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Dallas Names Competition Slate, Centerpiece Screenings

Dallas Names Competition Slate, Centerpiece Screenings

The Dallas International Film Festival announced its set of Centerpiece screenings and the slate for its Narrative and Documentary competitions. The festival, which runs from March 31 to April 10, will also be honoring veteran actress Ann-Margret with the Dallas Star Award for her fifty years in the entertainment industry. Ann-Marget’s career has seen her star in films like “Viva Las Vegas” (1964, alongside Elvis Presley), “Carnal Knowledge” (1971) and “Tommy” (1975).

“Ann-Margret is a rare talent in that she has beautifully balanced live musical performances with incredible dramatic film roles throughout her career,” said Dallas Film Society President & CEO, Tanya Foster about the actress. “It is a real honor for us to publicly acknowledge the contribution she has made to the art of film.”

The festival’s line-up is listed below, with synopses provided courtesy of the Dallas International Film Festival:

Centerpiece Screenings

“Beautiful Boy,” Director: Shawn Ku, (USA) – US Premiere.
In Shawn Ku’s emotional drama, “Beautiful Boy,” a married couple on the verge of separation struggle to deal with their own personal loss whilst trying to find refuge from the public and the media after their son commits a mass shooting and kills himself.  Starring Michael Sheen, Maria Bello, Alan Tudyk and Moon Bloodgood.

“OK Buckaroos,” Directed by: Patrick Tourville, (USA) – World Premiere.
Patrick Tourville’s documentary “OK Buckaroos” is the story of Jerry Jeff Walker whose music has led him from the nation’s biggest arenas to hundred-year old honky-tonks. Walker is an artist who has been a cog in the wheel of the recording industry’s star-making machinery and an involuntary pioneer on the frontier of artistic independence. Among those appearing in the documentary are Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson.

“Soul Surfer,” Director: Sean McNamara, (USA).
“Soul Surfer” chronicles the inspirational story of surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her left arm following a shark attack and the subsequent trials that she and her family go through in both her physical recovery and her emotional battle to continue surfing. Starring Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, Lorraine Nicholson, Carrie Underwood, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter, Ross Thomas, Sonya Balmores Chung and Chris Brochu.

Target Narrative Feature Competition

“Adiós Mundo Cruel,” (Goodbye Cruel World) Director: Jack Zagha, (Mexico)
When a hard-working accountant is let go from his job because of the economic slump, he finds a new way of earning a living: becoming part of a criminal gang. “Adiós Mundo Cruel” is a creative comedy from Mexico that finds humor in a series of unfortunate events.  Starring Carlos Alberto Orozco, Mónica Bejarano, JoséMontini, Lourdes Villarreal, Sandra Sánchez Cantú, Carlos Aragón, Justo Martínez and Pedro Gámez.

“Boy Wonder,” Director: Michael Morrissey, (USA)
After witnessing the brutal murder of his mother, a young Brooklyn boy grows up obsessed with finding her killer. “Boy Wonder” challenges morality by exploring distorted perceptions of what is right and what is justified. The film stars James Russo, Zulay Henao and Tracy Middendorf.

“Jess + Moss,” Director: Clay Jeter, (USA)
A series of vignettes involving memories of companionship and sexual awakening shared by two second cousins, “Jess + Moss” captures the evocative and haunting character of the dark fire tobacco fields of rural Western Kentucky. Cast includes Sarah Hagan, Austin Vickers and Haley Strode

“Parked,” Director: Darragh Byrne, (Ireland, Finland)
A proud man living in his car decides to become a better person after being inspired by a young drug addict. Byrne’s “Parked” is a moving, uplifting film about friendship, trust and the need to feel truly at home. Stars Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan and Milka Ahlroth.

“The Presence,” Director: Tom Provost, (USA)
Provost’s stunning directorial debut, “The Presence,” is a darkly romantic ghost story that follows a woman’s (Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino) relationship with an apparition in her isolated cabin in Oregon.  With the unexpected arrival of the woman’s boyfriend, the spirit’s haunting becomes more obsessive. Starring Mira Sorvino, Shane West and Justin Kirk.

“Small Town Murder Songs,” Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly, (Canada)
A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life.  Stars Martha Plimpton, Peter Stormare and Jill Hennessy.

“Surrogate Valentine,” Director: Dave Boyle, (USA)
Directed by Dave Boyle, “Surrogate Valentine” is about a San Francisco indie musician who lives a life on the road, navigating friendships and relationships. The film stars Goh Nakamura, Chadd Stoops and Lynn Chen.

Target Documentary Feature Competition

“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” Director: Constance Marks, (USA)
The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Constance Marks’ “Being Elmo” uncovers the unlikely man behind the puppet – the heart and soul of Elmo – Kevin Clash. Featuring interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Carroll Spinney, Joan Ganz Cooney, Marty Robinson, Fran Brill, and Bill Barrett

“Elevate,” Director: Anne Buford, (USA)
From rural Senegal to American Prep schools, “Elevate” documents the basketball journey of four particularly tall African teenagers with NBA dreams.

“The Greater Good,” Directors: Chris Pilaro, Kendall Nelson, (USA) – World Premiere
Pilaro and Nelson’s “The Greater Good” looks behind the fear, hype and politics that polarize people into emotionally charged pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine camps.

“Norman Mailer: The American,” Director: Joseph Mantegna, (USA)
Mantegna documents the life and times of controversial, celebrated post-WWII American writer Norman Mailer as told through the people who knew him personally.  Interviews include Muhammad Ali, Beverly Bentley and William F. Buckley.

“Prosecutor,” Director: Barry Stevens, (Canada) – US Premiere
A fascinating story with extraordinary inside access, PROSECUTORfollows the Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo through the first trials of the newly formed International Criminal Court. He’s a hero to genocide survivors, but has bitter enemies on both the right and the left.  Featured interviews include Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Mahmood Mamdani, Ben Ferencz, Silas Chekera, Sir Geoffrey Nice.

“Wild Horse, Wild Ride,” Director: Alex Dawson, Greg Gricus, (USA)
“Wild Horse, Wild Ride,” follows a handful of unforgettable characters who set out on a 100-day quest to tame a totally wild mustang for a Texas competition. This stunning documentary highlights the profound bond between people and animals.

“Zero Percent,” Director: Timothy Skousen, (USA) – World Premiere
Skousen gives his audience rare access within the walls of the Sing Sing Correctional facility.  The inmates experience the power of education while going through a rigorous college program called Hudson Link – with astounding statistical results.

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