Guest blogger James Faust is the Director of Programming for the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival.
As the Director of Programming for the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, my job is to curate an international film program … which means watching lots of movies. I love this. I love movies. This November is going to be great. Like opening presents on Christmas Eve, there are a slew of great films opening and screening at other film festivals around the world.
A notable example is the upcoming AFI FEST in Los Angeles. This year’s fest is filled with the usual award contenders and international festival buzz films. I am most looking forward to seeing Steven Soderbergh’s Che, with Benicio Del Toro in the title role. Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler seems poised to give Mickey Rourke the comeback he needs (not sure we want it, but …).
Locally, I can’t wait for the Dallas Video Festival (November 6-9th). This year’s line-up is filled with some of my favorite films of the year. Body of War is an extremely personal look at one man and his post Iraqi War experience. It has great Texas ties and is produced and co-directed by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue with music by Eddie Vedder. Powerful film. The other film I am looking forward to seeing again is Cannes Festival darling The Pleasure of Being Robbed. An audience-polarizing film that showcases an amazing new voice in American independent cinema. This simple look at a woman’s kleptomania has sparked great conversations outside many a theater across the festival world. I’m feeling giddy with anticipation.
OK, the Dallas Video Festival is also presenting my favorite film event of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love our own festival, but this Guts N’ Glory thing that AC Abbott and Bart Weiss have put together makes me want to pick up a camera and shoot a film. I don’t want to steal Bart’s’ thunder … I’m sure he will talk about this in his blog. Ten teams shooting film… NOT VIDEO…film! The crews will make their short film and not see the final product until the day of the event. At the event, each team will perform music or present the dialogue live in the theater. Sometimes the films don’t go so well, sometimes it’s the most viscerally exciting thing you’ll see in a movie theater. A must see. So, yes, if you like film, Christmas has come early.