Film and TV

James Faust, Who Programmed AFI Dallas, Now More or Less Running the Whole Fest

A little while ago, the Dallas Film Society -- which operates the Dallas International Film Festival, also known as The Film Festival Formerly Known as AFI Dallas International -- announced some changes at the top, the biggest of which has to do with Michael Cain being promoted to the title of chairman of the board. But his ascension up the ranks means Cain, who co-founded the Deep Ellum Film Fest before its three-year run with AFI, will actually have less to do with the festival than in years past. James Faust, who programmed the fest with coordinator Sarah Harris, will now be the artistic director, a title previously held by Cain.

"Honestly, we're promoting from within," he tells Unfair Park. "Nothing has changed. Artistically, I've been doing this with Michael for 10 years. He still wants to make films, like Starck, but doesn't want to leave this, so he'll oversee everything but leave the fest to me and the staff to run day to day. All it means is planning now runs through me."

There has been one other change: Tanya Foster, chair of the Cattle Baron's Ball in 2008 and the Junior League of Dallas Ball in '02, has ben named both CEO/President of the Dallas Film Society and executive director of the Dallas International Film Festival. Faust says Foster was hired after an extensive search for someone who could "fund a film society that'll be here for a long time and [bring] more of an institutional attitude about how we create the society."

The Dallas International Film Festival makes its bow April 8, so I asked Faust how it's going during the festival's first year without the AFI name attached to it. He says, Fine, thanks, and expects to begin announcing the first round of titles for the fest by January 22 or 23.

"It's going well," he says. "People wonder if we've seen any fall off, but we're in the same place we were this time last year. We don't have those three letters in front of  the name, that's all. I haven't felt anything. The biggest thing was, we couldn't announce who we were for the longest time, but we have the same contacts, the same distributors approaching us. They want to see us succeed. I'm going to lock three films this week, and by the time Sundance rolls around later this month, we'll have 15."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

Latest Stories