Last Chance Harvey, closing night film of the second annual Lone Star International Film Festival
Fort Worth film lovers have their choice of festivals and other venues for art house fare — as long as they’re willing to cross the Trinity. But a glimmer of homegrown hope emerged last year with the inaugural Lone Star International Film Festival.
“That 30 miles might as well be an ocean,” new festival director Dennis Bishop says of the trip to Dallas. “Fort Worth is a very dynamic city. But one of the things it’s missing is an independent film theater.”
There’s still no Angelika or Magnolia. But when the Lone Star festival opens its second annual celebration Wednesday, Cowtown will be transformed into a bastion of eye-opening documentaries, features and shorts. For five days, independent movies, red carpets, filmmaker tributes, industry panels, awards ceremonies and parties will be on tap.
Perhaps the most singular aspect of Lone Star No. 2 is an emphasis on new Russian cinema, thanks to visiting artistic director Kirill Razlogov of the American Film Festival in Moscow. He is bringing three films with him, plus the festival has programmed two on its own, including 12, an adaptation of Sidney Lumet’s jury drama 12 Angry Men, also screening as part of a tribute to the director. All are U.S. premieres. Some of the actors and directors will be on hand.
“We were mesmerized watching these films,” Bishop says. “They’re not what you expect.”
The festival opens with Christine Jeffs’ Sunshine Cleaning, about two sisters (Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) who start a business cleaning up crime scenes. The closing night film is Joel Hopkins’ Last Chance Harvey, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as a struggling writer and a browbeaten government worker who meet by chance in a London airport bar.
Most of the screenings are in and around Sundance Square at the AMC Palace, Four Day Weekend Theater and Norris Conference Center. A few films show at the Modern Art Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum, with panels at UTA Fort Worth and the Amon Carter Museum.
Bishop brings a wealth of film industry and film festival experience with him. The Dallas native, now based in Santa Monica, Calif., is a Hollywood producer with credits ranging from Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful to The Fast and the Furious to the pilot of the current Showtime series Dexter. He’s the former vice president of HBO Pictures. And he attended the University of North Texas and UT-Arlington. Much of his family still lives here.
Earlier this year, he organized more than a dozen panels for the second AFI-Dallas International Film Festival, and he’s done the same elsewhere. “I’ve worked very hard to bring films to Texas,” he says. “To the community that helped build my career, I owe something good.”
Look for film recommendations and information on individual aspects of the festival in the coming days at the Art&Seek blog.