CATEGORIES Documentary, Drama, Independent, Music & Musicals, Thrillers, Noir, Cinematical Indie, AFI Dallas, CinematicalThe inaugural AFI Dallas International Film Festival got the city excited about movies last year. True, the purist in me felt it wasn't the most adventurous of programs, and I wish there was a wider range of docs and foreign-language titles, but the festival did stretch the boundaries of what normally plays in the multiplexes. Celebrities like David Lynch (Inland Empire), Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), and Morgan Freeman (10 Items or Less) grabbed the attention of the local media, and it felt like "the thing to do" for people seeking a night out. I've lived here for years, but I was frankly surprised at how many folks turned out for little-known, unheralded pictures -- staying respectfully right to the end -- as well as the star-driven buzz titles.
The challenge now is to build on that success. Dallas Observer film critic and blogger Robert Wilonsky at Unfair Park posted the news that the festival has announced the first 15 selections for its second edition, which will be held from March 27-April 6. Two of the films are playing at Sundance: Nacho Vigalando's Timecrimes, a time travel suspense drama I loved when it premiered at Fantastic Fest (Jette liked it too, Kim wrote about the wild Sundance party, and Scott interviewed the irrepressible Nacho), and Alex Gibney's doc Gonzo: The Life & Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Other docs include the US premieres of Scott Hicks' Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts and Michael Albright's Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake as well as Robyn Bliley's Circus Rosaire, Helen Hood Scheer's Jump! and Robert Patton-Spruill's Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome. Narrative feature highlights include Helen Hunt's Then She Found Me, Stuart Gordon's Stuck (based on a true story that took place in nearby Fort Worth), and the world premiere of Jeffrey Goodman's "noirish thriller" The Last Lullaby. As we did last year, we'll be covering the festival at Cinematical, so stay turned for regular updates.