Once Again, Let’s Let Physical: Oak Cliff Film Festival

17th Dallas International Film Festival

Oak Cliff Film Festival

Once again, let’s get physical.
Real in-person film festivals return to Texas with the Oak Cliff Film Festival. The historic Texas Theatre was abuzz with the traditional slurry of film fans but this film fest started more like a family reunion for the moviegoers have been cut off from the in-person fun of a film fest.
Film Festivals are a great reminder of how much communal practice viewing movies in a theater full of people heightens the experience.
Oak Cliff Film Festival is the greatest way to unveil the massive changes that the Texas Theatre has accomplished during the pandemic.
The Texas Theatre has added a second screen by converting the balcony into an additional theater. They have also added a second bar upstairs (Not yet complete but realized). There is also a new elevator which provides access to the top of the new theater.
The opening night film “Summer of Soul” a musically driven documentary that covers the events and activity of The Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. The film is the directorial debut of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who treats his audience to captured performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & The Family Stone, BB King, and many more.
Spotlight features brought the attendees a great group of films that included standouts; “Kid Candidate” a documentary covering Hayden Pedigo’s run for Amarillo city council.
“Swan Song” starring Udo Keir (Downsizing, Blade) is a comical and bittersweet story of a retired hairdresser’s journey to fulfill a client’s dying wish.
“John and the Hole” While playing in his neighboring woods 13-year-old John discovers an unfinished bunker where he holds his family captive. His family is portrayed by Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Gamer), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty, Little Men), and Taissa Farmiga (6 Years, The Bling Ring).
“We Need To Do Something” A dysfunctional family deals with being trapped in the bathroom by a freak tornado, both the father, Pat Healy, (Cheap Thrills, The Innkeepers) and mother, Vinessa Shaw, (12 Mighty Orphans, Hocus Pocus) issues are exposed but their troubles could be their daughters doing.
Musically inspired films take on a new perspective as the festival adds the historic Kessler Theater to the list of venues screening films. Many documentary features are the stories of musicians, from the opening night film “Summer of Soul” to the closing night film “Mogul Mowgli” music played heavily in this year’s fests offerings. Other musical documentaries of note are “My Name Is Lopez” the story of Dallas-born musician Trini Lopez, “Poly Styrene: I am A Cliché” a look into the world of a pioneering English punk rock band X-Ray Spex. And a story following young Mexican musicians who quest to perform at the Baja 1000, the world’s largest annual all-terrain car race.
A retrospective step back at this fest was provided with the screenings of the late Dennis Hopper’s “Out Of The Blue” in a 4k resolution restoration screening and the Dallas shot Texas favorite “True Stories” starring and directed by Talking Heads frontman David Bryne.
The amount of effort and joy experienced by cinephiles is immeasurable but fully provided by all the team and volunteers of the Oak Cliff Film Festival and all those who support the film in the Dallas area we at ReelNewz.com can’t thank you enough,… Texas Film Is Back Bitches!!!!
Awards and Recognition:
Narrative Feature Competition – Grand Jury Prize
“El Planeta” Director Amalia Ulman
Narrative Feature Competition – Special Jury Prize (Breakthrough Performance)
“We’re All Going To The Worlds Fair” Actor Anna Cobb
Documentary Feature Competition – Grand Jury Prize 
“Off The Road” Director José Permar
Documentary Feature Competition – Special Jury Prize 
“Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché” Directors Paul Sng, Celeste Bell
Narrative Shorts – Outstanding Jury Prize 
“Dorethea’s Blues” Director Channing Godfrey Peoples
Documentary Shorts – Outstanding Jury Prize
“Still Processing” Director Sophy Romvari
Documentary Shorts – Special Jury Mention 
“Trade Center” Director Adam Baran
Outstanding Texas Student Short
“Michelle” Director Kenya Gillespie
15th Dallas International Film Festival