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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change

I wrote a little while back about the Sarasota Film Festival and their kick-ass education and outreach program, which I’m looking forward to seeing up close when I’m at that fest next month.

I’m also going back to Dallas IFF this year — I’ve been going to that fest every year since it started, and I’m continually impressed with how this fest has grown and shifted and survived in spite ending their co-branding with AFI and losing some sponsors and gaining others. Somehow, they always pull off a hell of a fest for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

So I just got this press release about a new initiative Dallas IFF is starting this year for the first time ever — programming a section of films and panels on social issues and partnering with health organizations to put on panels on WHY you should make a film about your cause, WHAT kind of film you should make and HOW you can get it made. I won’t go into all the details you can get from the press release, but it’s pretty cool.

Getting information out there and engaging audiences and filmmakers in the whys and wherefores of social-issue filmmaking as a genre is a worthwhile endeavor for a regional fest to be promoting, but they’ve also partnered with The Embrey Family Foundation to award a $10,000 cash prize to an individual or film related to fighting injustice or creating social change.

I wish I had a family wealthy enough to hand out $10,000 cash awards, but since I don’t, I’m at least glad that someone else does … and that they’re using that wealth in the service of BOTH art and social issues. So good for them, and good for Dallas IFF for working to make this happen. This is exactly the kind of role regional film fests need to be playing in the community, and the kind of creative partnerships other regional fests should be looking at for their own fests. Right on.

One Response to “On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change”

  1. Really? says:

    You have to be kidding. This festival is embarrassing to the people of Dallas, who deserve much more. Bring back the American Film Institute and some dignity to this effort.

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“I went through my Twitter feed recently, muting anybody talking about politics. I’ve just had enough. My attitude is to always be encouraging, be as positive and as constructive as possible. People are too quick to form an opinion and to judge. It’s a scramble up the hill to the moral high ground isn’t it?”

“It’s quite weird going from never having been interviewed before to being interviewed 500 times. Suddenly people are writing down what you’re saying, they’re recording it and putting online. We lucked out with Down Terrace because people were really kind about it – it was a first film and low budget, we felt we’d been given the benefit of the doubt. With Kill List, I thought critically we were gonna get really fucked. But it didn’t happen. It’s a very weird film, you know. And it’s a mean film, it’s much meaner than most movies are. I watch a lot of modern horror movies and they’re scary, but they’re not mean like that.”
~ Ben Wheatley

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray