Dallas — The oldest and longest video festival in America, Dallas VideoFest launches its 29th festival on Tuesday, Oct. 18 with approximately 125 programs in various genres and formats, concentrating on independent, alternative and developing media—including several events of interest to performing arts fans— running through Sunday Oct. 23.
As has become the tradition, the fest opens Tuesday at Dallas City Performance Hall with The Dallas Chamber Symphony performing a newly commissioned live soundtrack to a silent film classic. This year, that classic is F. W. Murnau’s masterpiece Sunrise, which, in the very first year (1929) of the Academy Awards, was honored for “Unique and Artistic Production,” a category never used again. If that director name rings a bell, it’s because his second best-known film, 1922’s Nosferatu (about a guy who hates sunrises), gets a lot of play around this time of year. Joe Kraemer (The Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) has composed the new score. The performance, which also marks the fifth season premiere of the DCS, starts at 8 p.m.; ticketholders can also attend an after-party with the composer.
Another silent classic getting a new interpretation at this year’s fest is 1915’s The Birth Of A Nation, D.W. Griffith’s Civil War epic that has, for a century, been hailed (for its cinematic innovations) and reviled (for its pro-Ku Klux Klan stance) in equal measure. Just as the same-named current theatrical release has sardonically repurposed the title, performance artist/musician Paul D. Miller (aka “DJ Spooky”) calls his “remix” of the film Rebirth of A Nation. Miller mashes iconic images from the three-hour original into a new socio-political landscape of the 21st century, accompanied by the Meadows New Music Ensemble (known as SYZYGY Quartet), under the direction of Dr. Lane Hader. Rebirth Of A Nation happens at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at The Texas Theater in Oak Cliff.
The remaining festival screenings take place at The Angelika Film Center in Dallas, with a playlist that encompasses shorts, features, animations and experimental video pieces, from filmmakers both local and international.
VideoFest 29 will partner with arts and filmmaking groups for several special presentations. From the world of journalism: relive Dallas history of the ‘60s and ‘70s via 16mm news film from the archives of WFAA-8, with curator Jeremy Spacklen and commentary from a panel of DFW journalists (Oct. 22, 5:15 p.m.). “Tick Tick Tick: 60 Minutes” (Oct. 22, 7 p.m.) features that legendary news show’s editor Stephanie Palewski demonstrating how a typical episode is put together. New York Times Associate Publisher Doug Latino details the newspaper’s foray into virtual reality with “VR for The New York Times” (Oct. 22, 9 p.m.).
Women in Film-Dallas joins with VideoFest again to showcase women filmmakers with the 15th annual Chick Flicks Festival (Oct. 20-22), featuring shorts and two features, Hardy (Oct. 22, 3:45) and Quaker Oaths (Oct. 20, 10pm).
A theme of this year’s festival is “Democracy Through Documentary,” exemplified by the 50th anniversary of Kartemquin Films with screenings of two of their most acclaimed films, and one premiere: 1994’s Hoop Dreams (Oct. 22, 1 p.m.), 2013’s The Trials of Muhammed Ali (Oct. 21, 7 p.m.) and 2016’s Unbroken Glass (Oct. 23, 4:45 p.m.).
The Fest always offers essential viewing for those who make films or simply love them, and this year is no exception. Other People’s Footage: Copyright & Fair Use (Oct. 23, 1 p.m.) is a documentary featuring expert analysis of the concept of fair use, on which many filmmakers depend; in The Art of Directing: Frank Capra, VideoFest regular Allan Holzman presents a 1977 AFI interview with the director of It’s A Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and other gems. In The Last Laugh (Oct. 20, 7 p.m.), a co-presentation with 3 Stars Jewish Cinema, veteran comedians and actual Auschwitz survivors discuss whether the Holocaust should ever be comedic fodder.
Among the wealth of short films offered this year is the world premiere of Maid (Oct. 21, 9:45 p.m.), a reimagining of the Joan of Arc story filmed in Marfa, Texas. Director and Dallas theater giant Raphael Parry will be in attendance; the screenplay is by renowned experimental playwright Erik Ehn, based on a work from his “The Saint Plays” collection. More outstanding shorts can be seen in compilations during the festival and in the traditional closing night showcase, The Texas Show (Oct. 23, 8:30 p.m.).
These are just some choice highlights; find out more about these and other great Dallas VideoFest 29 events, plus ticketing and location info at http://videofest.org/. And look for more coverage coming on TheaterJones.
View a complete schedule in the searchable database on the DVF website, here.