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Best Staycation Dallas 2009 - Dallas International Film Festival, née AFI Dallas

Don't book a hotel or buy airfare. Why waste money? Come spring, Dallas becomes another place entirely. For more than a week, you can escape, in your own city, into chilly theaters with tickets and badges as your boarding passes to a fantasy land, a nightmare, a place for romance, a realistic place in someone else's life—you call the shots. Thanks to Leiner Temerlin (founder, chairman emeritus) and Michael Cain (CEO, artistic director), for three years we Dallas film fanatics got to know the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and the joy of navigating a massive film schedule (attempting from one to seven screenings in a day), meeting high-profile celebrities (and likewise geeking out on character actors) and asking filmmakers direct questions about their creative process. It's been exhausting and exhilarating. Henceforth, Dallas will celebrate film with the Dallas International Film Festival as AFI Dallas is no longer, but this is exciting. As Cain told the Dallas Observer after the news broke in June, "This allows us to reinvest in Dallas...Each year we brought fewer and fewer people from out of state to work the festival, and we programmed 95 percent of the festival on our own. AFI gave us an amazing base of knowledge to lift ourselves up, [but] we're confident we can continue on our own."

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