The Dallas International Film Festival kicks off its 11-day run tonight. More than 150 feature films and shorts are on the schedule, including a number of foreign films. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports on the festival’s international offerings:
KERA radio story:
Nearly 25 percent of the films that will play this year’s Dallas International Film Festival come from foreign countries. Every continent but Antarctica will show at least one film.
James Faust is the festival’s artistic director. He says that giving North Texas a look at what’s going on around the world is part of the festival’s mission.
FAUST: “People here in Dallas might not ever get a chance to see these films. Not all of these are going to get distribution. Here’s a chance to show somebody that there’s other films out there than what you see at your regular multiplex.”
The festival is heavily weighted with films from Europe and Canada. Faust says he tried to book more films from Asia and Africa but ran into a variety of roadblocks. He says the festival is still building relationships with the film networks in those parts of the world. The fest has had more luck closer to home. A block of films celebrating Mexico’s bicentennial is scheduled for Tuesday.
Faust has been with the festival – formerly known as the AFI Dallas International Film Festival — since its inception. This is his first year as artistic director. The Grand Prairie native says the first foreign film he ever saw was Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. He remembers the experience vividly, and he hopes that others will have the same type of ah-ha moment when they check out the festival’s international fare.
“I was just so blown away by a different way of doing things. I had never heard of the French New Wave. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is great – and it’s in French, and I don’t care!’ I just think it’s important to support a world view. Especially if we’re a global city, we’re an international city.”