Rub the sleep out of your eyes, Dallas. Fuel up with a double shot of espresso, a few rips off your roommate's bong, or whatever it will take you key you up for an especially long weekend of cinematic jouissance. Oak Cliff Film Festival is back for its fourth year and it's better than ever. Feed your inner film nerd with four days of back-to-back screenings, parties with VJs, filmmaking workshops, concerts and talks. You can see Jurassic World next weekend.
Texas Theatre serves as the home base for the festival, which expands to even more locations in Oak Cliff this year, including the very first film screening at the local literary hub, Wild Detectives. At Texas Theatre, local artists have created a VIP lounge into a scene from a gritty, grimy artist loft in New York City circa 1980. That anti-prentious flavor can be tasted elsewhere at a festival where tickets to individual screenings cost $10 and all-inclusive VIP badges are just $175.
What's remarkable about this year isn't just that a homegrown festival survived the last four years, but that OCFF has already started giving back. Last week, the fest announced the first recipients of its 1st Annual Oak Cliff Film Festival Filmmakers Grant Sponsored by the Dallas Producers Association. These awards were two cash prizes and three product awards. The cold, hard green stuff went to Austin-based filmmaker Yen Tan, whose film, 1985, follows a man through a cosmetics department where no one will help him. The other recipient was Dallas-based Frank Mosley, a luminary in the local filmmaking scene, for his short film, Parthenon.
"Always feels good to have your hometown have your back," says Mosley. "It's also exciting to finally see arts funding in North Texas specifically catered for filmmaking, and I'm looking forward to seeing this grant help others in the community over the coming years."
Admiration for the festival, engaged.
Now, show your admiration at one of the festival events this weekend. Full line-up available at oakclifffilmfestival.com/films. Warning: You won't be able to see everything.
Here are our recommendations:
This Spanish cult classic from the mind of Ivan Zulueta hit theaters in 1979 at the beginning of experimental film. Contemporary critics liken him to David Lynch, due to his interest in excavating the absurdity and darkness from the everyday.
See it at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Wild Detectives. Free screening.
On Friday night at Texas Theatre, there will be a complicated, meta experience. Gregg Turkington's alter ego Neil Hamburger plays the comedian in Rick Alverson's new film, Entertainment - a follow up to the OCFF2013 award winning The Comedy. After the screening, Hamburger will take the stage for a comedy set. After that, you might see Turkington at the bar. Sort that one out.
9:15 p.m. Friday at Texas Theatre. $15.
Cinema 16 Shorts
If your life is too busy to squeeze in the whole festival, take your Saturday afternoon to attend one of the two screenings of short films. At 1 p.m. at the Bishop Arts Theater Center catch the first screening of Narrative Shorts ($10). Or at 7 p.m. Saturday at El Sibil, a video production studio, catch the Cinema 16 Shorts. Rather than me describing them all in seductive language, why don't you just show up and see them yourself?
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You know those huge advertisements, "Shot on an iPhone 6"? That could be a tagline for Director Sean Baker's feature film. It's honest portrait of Los Angeles is earning Tangerine comparisons to Paris Is Burning. It follows a woman fresh out of prison, as she tracks down her boyfriend who she learns has been unfaithful.
8 p.m. Thursday. $10.
The Sinema of Nick Zedd
Educate yourself in the best way on the work of groundbreaking underground, No Wave filmmaker Nick Zedd Saturday night. The first screening will be a collection of short films Zedd collaborated on with Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch and Rockets RedGlare, featuring music by The Dream Syndicate and Swans. Then, there will be a screening of Triple image triptych 16mm projection experimental films. If you want to dig into the weekend's aesthetic, tunnel your way to El Sibil.
9:30 p.m. Saturday El Sibil. $10.
Beaver Trilogy Part IV
What do Crispin Glover, Sean Penn and Olivia Newton John have in common? We have no fucking clue. But Brad Besser is promising his film holds an answer of some kind. Color us confused and entirely intrigued.
7:45 p.m. Saturday, Bishop Arts Theatre Center. $10.
Men Go to Battle
Who doesn't love a good Civil War movie? This sibling drama sounds like True West meets Gone with the Wind, in which two brothers can't control their tempers long enough to keep their farm running through the winter. We're told it's a delicate narrative with good acting. Honestly, the only downside of this screening is that it's the festival's last.
7:45 p.m. Sunday, Texas Theatre. $10.