Bart Weiss is a man of many camera angles. He's the artistic steering power behind the Dallas Video Festival (which enters its 25th installment this September), serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and sits on the Board of Directors of the University Film and Video Association, and still finds time to educate students at University of Texas, Arlington in the craft of documentary film construction. But when I called him, he was playing the (electronic) drums.
Weiss has been teaching a summer session at UT Arlington and tonight his students reveal their projects. Admittedly, I'm too lazy to run if mugged, so I couldn't understand how -- in five weeks' time -- these go-getters could find an interesting topic, learn their stories and then edit the content into a cohesive structure -- much less create a great short documentary and display it to the world. But holy shit, they did exactly that.
I'll let Weiss tell you about it:
One guy was starting to make a movie about people who play Dungeons and Dragons, and when he went to their websites to learn more about them he discovered that one was a transgendered porn star living in Dallas. The story took a shift and became 'Who is this person and what is their life about?' Another did one about this woman who was abused by her father at a young age. This isn't a typical story of abuse -- she's much more upbeat and positive -- but she struggles as an adult about what kind of relationship she wants to have with her father. She wants something, but what? Another group found a former golden glove boxer in Fort Worth. He was a big deal for a while, but it ended when he got hit above his eye. He went to become a fireman but is now known to his family and friends as The Guy Who Makes Really Great Pies.
Weiss, you had me at transgendered porn star who plays Dungeons and Dragons. And those are just three of the six documentary shorts that his students will present for free this evening. (Do support the theater and buy a cocktail, not that you need encouraging.) Another professor, Ya'ke Smith, is showing four of his students' dramatic films as well. You, fellow lazy person, can sit in a chair -- out of breath because of that long walk from the car -- and ride their wave of energy. It all happens at 7 p.m. at the Studio Movie Grill in Arlington.