The fourth annual DALLAS International Film Festival concluded last weekend after an 11 day-long program packed with indie films, local Texas films, documentaries and shorts, many of them cherry-picked to bring the best of the year's film festival circuit straight to Dallas area cineastes. It was a festival punctuated by a steady flow of visiting celebrities and a number of intimate industry panels (one of which yours truly was invited to participate in on behalf of, along with Cinematical's Todd Gilchrist and former Cinematicalite-turned-Movie City News maven Kim Voynar) where filmmakers mingled nightly with locals and volunteers in the swanky penthouse lounge of the Hotel Palomar. But more importantly, as much as the festival brought movie makers in conversational proximity to its patrons, it brought notable films to its screens and filled seats even through the last days of the fest.

In some ways, the DALLAS International Film Festival, run by the DALLAS Film Society and formerly prefixed with the "AFI" brand, felt very much like a Dallas affair. Granted, this was my first ever visit and most of what I knew of the place had a lot to do with a gentleman named J.R. Ewing and fashion that's equal parts big hair and shoulder pads (which have since been replaced by a gentleman named Michael Cain, the film producer-turned-fest chairman, and loads of haute couture), but suffice to say the Dallas fest is a well-appointed deal seemingly run by sheer inborn hospitality, enthusiasm for film, and blessedly deep pockets.

categories Movies, Awards, Cinematical