by Eugene Hernandez
>> Docs Dominate at Dallas Video Fest
Reached on his cell phone a few hours before opening night, Dallas Video
Festival Director Bart Weiss called documentaries, "The story of 1999." The
12th Annual event kicked off in Texas last night (Thursday) with the
presentation of the Ernie Kovacs Award for Excellence in Television to Paul
Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman). Weiss offered that documentary work
dominated at Sundance and SXSW this year, and concluded, "What people
consider 'doc' is broadening...so people are doing more."
Among the documentaries screening in Dallas, which has always relied
heavily on non-fiction programming, are Kyle Henry's "American Cowboy," Jim
Shedden's "Brakhage," Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini's "Divorce
Iranian Style," Mark Daniels' "Melvin van Peebles' Classified X," Dan Katzir's
"Out for Love...Be Back Shortly," Stig Bjorkman's "Tranceformer: A Portrait of
Lars von Trier," Beth B's "Voices Unheard," Bob Sabiston and Tommy Pallotta's
animated short, "Roadhead," Joshua Tunick's "Naked Pavement," and a video
diary by Guillermo Gomez-Pena, entitled "Borderstasis: The Many Lives of an
Also screening at this year's event (which runs through Sunday night) are a
collection of television from Africa, a survey of media arts in Brazil, a
compilation of British video art, and a collection of short films from the
University of Texas at Austin.
Hal Hartley's digitally-shot project, "Book of Life," will be screened,
along with a rarely seen collection of short films and videos by the
filmmaker. Over 7,000 people are expected to attend the event which
features over 250 screenings, and offers the slogan, "Better Living Through
Video." Screenings run tonight and all weekend at the Dallas Theater
Center which was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
[For more information, check out the festival website at:
http://www.videofest.org, or call 214/999-8999.]
>> Rafael Film Center Sets Opening Date; "Breakfast of Champions" and
The Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA, makes a debut splash next month
with two premieres, a few celebrities and, of course, the parties. The
festivities occasion the long-awaited re-opening of the Rafael Theater by
the Film Institute of Northern California. The landmark movie house has
been outfitted with three new screens and upgraded projection and sound
systems. Catered receptions follow the first two nights at $100 a pop.
Director Alan Rudolph will appear in person Friday, April 16, to present the
first U.S. screening of his new film, "Breakfast of Champions." Based on
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s offbeat novel about a car salesman, the Hollywood
Pictures comedy stars Bruce Willis, Barbara Hershey, Glenne Headly, Albert
Finney and Nick Nolte.
An official ribbon-cutting for the film complex precedes the world premiere
of "Election" on Saturday, April 17. Filmmaker Alexander Payne follows up
his outrageous debut feature, "Citizen Ruth," with this high school satire
starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Both Payne and
Witherspoon will be on hand to introduce the Paramount release.
A re-release of Richard Lester's classic Beatles romp "A Hard Days
Night"--presented in THX and Dolby sound--closes out the weekend Sunday,
April 18. Following the film, producer Walter Shenson will chat about his
experiences with the Fab Four.
Marin County audiences can expect year-round arthouse fare from the
Rafael, as well as programming spilling over from various Bay Area film
festivals. The Film Institute of Northern California is the parent
organization of the annual Mill Valley Film Festival.[Carl Russo]
[For more information call (415) 454-1222.]