There's no excuse for skipping this year's Thin Line Fest in Denton. The festival, which celebrates film, music and photography, takes place from Wednesday to Sunday during the post-Easter traffic lull. The weather will be crisp and clear after a weekend of wind and rain. Oh, and here's the most important reason: It's free.
That's right. You don't have to buy a super long trenchcoat and get a friend to ride on your shoulders in order to save money on tickets. You can just walk right in like you own the festival.
Now that you know you're going, you might be wondering which movies to see during the five-day festival. Here are our picks:
1. Bill Nye: Science Guy (8 p.m. Friday at Campus Theatre)
Even if you're a climate-science-denying zealot, it's hard not to like Bill Nye the Science Guy. The Boeing engineer turned comedian turned children's show host turned science advocate has a passion for helping others to appreciate science, especially those who deny its existence. So it was only a matter of time before someone gave him his own movie. This documentary chronicles the Science Guy's quest to push for greater STEM education and will feature a live Q&A with the film's director, David Alvarado.
2. Alone Among the Taliban (10 p.m. Thursday at Campus Theatre)
The world seems like a frightening place these days. So why should you watch a movie about one of the world's most feared dictatorships? You just answered your own question. Filmmaker Mohsen Eslamzadeh's documentary attempts to infiltrate the infamous Taliban by going to some of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.
3. Unlocked: The World of Games Revealed: (6 p.m. Friday at Campus Theatre)
Video games have come a long way in just the last 10 years. They are no longer passive forms of entertainment. Now you can actually order your console to do stuff with your voice and wear devices on your head that put you in the game like you're Johnny Mnemonic. Jeremy Snead's documentary about the impact of video gaming on culture features celebrity interviews with people who both shape and play these modern tech marvels, like Alison Haislip, Meghan Camarena, Robin Williams' daughter Zelda Williams and Penn Jillette, whose greatest contribution to gaming is the real-time torture fest Desert Bus.
4. What Happened in Vegas (11 p.m. Saturday at Campus Theatre)
Usually when you hear the advertising slogan "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," you think of people getting married in a drunken stupor or a pair of suburbanites losing their kids' college fund on a single game of blackjack. Filmmaker Ramsey Denison saw something far more sinister. He witnessed a group of police officers beating on a stranger, and when he reported it to a 911 operator, he became the target of their abuse. His investigation into the incident uncovered a chilling pattern of lies, fraud and outright corruption. Denison will also be in the theater for a live, post-screening Q&A.
5. Bonnie and Clyde (7:15 p.m. Thursday at Campus Theatre)
If you live in Dallas and have never seen director Arthur Penn's Oscar-winning Bonnie and Clyde, then you need to move to a new town. It's not only based on Texas' most infamous bank-robbing couple, but it's also a masterpiece of cinema filmed right here in Dallas. The movie also recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and made its official premiere at Denton's Campus Theatre. So you'll get to see it in the very first theater that publicly screened this classic film.
6. 4 Wheel Bob (6:15 p.m. Sunday at Campus Theatre)
America's National Park Service is one of our greatest treasures. It protects miles of unspoiled, natural beauty and it's available to anyone. Wheelchair hiker Bob Coomber has a passion for the outdoors and filmmaker Tal Skloot attempted to capture his most daring adventure on film when he became the first wheelchair hiker to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains. It's worth seeing if you care what happens to America's national parks or just appreciate a good adventure story. Post-screening there will be a live Q&A with Skloot.
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7. True Conviction (8:45 p.m. Saturday at Campus Theatre)
Who doesn't like a good detective story? They're gripping. They're naturally dramatic. They're just fun to watch. This documentary tells just such a story but with some real world stakes and real lives hanging in the balance. Director Jamie Meltzer's documentary focuses on a Dallas detective agency run by three men who spent decades in prison for crimes they never committed and work to prevent other miscarriages of justice.
8. Necessary Roughness (8:15 p.m. Friday at Travelstead Outdoor Theater)
It may not be an independent film or something that your art house theater attending friends would ever admit to seeing. However, you'll get a rare chance to watch a movie in one of the places where it was filmed. This '90s football comedy starring Scott Bakula and Sinbad as a pair of over-the-hill athletes who try to turn around a beleaguered Texas college football franchise was filmed on the University of North Texas' campus. Sure, it's not like watching Return of the Jedi on one of the moons of Endor, but how often do you get such an opportunity? So even if you don't like the movie, you can say you're one-degree from Sinbad just by attending the screening.
Thin Line Fest, Wednesday, April 19, to Sunday, April 23, downtown Denton, free, visit thinline.us for screening locations and more info.