The 4th Annual Lone Star International Film Festival wrapped up last night in Fort Worth, TX after a successful five day run. Still a relatively small event, the festival seemed poised for a higher, if still regional, profile with the addition of this year’s inaugural gala, an auction and dinner honoring T Bone Burnett and Jeff Bridges. Part black-tie, part festive attire, the event was sold out and featured a rather entertaining live auction component with an auctioneer who may have just enjoyed the complimentary beverages a tad too much.
The three Bs – Burnett, Bridges, and gala presenter Peter Bogdanovich – were a visible presence this past weekend, with the Academy Award winning actor picking up a guitar and joining his fellow “Crazy Heart” Oscar winner on stage for an outdoor concert on Saturday evening – while Lyle Lovett and Elton John, in town for other engagements, had been rumored to also perform with them, that unfortunately didn’t come to pass, but the audience didn’t seem to mind at all. Just hours before, Bridges and Burnett spoke before a screening of the Coen Brothers now classic “The Big Lebowski,” while shortly before that, Bridges and Bogdanovich participated in a freewheeling Q&A after a screening of the director’s masterful 1971 “The Last Picture Show,” where Bogdanovich mused about the possibility of bringing together the cast for a third time (after 1990’s “Texasville”) for an adaptation of the next chapter in Larry McMurtry’s story, “Duane’s Depressed,” noting that he likes to reunite everyone every 20 years or so. Saturday also featured Bridges, writer/director Scott Cooper, and producer Rob Carliner on hand for a screening of “Crazy Heart,” and two separate conversation events with Burnett and Cooper.
Also on Saturday, the festival announced its annual awards in three categories. Best Documentary went to Jennilyn Merten and Tyler Measom’s exploration of the lives of exiled Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, “Sons of Perdition,” which had its world premiere earlier this year at Tribeca. “American Jihadist,” an acclaimed portrait of a militant African-American Muslim, by Mark Claywell, took the runner up spot. Tim Cox’s dark comedy “Miss Nobody” claimed the Best Narrative award, while Conor Horgan’s apocalyptic drama “One Hundred Mornings” was named runner-up. Finally, Eric D Howell’s “Ana’s Playground” and Jason LaMotte’s “The Terms” were recognized in the Shorts category.
Featuring an eclectic and well-received program (the festival opened with the justly celebrated “Marwencol” by Jeff Malmberg, and closed with a secret screening of a recent Toronto premiere featuring a comedic actor’s dramatic turn) and a healthy dose of Texan hospitality, the Lone Star International Film Festival is a welcome recent addition to the regional festival circuit and to Texas’ film culture.