Festival Files: Dallas VideoFest 31 “DocuFest” This Week!

dfn-great_buster-300The longest running film festival in Dallas kicks off this week for its, yes, 31st installment. Named “DocuFest,” the event will take place over the course of five days beginning on Wednesday, October 10 and wrapping up on Sunday, October 14.

Featuring showings at both the Texas Theatre and Angelika Dallas locations, the festival will follow the same template it experimented with last year, namely, featuring all documentaries this time (dozens, including shorts) while following up with a second narrative feature films block later in the year.

As far as festival events go, one can’t ask for a more wildly successful trip to the movies, not only because of the communal spirit established, but because its streamlined schedule allows everyone to see every film they want. No hard decisions. No layered screening times. Just pure, movie-watching bliss.

Highlights this year include the following:

  • Award winning Sundance documentary 306 Hollywood about the treasures two sisters find while going through their late grandmother’s house (screens Sunday October 14).
  • The Great Buster: A Celebration. One of the films I was able to preview is Peter Bogdanovich’s exuberant tribute to the life and films of legendary screen comedian Buster Keaton. Pulling clips from a good majority of his short and feature length films, Bogdanovich heightens the testament with an array of interviews with everyone from Dick Van Dyke to Quentin Tarantino. Premiering at this year’s Venice Film Festival (where ironically they once lauded Keaton in the mid 1960’s, shortly before his death, with a huge retrospective), The Great Buster is a film that will not only educate the viewer about Keaton’s trailblazing career, but paint a smile on your face for the sheer unencumbered joy with which Keaton went about designing and developing the images that are burned into cinema’s history books (Opening Night film, Wednesday, October 10).
  • Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes. A film that explores the history behind the jazz record label, including a behind-the-scenes look as modern artists and jazz legends come together for a modern recording session (screens Saturday, October 13).
  • Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor. Alexia Foreman’s look at the famed actress and her child custody battle in the 1930’s. Like last year’s magnificent Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, the festival continually strives for tales that excavate and illuminate the personal sides of iconic performers (screens Saturday, October 13).
  • Run Like the Devil. If the buzz and fervor over Texas political candidate Beto O’Rourke has one curious to delve further into his magnetic persona, filmmaker Steve Mims’ documentary about the very extant Senatorial race between he and Ted Cruz is essential viewing (screens Friday, October 11).
  • Numerous short films, including the latest by Bill Morrison and Chuck Workman

Select screenings will feature filmmakers in attendance and Q&A sessions afterwards. For full schedules, times and ticket information, visit here.

As always, full coverage will be presented on this site as well.