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Texas' Best Filmmakers Screen New Work Tonight at TexFest

Go local. We hear it, we do it (sometimes) and we chastise others when they don't. Local food. Local beer. Local music. Well, now's your chance to check out D-FW's local film talent. On Thursday, the USA Film Festival once again partners with the Texas Association of Film and Tape Professionals to present TexFest, a community showcase featuring works from Texas filmmakers. From a compact, four-minute dose of relationship reality to a full-length, crazy-ass horror film, here's what you can expect from this year's TexFest.

Some Kick-Ass Ladies Who Are Kind of a Big Deal Three female powerhouses from the Texas performing arts community will be recognized for their significant bodies of work. Originally from Beaumont, Irma P. Hall was a Dallas teacher for more than 30 years before she realized she was meant for the silver screen. Her lengthy resume includes a few movies you may have seen: Collateral, Lady Killers and Patch Adams. If you're not a film buff, you've seen her in Law & Order: SVU. Don't lie. We know you watch it.

Jane-of-all-trades. Renaissance woman. Whichever cliche term is your poison, Gail Cronauer is it because she does it all. Actress, director and teacher, Cronauer is one of the most respected actresses in the area. Currently on faculty at Collin College in Plano, she has taught previously at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country. She has received several awards and accolades for her work with almost every local theater in D-FW. In film, she's rubbed elbows with the best-of-the-best while slapping Dennis Hopper (Carried Away) and being murdered by Daniel Craig (Infamous) and Tim Roth (Murder in the Heartland).

She has soft, gray hair and the sweetest face. She looks like everyone's grandma. I wish the 73-year-old anime voiceover actress was my kick-ass grandma (move over, Betty White). Juli Erickson has lent her voice to numerous anime English voiceovers including the uber-popular, Fullmetal Alchemist. You'll recognize more than this Dallas actress' voice, however. Her acting and comedy chops are apparent from her film reel, including Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Bernie.

Meet Two Men Who Will Make You Scream and Your Heart StopJohn Keeyes


Matthew Tompkins

, two local filmmakers whose terrifying collaborations have spanned more than 20 years will also be honored. They will present their latest feature film,

Nightmare Box

. Brace yourself for this artistic yet psychotic horror film. Check out the trailer above. If that freaked you out, don't worry. Keeyes and Tompkins will warm you up with their campy, steampunk take on the classic horror film with their short,

Mechanical Grave


Check Out Irma P. Hall's Acting Chops

Local director

M. Legend Brown

snagged the aforementioned powerhouse, Irma P. Hall as a supporting actress in his latest film,

Hiding in Plain Sight

, which will be screened at TexFest.


takes us on a realistic journey into the hardships that two men face when money runs out, unemployment is denied and your family needs to be supported.

Get To Know the Local Up-and-Comers in the Texas Shorts Showcase

Plano native

Dewey Taylor

's latest project is a series of five short films titled

Lenses of Love

, made in collaboration with Candy Pig Films and producer Sara Roberts. The second film of the series,


, will be screened: a vignetted montage with a home movie feel that compacts the reality of a relationship into four minutes.

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Local actress and director, Dixie Lee Sedgwick stars in and directs Sparrow, a reality ridden drama that takes place in a Dallas recovery center and evaluates self-worth, reunions and reconciliation. The seasoned actress invigorates the film with her soulful eyes and raw, authentic performance.

Blue directed by Justin Malone, portrays the relationship between man and his best friend. The heartbreakingly happy film has a great soundtrack and high production value. Shot in and around Deep Ellum you can look forward to familiar settings, including Brad Oldham's Traveling Man and his little bird friends.

Additional featured shorts by Texas filmmakers include First Love Always Leaves its Mark directed by Patti Willingham and Jasper directed by Drew Rist.

TexFest takes place on Thursday at the Angelika Film Center (5321 E. Mockingbird Lane). It kicks off at 7 p.m., and tickets will be available for $10 at the door starting at 6:30 p.m. Bring your cash because that's all they'll take.

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