Dallas VideoFest Reboots For Its 27th Year This October

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Celebrating its 27th year, the Dallas VideoFest (DVF) and the Video Association of Dallas (VAD)--an organization committed to the exhibition of independent, alternative, and non-commercial media--are ready to try something new.

Since 1986, when they presented the inaugural program, Video As A Creative Medium, at the Dallas Museum of Art, Bart Weiss and his dedicated team of organizers, volunteers, and artists have worked hard to make a place for the difficult to define field of media art that goes by many inadequate names: "video art," "experimental film and video," or "new media." That first event, which was co-curated by John Held, included two nights of video by selected local and national video artists and was a great success, but over the years, "video art" has fallen in favor at the festival to more conventional forms of video-making.

As the Dallas VideoFest has become the oldest and largest video festival in the United States and continues to garner critical and popular acclaim, it remains committed to bringing films to the theatre that are rarely available to be seen anywhere else. Films like experimental/art films, animation, narrative and documentary shorts, as well as documentary and narrative features, and some hard-to-find classic TV episodes and classic films are often in the mix. This year, DVF and VAD have a plan to reframe and allow audiences to rediscover all that the festival has to offer.

First task in their new mission is expanding the festival across the Metroplex. The VideoFest officially opens at the Dallas City Performance Hall on Wednesday, October 8 by debuting Alfred Hitchcock's first silent movie thriller, The Lodger. Following opening night, DVF27 will take over two screens at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson from October 9-12, will screen a special Native American film at the University of Texas at Arlington on October 13, will host a community screening October 14-15 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, and will conclude at the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station October 16-19.

The second task in their new mission is to provide a platform specifically devoted to those hard to define pieces of video art. In January 2015, the VAD will work with the McKinney Avenue Contemporary to present The Dallas Medianale, a group of exhibitions focused on presenting the various forms of moving image practice in a more ideal environment than the traditional "film festival" model can provide. There will be a month-long exhibition of video installations in the two large gallery spaces of the MAC curated by writer and curator Dee Mitchell. "Transcode Microcinema," programmed by artist and curator Michael A. Morris, will be a series of seated screenings held in the MAC's black box theater and will be partially programmed from an open call. 

"Transcode" will exhibit works in the following formats: Digital Video (file based, SD/HD), 16mm, and Super 8. If you work within these mediums, you can submit your work now, and until October 6. There is a minimal fee, as with most video festivals, but it's worth it. First, you'll be part of a nearly 30-year tradition; second, you'll be screening your work at a prestigious video festival; and third, you'll be screening your work at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, which is celebrating it's 20th year of exhibiting and presenting some of the best in contemporary art work.

There's also talk of moving image performances during the exhibition.

"We're trying to put together an exhibition that will create an ideal space for this work that can get lost in the larger festival or which benefits from a gallery context. There will be seated screenings as in a festival setting [with "Transcode"], as well as installed works [curated by Mitchell]," says Morris. "It's important to exhibit each of these forms of work in a way that's appropriate; to allow videos that require focused attention to be seen in their entirety as works of cinema, and to allow works that are intended to engage space and that have a different relationship to time to be viewed as installations."

See below for a brief schedule of what's to come with the Dallas VideoFest 27. A full schedule will be available soon at the DVF27's website, but tickets and passes can be purchased now.

October 8: Hitchcock's The Lodger Opening night with the Dallas Chamber Symphony Dallas City Performance Hall

October 9-12: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Richardson

October 13: Native American community screening with Native American Student Association University of Texas at Arlington Fine Art Building

October 14-15: African American community screening South Dallas Cultural Center

October 16-19: Angelika Film Center

All exhibitions held as part of Dallas Medianale will be held at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas January 9-11, 2015.

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