion film reviewer we flew into town – gruff but not lovable). And Robin’s specifications (I won’t even characterize them as demands because I want to make sure the context is precise here) were all in the service of what she thought was right for the film, for The Gordie Foundation and for her friends Leslie and Michael Lanahan, who began and lead that foundation in honor of Leslie’s son, Gordie. Robin has seen that documentary and the testimonials countless times by this point and I saw it still bring her to tears after all this time and all of those repeated viewings. Seeing that made me want to be just that much more careful to help navigate the tricky press and publicity waters for her and them. She was patient and dutiful on behalf of the film and the foundation and deserving of a lot of respect for making the trip.

Lisa Rosman – When Kim Voynar isn’t writing for Movie City News, I think she serves as Lisa Rosman’s (who works and writes for US Magazine and Flavorpill) publicist. She sold me on the fact that I needed to bring Lisa to Dallas to be a panelist and talk movies because in one bought plane ticket and hotel room we would be instantly upping the ante on the AFI DALLAS coolness quotient. And, as I have come to trust – Kim was right on the money. After moderating one panel with Lisa as a participant and one dinner rife with banter and provocative topics – film and otherwise – I became an instant fan. She has style, she’s got a knowing awareness spiced with just the right amount of acerbic – and all in a classic dame package. I became an instant fan – simple as that.

Tiffany Shepis – Again, thank you facebook. And, to be fair – thank you very much Loyd Cryer at Texas Frightmare Weekend because he teamed up with me to make Tiffany’s appearance possible. Some people were scratching their heads a bit on why I instantly jumped at the idea of bringing Tiffany to Dallas to be a panelist but I knew it would be great. And once again, she exceeded all expectations for the couple of days she was there. There are people who are game for whatever you’re gonna throw at them and then there are people like Tiffany. Instantly, you can see why she is an evergreen draw at the Fangoria-type conventions and why she is one of those actresses in the genre that is seemingly always working. If you are a fan or a filmmaker in horror I have to imagine that a crisis ridden internal debate would be “Watch Tiffany on screen or have Tiffany on my set – what’s more important to me at this very moment?!”

Kim Voynar (and her daughter Neve)
– Even though technically (by my own rules for this blog) I shouldn’t – I have to include Kim in this list. I’ve known her and had her attend my film festivals a few times now, but frankly, she kind of sets the tone (or should if I was choosing the person that got to) for how film festival behavior and “dialogue” between film fans and filmmakers and journalists should go as far as I’m concerned. I just flat out like Kim’s writing and her viewpoint on film and socio-politics. She is possibly the most effective devil’s advocate writer around right now. She’ll offer up a contrarian’s position from a balanced, inquisitive place that few people have either the guts or the talent to delve into. And her daughter, Neve (pronounced with a “long E” not like the Canadian SCREAM queen) is primed to follow right in those impressive footsteps. Smart, sweet and fun, Neve had the poor timing to get sick just after she arrived in Dallas after she had been looking forward all year to coming to the festival following her first visit with Kim a year ago. It sucked for her – obviously – but I was also genuinely disappointed. You see, Neve is not just a great, smart kid, but seriously, she has the beginnings of her mom’s writing talent. I was hoping to have her weigh in on our Family Friendly section as only she could. Instead, my goals for her were lowered to hoping I could help Kim get Neve well and feeling better before she had to go back home.

Last week, I was having a conversation with AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo about the fact that just screening movies does not a film festival make. It just doesn’t. If that’s what you think, then you’re fooling yourself. That’s film without the festival as far as I’m concerned. It’s the filmmakers, the actors, the jurors, and the journalists. It’s the people that are there doing Q&As, participating in panels, talking up movies in the lounges that make a film festival unique and special and a place you want to be or should want to be. And this group of women were a major reason that AFI DALLAS was something special this year as far as I’m concerned.

Advertisements

AFI DALLAS Announces Award Winners

Posted in Uncategorized by Wildworks on April 9, 2009

2009 AFI DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
FOUNDING SPONSOR VICTORY PARK,
PRESENTING SPONSOR NORTHPARK CENTER
ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

“GIGANTIC” RECEIVES THE $25,000 TARGET FILMMAKER AWARD
FOR BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

“PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI” RECEIVES THE $25,000 TARGET FILMMAKER AWARD
FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“ST. NICK” RECEIVES $20,000 IN CASH, GOODS AND SERVICES FOR THE MPS STUDIOS TEXAS FILMMAKER AWARD

“CRUDE” RECEIVES THE $10,000 CURRENT ENERGY FILMMAKER AWARD

“PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD.”, “HUG” AND “CHICKEN COWBOY”
ARE NAMED WINNERS
FOR BEST SHORT FILM, STUDENT SHORT AND ANIMATED SHORT

AND

AUDIENCE AWARDS GO TO “SKIN” FOR NARRATIVE FEATURE, “ROCK PROPHECIES” FOR DOCUMENTARY AND “LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE” FOR SHORT

DALLAS, TX, April 2, 2008 – AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, Founding Sponsor Victory Park, Presenting Sponsor NorthPark Center, announces its 2009 award winners with Matt Aselton’s GIGANTIC as the winner of the unrestricted $25,000 cash prize for the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature with Peter Callahan’s AGAINST THE CURRENT receiving a Special Jury Prize, and Paul Saltzman’s PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI as the winner of the unrestricted $25,000 cash prize for the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Documentary Feature with Gustav Hofer’s and Luca Ragazzi’s SUDDENLY LAST WINTER receiving a Special Jury Prize. The awards were presented by Heather Matarazzo (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, THE PRINCESS DIARIES) and Elvis Mitchell (THE BLACK LIST), each of whom served on the Narrative Features and Documentary Features jury, respectively, for AFI DALLAS this year.

Presented by Current Energy’s Joe Harberg, Joe Berlinger’s CRUDE won the $10,000 cash prize for the Current Energy Filmmaker Award, while MPS Studios’ Mark Stephens presented MPS Studios’ Texas Filmmaker Award and $20,000 in cash, goods and services to David Lowery for his film, ST. NICK.

Kazik Radwanski’s PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD. won the award for Best Short with Honorable Mentions going to both Todd Luoto’s OIL CHANGE and Denis Villeneuve’s NEXT FLOOR. The award for Best Student Short went to Khary Jones’s HUG. Jurors John Magary and Bent Jorgen-Pearlmutt presented the awards. Reel FX Entertainment Vice President of Creative, Brandon Oldenberg presented the award for Best Animated Short to Stephen Neary’s CHICKEN COWBOY.

Anthony Fabian’s SKIN won the Audience Award for Best Narrative, while John Chester’s ROCK PROPHECIES won for Best Documentary and Julie Sagalowsky’s LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE won the Audience Award for Best Short. AFI DALLAS Director of Programming James Faust and Senior Programmer Sarah Harris presented the awards.

The winners of the jury prizes for Best Short, Best Student Short and the Audience Awards each receive production and scheduling software from Entertainment Partners.

Faust said, “This year, we were fortunate to have so many exceptional films that challenged the audience artistically and conceptually. It was a very competitive year in that respect and while we were all the beneficiaries of that, by its nature the jury had the difficulty of having to choose one film to honor over the others.”

Michael Cain, AFI DALLAS Artistic Director, added “In our third year, the city of Dallas and the international film community truly have begun to take note of the distinctive personality of this film festival – both through the evolution of our programming and what is becoming more accepted every year – the peerless presentation and hospitality that have been hallmarks of AFI DALLAS from the very beginning.”

JURY AWARDS:

TARGET NARRATIVE FEATURE: GIGANTIC
DIR:     Matt Aselton (USA)
Cast:     Zooey Deschanel, Paul Dano, John Goodman

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: AGAINST THE CURRENT
DIR:     Peter Callahan (USA)
Cast:    Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser

TARGET DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI
DIR:    Paul Saltzman (USA)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: SUDDENLY LAST WINTER
DIR:    Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi (Italy)

CURRENT ENERGY FILMMAKER AWARD: CRUDE
DIR:    Joe Berlinger (USA)

MPS STUDIOS TEXAS FILMMAKER AWARD: ST. NICK
DIR:    David Lowery (USA)

SHORT: PRINCESS MARGARET BLVD.
DIR:    Kazik Radwanski (Canada)

HONORABLE MENTION: OIL CHANGE
DIR:    Todd Luoto

HONORABLE MENTION: NEXT FLOOR
DIR:    Denis Villeneuve

STUDENT SHORT: HUG
DIR:    Khary Jones (USA)

ANIMATED SHORT: CHICKEN COWBOY
DIR:    Stephen Neary (USA)

AUDIENCE AWARDS:

NARRATIVE: SKIN
DIR:     Anthony Fabian (UK/South Africa)
Cast:     Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill, Alice Krige

DOCUMENTARY: ROCK PROPHECIES
DIR:    John Chester (USA)

SHORT: LUCY: A PERIOD PIECE
DIR:    Julie Sagalowsky (USA)


2009 AFI DALLAS JURY MEMBERS:

NARRATIVE FEATURE JURY includes:

Richie Mehta
Richie Mehta is the director of 2008 AFI DALLAS Audience Award winning movie, AMAL. The film has since received multiple Genie nominations in Canada.  Previous films include SYSTEM OF UNITS and ANAMIKA.

Heather Matarazzo
Heather Matarazzo is an acclaimed actress known for her award winning performance in WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE.   Heather is also know for her role in THE PRINCESS DIARIES series and HOSTEL 2. She has also appeared on hit TV series such as LAW & ORDER, LIFE ON MARS and THE L WORD.


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE JURY includes:

Elvis Mitchell
Elvis Mitchell is a former film critic for The New York Times, and is currently the host of KCRW’s pop culture and film interview program “The Treatment.” Mitchell recently produced THE BLACK LIST with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. The film examines race, culture and the seeds of success through portraits of 20 influential African Americans.

Doug Pray
Doug Pray is documentary filmmaker and the director of ART & COPY, which screened at the 2009 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival in the Documentary Showcase. Past films include BIG RIG, SCRATCH and HYPE!


CURRENT ENERGY EARTH FRIENDLY JURY includes:

Current Energy
Current Energy is a Dallas-based company that provides energy efficient solutions that are environmentally friendly. The company was founded in 2001, anticipating the impact that energy deregulation would have on companies, and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy in the fall of 2007 with an Energy Innovators Award.

MPS STUDIOS TEXAS COMPETITION JURY includes:

David Pomes
David Pomes is the writer/director/producer o COOK COUNTY, which won the2008 AFI DALLAS MPS Studios Texas Filmmaker Award.  David quit his job as a lawyer to film his movie in Texas.

Meredith Stevens/MPS
Meredith Stephens is Vice President of Business Development at MPS Studios and served on the board of the Women in Film- Dallas and the former President of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance.

SHORT COMPETITION JURY includes:

John Magary
John Magary won the 2008 AFI DALLAS Short Jury Award for his film THE SECOND LINE. Past films include OUR NATIONAL PARKS and SITE IN FISHKILL CREEK.

David Zellner
David Zellner is an Austin filmmaker whose movie GOLIATH screened at the 2008 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival. Past films include AFTERMATH ON MEADOWLARK LANE, REDEMPTITUDE and FLOTSAM/JETSAM.

STUDENT COMPETITION JURY includes:

Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt
Bent-Jorgen Perimutt is the 2008 AFI DALLAS Student Short award winner for his movie THE VULNERABLE ONES (Les Vulnerables).

Ben Levin
Andy Anderson is an accomplished artist and filmmaker who served as Chair of the Art and Art History Department at University of Texas at Arlington, where he now continues as a Professor and Writer in Residence, teaching Introduction to Screenwriting, Advanced Screenwriting and the Narrative Film class.

ANIMATION COMPETITION JURY includes:

Henry Selick – Director, Tex Avery Award winner
Henry Selick is the director, production designer and screenplay adapter for CORALINE, the first stop-motion animated feature film ever produced in stereoscopic 3-D.  His feature film directorial projects, including the iconic NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.

Brandon Oldenberg/Reel FX
Brandon Oldenberg is Vice President of Creative at Reel FX Studios.

Reel FX Creative Studios, founded in 1993, is an award-winning creative studio where accomplished artists and preeminent technology converge to produce extraordinary creative solutions. Their services include visual effects, animation, design and creative editorial.

AFI DALLAS kicked off with the Opening Night Gala presentation of Rian Johnson’s THE BROTHERS BLOOM with Johnson, Adrien Brody and Rinko Kikiuchi in attendance on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at the AMC NorthPark in Dallas. The evening’s festivities also included the presentation of the AFI DALLAS Star Awards (designed from Steuben Crystal, courtesy of Neiman Marcus) to Brody.

Other highlights included a Centerpiece Screening of Guillermo Arriga’s THE BURNING PLAIN with Arriaga and Joaquim de Almeida in attendance, a screening of the cinema classic CHINATOWN with Robert Towne including the presentation of the AFI DALLAS Star Award to him prior to a special Q&A with film critic Richard Schickel and a special screening of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW with Peter Bogdanovich in attendance (and set to be honored with the AFI DALLAS Star Award the following day at the AFI DALAS Texas Day celebration). Also honored with the AFI DALLAS Star Award were Kathryn Bigelow, prior to a screening of her film THE HURT LOCKER and Rita Hayworth (presented posthumously), while Henry Selick was given the Texas Avery Award. The festival also featured Talk Show panels at the Nasher Sculpture Center and Speakeasy panels at the AFI DALLAS Festival Lounge.

The festival closed with AFI DALLAS Closing Night Gala presentations of Louis Psihoyos’s THE COVE and James Toback’s TYSON on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at the AMC NorthPark in Dallas attended by the two directors.

Other notable attendees at this year’s AFI DALLAS Film Festival included Alice Krige, Jordan Ladd, Patton Oswalt, Rob Siegel, Devon Aoki, Robin Wright Penn, Justin Kirk, Jeremy Renner, Jason Ritter, Jess Weixler, Patrick Warburton, Elaine Hendrix, Tiffany Shepis, Monique Parent, Carlos Cuaron, Matt Tyrnauer, Lou Gossett Jr., Doug Pray, Tim McCanlies and Janine Turner.

Overall, the 2009 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival showcased 81 features and 96 shorts for a total of 177 films from 22 countries.

AFI DALLAS Announces 15 Official Selections

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on February 3, 2009

2009 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival Presented by NorthPark Center, Founding Sponsor Victory Park Announces Fifteen Titles in Official Selections

FILMS INCLUDE THREE WORLD PREMIERES AND THREE U.S. PREMIERES

Dallas, TX, February 3, 2009—AFI DALLAS 2009 International Film Festival Presented by NorthPark Center, Founding Sponsor Victory Park announces fifteen films that will screen at this year’s festival (March 26 – April 2) including the World Premieres of the documentaries ONE NATION, PLAYGROUND and ROCK PROPHECIES as well as the U.S. Premieres of FOOD, INC., GIGANTIC and THE SEVEN OF DARAN.

The three world premiere documentaries include:

Justin Wilson’s ONE NATION – the film utilizes a pastiche of images and sounds to create an artful profile of the year, 1968. The film examines the struggles of power vs. protest, affluence vs. poverty, and human rights vs. the tyranny of want and ignorance.

Libby Spears’s PLAYGROUND – Executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, the film follows a young woman and other children like her, who are victims of the American child sex trafficking industry. Examining America’s legal and social system, the film delicately and responsibly details our country’s most alarming, insidious secret.

John Chester’s ROCK PROPHECIES – The film is a backstage pass into the eccentric world of rock n’ roll from the vantage point of an obsessed photographer, Robert M. Knight, who at 18 years old captured and befriended Jimi Hendrix and the members of Led Zeppelin, well before they became the iconic stars we know them as today.

Among the U.S. premieres are:

Robert Keener’s FOOD, INC. – The documentary takes a look at food preparation, industrialized and otherwise for the mass population, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA.

Matt Aselton’s GIGANTIC – Starring Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, Jane Alexander, Edward Asner, the offbeat comedy is centered around a mattress salesman who wants to adopt a Chinese baby, and a young woman he meets at his store. Together, they negotiate their increasing intimacy, and the appearances of their many eccentric relatives, as Brian awaits the call from the adoption agency.

Lourens Blok’s THE SEVEN OF DARAN – Children’s tale follows an English boy on an African adventure with the help of a talking giraffe and a precious medallion.

AFI DALLAS also announces three films that recently played at the Sundance Film Festival that will screen for Dallas audiences for the first time at the festival – ART & COPY, CHILDREN OF INVENTION and MOON, as well as ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD, which just debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival.

“These initial 15 selections are indicative of the exciting variety of films we will offer Dallas audiences with this year’s programming. They represent accomplished directors, including Guillermo Arriaga and Doug Pray, compelling subjects, and both provocative and entertaining work,” said Michael Cain, AFI DALLAS Artistic Director.

The fifteen announced selections include:

ART & COPY (USA)
Director: Doug Pray
Documentary explores the creation of the modern advertising industry, the people behind it, and its influence on popular culture.

THE BURNING PLAIN (USA)
Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger
A drama with employs multiple storylines featuring a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman’s difficult childhood.

CHILDREN OF INVENTION (USA)
Director: Tze Chun
Cast: Cindy Chung, Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu
Drama follows a Chinese American family as they struggle to achieve the American Dream in suburban Boston.

FOOD, INC. (Canada)
Director: Robert Kenner
Documentary takes a look at food preparation, industrialized and otherwise for the mass population.

GIGANTIC (USA)
Director: Matt Aselton
Cast: Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, Jane Alexander, Ed Asner
Comedy is centered around a mattress salesman and a young woman he meets at his store.

HUNGER (United Kingdom)
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham, Liam McMahon
Drama takes a harrowing look at the last six weeks in the life of imprisoned Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands.

MOON (United Kingdom)
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Drama follows the lone occupant of a lunar mining base as he prepares to return to earth and his life at home.

ONE NATION (USA)
Director: Justin Wilson
Documentary provides an artful look at 1968 through a pastiche of images from that year.

PLAYGROUND (USA)
Director: Libby Spears
Executive Producers: Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney
Documentary explores the rampant worldwide child sex trafficking industry.

RIP A REMIX MANIFESTO (Canada)
Director: Brett Gaylor
Documentary looks at the changing landscape of music in The Internet Age focusing on the line between musical inspiration and copyright infringement.

ROCK PROPHECIES (USA)
Director: John Chester
The documentary is a backstage pass into the eccentric world of rock n’ roll from the vantage point of an obsessed photographer, Robert M. Knight, who at 18 years old captured and befriended Jimi Hendrix and the members of Led Zeppelin, well before they became the iconic stars we know them as today.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD (USA)
Director: Jordan Galland
Cast: Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki, Ralph Macchio, Jeremy Sisto
Comedy about a theater director who finds himself in the middle of a two thousand year old conspiracy involving Shakespeare, the Holy Grail and vampires.

THE SEVEN OF DARAN (USA)
Director: Lourens Blok
Cast: Jonathan Harmse, Ketrice Maitisa, Caroline Goodall
Children’s tale follows an English boy on an African adventure with the help of a talking giraffe and a precious medallion.

SKIN (UK/South Africa)
Director: Anthony Fabian
Cast: Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill, Alice Krige
Set in 1955 and based on a true story, the film looks at the social and personal impact on two white Afikaner parents and their daughter in rural South Africa, after the girl is born with dark skin.

SUGAR (USA)
Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Cast: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino
Drama about a Dominican baseball star that is signed to a minor league contract.

AFI DALLAS 2009 will run March 26 – April 2, 2009. Passes go on sale February 6, Tickets go on sale March 2. Passes and tickets will be made available via online (www.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.