MCN Blogs
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.

Leave a Reply

Quote Unquotesee all »

Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas