Posted by Larry Gleeson
North Texas Film Festivals Announce
BEST OF FESTS Presented by EarthX and EarthxFilm
Film Festival Event
(February 27-March 1, 2020)
Return of the one of a kind event celebrating film
with special selections representing 26 film festivals
in Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas
Dallas, TX (February 11, 2020) – Film festivals based in Dallas, Forth Worth, and North Texas have joined forces once again to present the second edition of the Best of Fests Presented by EarthX and EarthxFilm on February 27-March 1, 2020. 26 different film festivals will be celebrated in the one-of-a-kind event, with 18 film festivals presenting 11 feature films and 26 short films that either was popular with their audiences or represent their programming esthetic. The films will be screened at Alamo Drafthouse-Cedars, and the Texas Theatre.
Participating film festivals include; 3 Stars Jewish Cinema, Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD), Czech That Film, Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF), Dallas Jewish Film Festival, Dallas VideoFest (#AltFiction, #DocuFest), Deep Ellum Film Festival, Deep in the Heart Film Festival, Denton Black Film Festival, EarthxFilm, Festival de Cine Latino Americano, Forth Worth Independent Film Showcase, Frame4Frame, Lone Star Film Festival, North Texas Film Festival, Oak Cliff Film Festival, Pegasus Film Festival, Q Cinema, Sons of the Flag Stars and Stripes Film Festival, South Asian Film Festival, Thin Line Film Festival, Topaz Film Festival, and Women Texas Film Festival.
Best of Fests Festival Producer Erin Nicole Parisi said, “It was remarkable that this special film event was accomplished last year and the fact that we have been able to bring everyone together once again speaks to something truly wonderful and unique about the film festival and film loving community in Dallas, Fort Worth and North Texas. These films represent the wide range of styles, interests, storytelling, and entertainment that the amazing array of film festivals throughout this area bring to audiences all year long. Of course I’m maybe a little biased, but I think everyone should mark these days off their calendars and immerse themselves in this sampling of films from these wonderful festivals.”
Best of Fests will open on Friday, February 28, at the Texas Theatre with EarthxFilm’s screening of Louis Schwartzberg’s FANTASTIC FUNGI, which looks at the magical world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth. Along with the stunning photography, experts, scientists and authors lend their views on how the fungi kingdom offer us answers and solutions to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. The film will be preceded by an animated short from the Pegasus Film Festival. Morgan McGrath’s THE WOLF AND THE RABBIT, is a charming film where a young wolf wants to play with a very wary rabbit that was his friend when they were babies
Other highlights will include Amber McGinnis’s award-winning comedy-drama, INTERNATIONAL FALLS. Presented by the Women Texas Film Festival, the film stars comic and actress Rachel Harris as a woman stuck in a small, snowbound border town with dreams of being a stand-up whose life is changed when she meets a washed up, burned out comedian (played by Rob Huebel) with dreams of doing anything else. The film also stars comedian/actor Kevin Nealon. DIFF will present a 10th Anniversary screening of Will Patton’s BROTHERHOOD about a pledge at a college fraternity faced with a moral dilemma, and the Dallas Video Fest will screen Elizabeth Coffman’s documentary, FLANNERY, an exploration of the life and work of author Flannery O’Connor, whose distinctive Southern Gothic style influenced a generation of artists and activists. The Lone Star Film Festival will present Luke Dick’s RED DOG, which looks at the filmmaker’s upbringing among strippers, bouncers, and outcasts that populated one of Oklahoma City’s most notorious strip clubs
Each film will also feature appearances by the filmmakers, including a pre-festival concert on Thursday, February 27 by Luke Dick and the Steve Band at the 3 Links Club in Deep Ellum (2704 Elm Street). The concert kick-off to the Best of Fests will also acknowledge the 20th Anniversary of the local legendary Deep Ellum Film Festival, which was founded by Michael Cain, the Co-Founder and President of EarthxFilm.
EarthxFilm is the 501c3 fiscal sponsor of Best of Fests. Sponsors and partners include EarthX and EarthxFilm, Kinetigraf Entertainment, Prekindle, Selig Polyscope, Alamo Drafthouse, Texas Theatre, Dallas Film Commission/Dallas Creative Industries, Dallas Producers Association, Visit Dallas, Kelly Kitchens PR and Wildworks PR.
Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, go to: www.bestoffests.org.
The 2020 Best of Fests Film Festival official selections:
3 STARS JEWISH CINEMA
Director: Scott Schwartz
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
The play, “Golda’s Balcony”, portrays the amazing rise of Golda Meir from Russian schoolgirl to American school teacher to Prime Minister of Israel. The main focus of the play is on the period surrounding the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria. Tovah Feldshuh gives an award-winning performance as Golda, which she went on to repeat over 500 times, on and off-Broadway. A rare multi-camera shoot from the play’s original run was recently unearthed and assembled into this riveting motion picture.
(Presented with the Dallas Jewish Film Festival)
ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF DALLAS
THE WITCH: PART 1 THE SUBVERSION (2018)
Director: Park Hoon-Jung
Country: South Korea, Running Time: 125 min
10 years ago, Ja-yoon escaped from a government facility in the midst of an inexplicable incident by herself and lost all her memory. An old couple takes her in even though she doesn’t know her name or age. She grows up to be a bright high school student and enters a nationally televised audition program to win the top prize and help her struggling family out. As soon as she appears on TV, strange people start appearing in her life. A man named ‘Nobleman’ constantly roams around her, in addition to ‘Dr. Baek’ and ‘Mr. Choi’ who have been searching for her since her disappearance. Ja-yoon’s life falls into turmoil as they turn her seemingly ordinary life upside down in a blink of an eye…
CZECH THAT FILM
WINTER FLIES (2018)
Director: Olmo Omerzu
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
Two mischievous adolescent boys embark on a journey of imaginative misadventure and coming-of-age self-discovery, in this road trip comedy celebrating the need to indulge the innocence, impulsiveness, and irrepressibility of youth.
DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Will Cannon
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
Adam Buckley finds himself in the middle of a convenience store robbery during his last night as a pledge for a college fraternity. When the initiation ritual goes horribly wrong, and every move proves disastrous, Adam is forced to confront a new challenge all together, and he has to take a stand.
(Presented with the North Texas Film Festival)
DALLAS VIDEO FEST (#DOCUFEST/#ALTFICTION)
Director: Elizabeth Coffman
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
Flannery is the lyrical, intimate exploration of the life and work of author Flannery O’Connor, whose distinctive Southern Gothic style influenced a generation of artists and activists. With her family home at Andalusia (the Georgia farm where she grew up and later wrote her best-known work) as a backdrop, a picture of the woman behind her sharply aware, starkly redemptive style comes into focus. Including conversations with those who knew her and those inspired by her (Alice Walker, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary Karr, Conan O’Brien and more), Flannery employs never-before-seen archival footage, newly discovered personal letters and her own published words (read by Mary Steenburgen) alongside original animations and music to elevate the life and legacy of an American literary icon.
(Presented with the Women Texas Film Festival)
DEEP ELLUM FILM FESTIVAL
STANDING STILL (2001)
Director: Melina McKinnon
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
Maria (Alaina Kalanj) a talented emerging artist is forced to relive the high school shooting she witnessed and photographed ten years earlier by an invitation to her 10-year reunion. Those photographs propelled her into national prominence and set up her future. Ryan, her agent (Elizabeth Rothan), and her partner Blake (David Andriole) debate whether it is best to put the past behind you or deal with it head-on. The high school shooter is played by Ash Christian.
DEEP IN THE HEART FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Sonny Steckel
Country: USA, Running Time: 19:08 min
Four retired rockers have formed a new band and booked their first show. But when a bandmate’s daughter threatens to put one of them in a nursing home, the band must go to new extremes to stay together and keep the dream alive.
MARGARET AND THE MOON
Director: Trevor Morgan
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
An unpopular little girl falls in love with her imagination and learns the true value of friendship.
Director: Grant Moore
Country: USA, Running Time: 21:28 min
After accidentally freezing the family dog to death, Oscar attempts to make good with his soon-to-be stepson by driving the family pet’s ashes across the country.
Director: Mario Morin
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:14 min
A fortuitous life-changing encounter between a young ill boy and a Muslim woman in a Montreal park.
TOWARDS THE SUN
Director: Monica Santis
Country: USA, Running Time: 19:30 min
A 12-year-old girl confronts her scarring past when she is placed at an immigrant children’s shelter for unaccompanied minors in Texas.
DENTON BLACK FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Cedrick May
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:34 min
Two brothers find themselves haunted in a series of nested dreams within dreams by “The Man,” a relentless, malevolent figure who haunts them throughout the night.
Director: Kelly Gray
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:45 min
Aretha’s book store is becoming a victim of a hate crime but she finds a way through a secret coded slave language called tut to seek out revenge.
Director: Starling Thomas
Country: USA, Running Time: 20:22 min
A tech-billionaire must save his wife by finding her a new liver, no matter what the cost.
I AM TX
Director: Ryan Darbonne
Country: USA, Running Time: 9:50 min
On their last day of tour, a black punk band find themselves in awkward, surreal and life-threatening situations with an ignorant cast of characters.
SEEKING WOMAN $$$
Country: USA, Running Time: 11:18 min
Strangers meet regarding an ad online, getting more than either bargained for.
Director: Michael L. Jackson
Country: USA, Running Time: 16:49 min
Two brothers have lead two very different lives and now Solomon has to choose between his future and his brothers. Is blood really “thicker than water”, or will Solomon turn his back on the brother that has supported him his whole life?
UNREQUITED DREAMS: AN AMERICAN TRUTH
Director: Eboni Johnson
Country: USA, Running Time: 26:04 min
In 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act to dismantle discriminatory housing practices. Over 50 years later the housing gap has only widened between white homeowners and homeowners of color creating increasingly segregated neighborhoods across the national landscape. Focusing on the ever-gentrifying area of West Dallas we evaluate the meaning of the American Dream and the communities left with promises unfulfilled.
Director: Louie Schwartzberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 74 min
FANTASTIC FUNGI, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.
FESTIVAL DE CINE LATINO AMERICANO
Director: Rodrigo Moreno
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:34 min
A girl endures an abusive life at the hands of a man she was traded to and forced to care for. A spaghetti western with a Mexican twist.
FORT WORTH INDEPENDENT FILM SHOWCASE & FRAME4FRAME FILM FESTIVAL
BREAKING BROKENESS (2018)
Director: Cedric Thomas Smith
Country: USA, Running Time: 21 min
After her release from prison, Frankie tries to repair her relationship with her unforgiving daughter, LaToya.
Director: Cedric Thomas Smith
Country: USA, Running Time: 24 min
A terminal illness brings a couple back together and rekindles a love that had lost its way.
LONE STAR FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Luke Dick
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
In the early 1980s, the only family that toddler Luke knew, were the strippers, bouncers, and outcasts that called Oklahoma City’s rowdiest strip club home.
OAK CLIFF FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Carla Mirabella-Davis
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.
PEGASUS FILM FESTIVAL
A CRIME STORY
Directors: John Bayonne, Alexis Flores
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:26 min
Jacob Schmidt and David Garcia are at the close of another case when new information will lead the young Detectives wondering who they can trust.
Director: Sophie Gilmour
Country: USA, Running Time: 6:38 min
A disaffected girl deals with a leering boss at the pet store she works at.
LUKE CHACKO: THE LITTLE KID WITH A BIG VOICE
Director: Victoria Chikaoneka
Country: USA, Running Time: 6:59
12-year-old singer-songwriter Luke Chacko became a viral internet sensation following his impromptu performance of the hit song “Let it Go” at an Idina Menzel concert on July 30th, 2017. Following this, The Ellen Show invited him to be a guest.
MEET METAL: BANGOVER
Director: Morgan McGrath
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
This film explores one of the most well-known aspects of the metal scene: headbanging. Artists from different areas of the international metal scene speak out about why they headbang, how they headbang, and how they take care of their necks after a crazy show to avoid that dreaded bangover.
ROUND AND ROUND
Directors: Adriann Wrice, Soliel Singh, Alex Travell, Aaliyah White
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:57 min
A film made to highlight bullying in modern times and how one act of kindness can change everything.
THE WOLF AND THE RABBIT
Director: Morgan McGrath
Country: US, Running Time: 1:46 min
Now grown up, a wolf wants to play with a rabbit that was his friend when they were babies.
SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL
IN SEARCH OF SILENCE
Director: Dar Gai
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
An elderly chauffeur, who is tired of the noises in the obstreperous Mumbai City life, has completely stopped speaking and decides to leave everything in search of “Silent Valley” which is said to have a naturally occurring phenomenon of almost a zero decibel sound level.
THIN LINE FILM FESTIVAL
BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM
Director: Chelsea Hernandez
Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min
In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. Building the American Dream follows three immigrant families who are rising up to seek justice and equality in an industry rife with exploitation.
TOPAZ FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Marziyeh Riahi
Country: Iran, Running Time: 12:48 min
According to the laws of Iran, Bahareh must have her traditional, chauvinistic husband accompany her to driving lessons so she and her instructor will not be alone
Director: Marcela Cantú Serrano
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:57 min
Lucy dreams of attending the Sadie Hawkins dance with Tomás, a classmate who keeps to himself in her Spanish class. However, when she thinks she is clear to finally take the leap, things take an unexpected and mortifying turn.
Director: Aycil Yeltan
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:59 min
Hearing impaired and homeless, Gala escapes from an abusive man – she thinks. However, after he locates her again, she finds the strength to stand up to him one more time and begin a “survival walk” that may change her life.
WOMEN TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL
Director: Amber McGinnis
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
A woman stuck in a small, snowbound border town has dreams of doing comedy when she meets a washed up, burned out comedian with dreams of doing anything else.
(Presented with Dallas Video Fest)
(Source: Press release from Wildworks PR, John Wildman)