Arts & Culture News

Fort Worth or Dallas: Which City Has the Best Film Festival?

Which film festival wins between Fort Worth and Dallas' programming? It doesn't matter, we all win.
Which film festival wins between Fort Worth and Dallas' programming? It doesn't matter, we all win. Felix Mooneram
It's “good movie” season again! If you’re tired of bloated blockbusters, junky comedies and never-ending horror franchises, this fall hopes to deliver the elevated fare that will contend for the Academy Awards next year. Last year’s cycle was unsurprisingly weird thanks to theater shutdowns and virtual screenings, but this year local film buffs should be able to flock to North Texas' arthouse theaters.

The Dallas International Film Festival has a stacked lineup of awesome movies, but Fort Worth isn’t about to lose its cinephile cred. The Lone Star Film Festival just announced its full 2021 lineup, and between exciting documentaries, shorts, panels and arthouse films, it’ll be a close call for which city’s festival packs in more cool stuff.

No matter who wins, North Texas moviegoers stand to benefit. The Lone Star Film Festival runs from Nov. 11-14, and will be held at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and downtown Cowtown at the Isis. It's one month after DIFF, so the question is really up to us: Dallas or Fort Worth?

Here’s just a taste of the cool stuff that the Lone Star Film Festival has in store this year.


Showcase Feature Carry-Overs
If you miss the chance to catch up with big-time awards contenders at DIFF, many of those same films will be screening again at LSFF. Among the carryovers are the acclaimed one-act play adaptation The Humans, gripping horse-riding drama Jockey and the timely documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.

Texas Premieres
LSFF managed to grab these before anyone else. Among the most anticipated titles at LSFF are the gambling drama The Atlantic City Story, the quirky “middle-aged man coming to grips with his life” dramedy Out and About, the Midwest bonding piece Glob Lessons and acclaimed director Dean Peterson’s next feature, Kendra and Beth.

Buzzy International Titles
Fort Worth expands the slate of movies that require you to read subtitles; hopefully, this won’t spark any iditotic reactions like Blaze TV’s ridiculous Parasite criticism. LSFF boasts the North American premieres for the Russian Cold War drama The Dorm, which follows a group of students coming to grips with their advanced maturity and the reality of communism. Also reaching American audiences for the first time is Spain’s La Mancha Negra, a religious drama from the director of Maniac Tales and 321 días en Michigan.

Powerful Documentaries
Hollywood frequently delivers inaccurate biopics, but LSFF is cutting back the nonsense with gripping, intimate documentaries. Among the docs to get excited about is Clean Slate, a fascinating story on the recovery process that follows former addicts as they make a short film about how their actions affected loved ones. Also in the lineup is the account of the minimalist icon John Wilcox, The Relinquishment of Time.

Short Film Binges
You may have been able to catch the collection of Oscar-nominated short films at your local theater, but LSFF offers a truly amazing opportunity to consume bite-sized cinema. With 10 viewing sessions collecting shorts into viewing blocks, you’ll be able to see stories from multiple rising auteurs back-to-back. We’re especially excited for the High School Short Film lineup on the festival’s final day.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.