About six months ago, says Eric Steele, one of the partners in the Texas Theatre on Jefferson, he and his comrades decided that in a city full of film festivals, it was time for one more. But this one, they vowed, would be different. This one would have "a fringe flavor," its roster full of titles you'd never find at the Dallas International Film Festival or the USA Film Festival -- gory stuff, sexy stuff, weird stuff. Something, like, say, The Woman from Australia. And plenty of stuff homegrown.
Which is why this morning the boys at Aviation Cinemas announced the Oak Cliff Film Festival, which will take place at the Texas Theatre, the Kessler and the former Bluebird Theater, among other venues, from June 14-17 of next year. They will begin accepting admissions next week -- just go here. But Steele, Adam Donaghey Jason Reimer and Barak Epstein will not be programming it alone: They're bringing in Blake Ethridge, former programmer for the much-vaunted Fantastic Fest down in Austin.
"For us, the general mission statement is: We want to find brave and independent filmmaking of all stripes," Steele says. "We are planning on having a local, Oak Cliff, Dallas section where we can highlight some up-and-coming filmmakers -- like students from Oak Cliff making films. But we want it to be big too. Blake has been at Rotterdam, Berlin, and we want to acquire and program big films that won't be seen at your typical film fest."
They chose the June date for several reasons: It won't conflict with other local fests, it will encourage walking and pedicabbing it between venues, and it'll allow for some poolside screenings at the Belmont, which will serve as the host hotel.
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Steele says there will also be an honorary award given to at least one big-name attendee who's close to confirming; more on that later, and there's plenty of time. Says Steele: "We just think there's a group of people who like those fringe things on the cutting edge. We view this as a separate niche. It's like the Texas Theatre -- complimentary of the Angelika and Magnolia, where we show things they wouldn't want to. Same thing with this fest."