Plano Gets Its First Major Film Fest in September With the North Texas Film Festival

Plano will get a dose of culture with a new film festival running in September.EXPAND
Plano will get a dose of culture with a new film festival running in September.
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Plano is the latest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to host a new film festival this September.

The Dallas film nonprofit group that runs the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF) recently announced the creation of the North Texas Film Festival (NTXFF). The new festival runs Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 26-29, and will screen over 20 films at the Cinemark Plano West theater and around the North Texas area in several different genres such as horror, family fare, shorts and more.

Jonathan Brownlee, the president CEO of Dallas Film, says it made sense to bring a curated film festival to Collin County because of its booming economy and the lack of a major film festival within its borders.

"Dallas Film has presented its anchor festival, the Dallas International Film Festival since 2006 at venues chiefly in Uptown or downtown or near North Dallas," Brownlee says. "So the idea of starting a new film festival with its epicenter farther north has been on our minds for about a year or so."

NTXFF hopes to reach a new audience of film lovers who usually have to drive to Dallas to be among the first to see the newest critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated films, he says.

"Our mission for this festival is to reach a new audience of film lovers who might not have been exposed to a film festival before," Brownlee says. "We know there’s a shared energy that happens when people experience films together, and we want to bring that to more and different people.

"Combine that with nightly red carpets, Q&As with filmmakers, celebrity guests, live music and all the other sexy things that make film festivals special, and we think North Texas will embrace that."

The festival has established partnerships with other film festivals such as the South Asian Film Festival and DIFF as well as film publications such as Fangoria magazine that the Dallas film studio Cinestate relaunched as a quarterly last year.

Brownlee says they hope to attract a wide variety of different audiences and celebrate films rather than pit them against each other.

"The North Texas Film Festival will be a curated festival rather than a juried one," he says. "Our programming team is hand-selecting 20 films that will screen over the four-day festival at Cinemark Plano West and other venues to be announced. We think there will be something for everyone."

The festival will also donate all its proceeds to the Veterans Institute for Film and Media, a program run by Dallas Film that helps military veterans with training and job placements in the film and media industry.

"We know that many veterans find it difficult to reintegrate into their civilian communities after their service to the country, and we believe that a career in film and media could be the answer for some," Brownlee says. "If you look at it, there are a lot of similarities in working in a military unit and working in a film crew — teamwork, goal-orientation, structure, sense of mission, to name a few.

"The program we offer through Dallas Film gives veterans a chance to apply their skills and experience by providing them with the education, paid internships, mentoring and hands-on experience."

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