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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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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg