Indie Roundup is your guide to what's new and upcoming in the world of independent film. Pictured above:Luke and Brie Are on a First Date, Dallas International Film Festival.
On Demand. Oh, boy, two attractive people walk around trying to break through their romantic awkwardness! Who wants to see that? Well, Chad Hartigan's Luke and Brie Are on a First Date "takes us through universal, well-worn feelings," says Karina Longworth at Spout, "and makes them feel new." Give the feature a look at Babelgum for free this month.
Deals. Do you secretly wish you could watch "a small group of elderly, deformed sociopaths as they wander the back streets of Nashville, getting drunk, breaking televisions, and, yes, humping trash cans"? Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers has made its mark on the festival circuit and will now be trashing cinemas in a theatrical run starting next month, reports Peter Knegt at indieWIRE. Record label Drag City will book the tour across America. Our own Eric D. Snider was not favorable: "Intentionally pointless, a tedious slog that appears to have been made for the express purpose of annoying the audience." Enjoy!
Also upcoming: "all star" economics documentary Freakonomics, as reported by Cinematical's Christopher Campbell, and Lucy Walker's doc Waste Land, in which an artist photographs Brazilians living and making art in a 'trash city.' Am I sensing a theme for this week? To stretch that idea to its limit, the political trash gets taken out in AJ Schnack's Convention, filmed as the city of Denver prepared for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Sundance Selects will make it available next month via on demand and then open it in New York and Los Angeles in June. Our friends at indieWIRE have the details.
Fest Scene. The Dallas International Film Festival has reinvented itself by continuing to do what it's been doing for four years. The fest gained immediate name recognition as AFI Dallas through a partnership with American Film Institute that came to an end within the last few months. Leadership positions also changed, as co-founder Michael Cain moved into an advisory role and director of programming James Faust (pictured at right, as photographed rather poorly by yours truly) stepped up as the new Artistic Director.
At a press preview party last night (pictured below), I asked Faust whether all the changes made for an entirely new festival, but he insisted that it is, in fact, simply a continuation, with the same effort being applied toward making the event inclusive for the city and its (sometimes beleaguered) arts scene). "The only difference," he said, "is that now we can operate on our own, without having to run everything through AFI. Not that that was a bad thing -- they were great -- but now we can really put the emphasis on the Dallas Film Society."
The Dallas Film Society was formed to present the festival, but can now operate freely as a membership society, sponsoring screenings throughout the year. Because I worked at the festival during its first year, I cannot claim to be impartial, but I think it's safe to say that it has become an important and vital event in a city filled with rabid moviegoers.
The festival gets underway tonight, taking over all eight screens at the Angelika Film Center (the same complex that I recently wrote about in the article "Warning: This Movie is Subtitled"). Among the films to be presented on opening night: Nosotros Los Pobres, a 1984 Mexican classic; Anthony Burns' Skateland, a coming of age drama; Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about the photographer; and a selection of short films.
Amber Heard will receive a new Dallas Shining Star Award, to be presented before a screening of her film, The Joneses. Other honorees include Pete Docter (Up) and -- just announced last night -- Frank Darabont. (Or, as he's known in my house, Frank Freakin' Darabont!) More than 150 feature films and shorts will screen during the festival, which runs through April 18. More information is available at the official site.