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Dallas Highlights Docs: Festival’s 5th Edition Opens with “Elmo,” Honors Steve James

Dallas Highlights Docs: Festival's 5th Edition Opens with "Elmo," Honors Steve James

The Dallas International Film Festival released its full slate today, and announced Constance Marks’s “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” as the festival’s opening night film. The documentary is coming off a succesful premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and signals the strength of recent documentaries in today’s festival circuit.

“When I saw this film at Sundance, I knew immediately that Dallas would love it,” said Senior Programmer Sarah Harris. “And when it was just recently confirmed that we could feature it as the Opening Night film, there was a resounding ‘Yes!’ through the office because we wanted the 2011 festival to begin with a feeling of celebration and ‘Being Elmo’ will do just that.”

Also reflecting this strong documentary presence trend is the naming of Steve James as the first documentary filmmaker to receive the festival’s Dallas Star Award.

Michael Cain, Chairman of the Dallas Film Society Board of Directors, expressed his enthusiasm about the festival’s latest honoree, “For the 13 years that I have been involved in film festivals, a filmmaker that consistently delivers and brings excitement to our audience is Steve James. From the world-renowned ‘Hoop Dreams’ that catapulted him into the who’s who list of documentarians, to the personal ‘Stevie’ and ‘Reel Paradise,’ to most recently unearthing the personalities of those attempting to stop the violence on the streets in Chicago in ‘The Interrupters,’ Steve James has a unique ability to delve into the soul of every character in his films and consume his audience in the process. He has exceptional talent and I am so proud that this year we have the opportunity to put him and his achievements on a pedestal.”

This year’s festival will feature 157 films from 26 countries, including nine World Premieres and 6 U.S. Premieres. Highlights from the line-up include more buzz-worthy docs fresh from Sundance like Morgan Spurlock’s “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and James Marsh’s “Project Nim.” Miranda July’s “The Future,” a big draw at Sundance and Berlin this year, stands out as one of the festival’s most anticipated narrative films. indieWIRE featured a partial line-up from the festival last month, the rest of the slate can be found through the Dallas International Film Festival’s website.

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