DIFF 2013: Films and folks to watch for at The Dallas International Film Festival

DIFF 2013: Films and folks to watch for at The Dallas International Film Festival


Every year we attend one of the best film festivals out there, right in our home town. The Dallas International Film Festival has great people behind it, and prestigious sponsors making it possible, but what makes it a favorite among fans and filmmakers is the family-like atmosphere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big name star or a first time local producing a short – everyone walks the red carpets, and everyone gets treated very, very well. That goes for press too. All of these qualities make it a personal privilege for us to attend. The 2013 edition has some great things going on as well. We’ll tell you what films to be on the lookout for opening weekend, and who you may see walking around that should have attendees excited.

While it’s not our intention to make any one film sound better or more noteworthy than others, there’s a few we’re particularly excited about.

Friday night features JAVA HEAT starring Kellan Lutz (who is also attending the festival) and Mickey Rourke. Lutz plays an American witness to a terrorist bombing, who must join forces with an Indonesian policeman named Hashim. The cultural aspect of the setting makes this buddy cop film fun to watch, and the classic sensibilities give it an almost retro action movie feel. The Friday night show starts at 10:30pm at Angelika 6. Another great addition to the fest this year comes in the form of MUD, written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaghey. While the Southern character piece features one of McConaghey’s best performances to date, there’s no denying the impressive acting chops of the two young boys driving the story, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland. Adding to the excitement of this showing, Nichols, Sheridan and Lofland will all be in attendance for a post-show Q&A. MUD is playing at 7:15pm at Angelika 5. And finally for all you looking for something a little wild and crazy, check out the world of BOUNTY KILLER. Set in a dystopian future where corporations put out hits on executives and directors, star-crossed lovers and rival bounty hunters Mary Death and Drifter are going after the corporate world’s most-wanted. Postapocalyptic car chases and a healthy dose of blood, bullets and over-the-top violence make this one perfect for a midnight showing at DIFF, which is co-presented by Texas Frightmare Weekend, with a Q&A hosted by yours truly (my first of two nights in a row). BOUNTY KILLER starts at 11:59pm at Magnolia 4. There’s plenty of other choices on Friday, so for a full listing go to http://dallasfilm.org

Saturday gets going with STACKER, a great family-friendly film about the competitive world of cup stacking. Watch young athletes train and compete in the annual World Sport Stacking Championships in (of course) Dallas, Texas, with more than 300 competitors across the globe. STACKER plays at 11:45am at Angelika7. KON-TIKI is set in 1947, where ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl embarked on a dangerous voyage across the Pacific on a small balsa wood raft. The result is a breath-taking masterpiece highlighted by stunning cinematography. You can see it at 9:30pm at Magnolia 4 (it’s also playing on opening night, Thursday, but we’ve heard there’s no passes left for that show). BUCK WILD ends up being the perfect Midnight movie, being set in Texas, involving a hunting trip gone horribly wrong – complete with bad cops, British gangbangers, and zombies! It starts at 11:59pm at Angelika 6.

Sunday features BLACANIEVES – a 1920s Spanish bullfighting setting works as a reimagining of the classic Snow White tale, with striking black and white photography and a captivating flamenco-infused score. 2:30pm at Magnolia 4. WINGS OF LIFE presents the unsung heroes of the global food chain: the flowers. Time-lapse photography studies the fragile ecosystem, essential for sustaining our planet. Look for it at 7:30pm at Magnolia 4.

Other films to watch for:


CHAMPION – a teenager and cattle dog bond through their mutual sense of displacement in this heartwarming family story. Sunday, April 6, 5:15pm at Angelika 4 – Saturday, April 13, 2:30pm at Angelika 4.

CHASING SHAKESPEARE – Danny Glover plays a man reliving his past and remembering the unusually special love of his life, who bonded with him by way of the great William Shakespeare. Thursday, April 11, 7:00pm at Angelika 6 – Friday, April 12, 7:15pm at Angelika 4.


DIVING NORMAL – two good friends find their respective worlds turned upside down when a beautiful young woman enters their lives. Both fall in love, but her addict past soon comes back to haunt her, and by default both of the new men in her life. Tuesday, April 9, 10:00pm at Angelika 6 – Wednesday, April 10, 10:00pm at Angelika 6.

LORD MONTAGU – the fascinating story of Lord Edward Montagu, who turned a British scandal around in a big way by making his stately manor a top tourist attraction. Saturday, April 6, 5:15pm at Magnolia 1 – Sunday, April 7, 8:00pm at Magnolia 5.

PIT STOP (Teaser Trailer) from Yen Tan on Vimeo.

PIT STOP – filmed and set in Texas, this film paints a portrait of multiple lovers recovering from loss. This subtle and moving film captures the enduring hope of people temporarily stalled on the highway of life. Saturday, April 6, 7:30pm at Magnolia 1 – Monday, April 8, 10:15pm at Magnolia 5.

RUSHLIGHTS – delinquent young lovers Billy and Sarah wind up in a nightmare of greed and betrayal in Tremo, Texas. When confronted by a sharp sheriff and conniving lawyer, the would-be Bonnie and Clyde find they have nowhere to run. Monday, April 8, 7:00pm at Angelika 6 – Tuesday, April 9, 4:00pm at Angelika 6.

And on Saturday, April 13, here’s a can’t miss feature…

THE EXORCIST (followed by a Conversation with William Friedkin) – the horror classic is shown once again on the big screening, and attendees will get a rare opportunity to hear director William Friedkin talk about his experiences working on it. In one of the most iconic horror movies ever made, a visiting actress Christine “Chris” McNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter experience strange and life-threatening phenomena in their Washington, D.C. home. Following unexplained bumps in the night, 12-year-old Regan (Linda Blair) begins to exhibit unusual then downright paranormal behavior, including violent outbursts, facial lesions and the ability to talk in tongues. Saturday, April 13, 3:30pm at Angelika 6.

There’s over 175 films (including short films) playing from April 4 through the 14. For a full listing go to http://dallasfilm.org

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started Bigfanboy.com, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and Bigfanboy.com regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.