At the end of the day, I’d like to get out of Dallas without 1.) getting arrested, 2.) getting in a fistfight or 3.) getting anyone at the festival fired, chastised or reprimanded in any way. Lofty goals, sure, but I’m all about causing as little amount of trouble as possible. Last year, I failed miserably. This year is all about creating happier memories to cover up last year’s. Find your happy place! Anyway…

After settling into my room at the Joule Hotel, I decided it was time to get some workout in… except I realized I had forgotten to pack workout clothes (conveniently for fat me). This is problematic, obviously, as I don’t intend to workout in the same clothes I will then be wearing to watch movies. I will amass my own sweaty stink just by existing, no need to make things worse.

So I worked out in my room, which is not a euphemism for “m********e furiously.” I mean, I guess it could be, but not in this instance.

After working out, made my way to the penthouse to pick up my press badge, and then wandered over to the Angelika for some movie-watching. Some friends gave me a ride over, and in the car I was given some juicy information about one Henry “I was in E.T.” Thomas. Or should I say, Hank Thomas. Either way, heard some funny stuff. Which I’d totally repeat here, but, you know, suspense and all that.

At the Angelika, I saw the World Premiere of Tim Skousen’s documentary Zero Percent, and it was one strong-a*s way to start my fest. The film covers the Hudson Link prisoner education program at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Over the course of the film, you’re introduced to a variety of prisoners, all doing their time but also trying their best to educate and rehabilitate themselves. Simply, a powerful experience. I have way more to say about the film, and some philosophical thoughts it raised in my head, but a late-night blog entry, post-Macallan whisky and cupcakes, is not the time to do so. That said, if you’re at the festival, see Zero Percent! Sure, the editing could use a bit more massaging (there’s some rough edits) and the sound mix could use some work, but it doesn’t really detract from the stories or the overall impact of the film. I just think there’s an even stronger version of the film a few post-production tweaks away, and just that thought blows my mind; could it really get better!?! See it.

After Zero Percent, I headed to the lounge (conveniently located next to my hotel) for some socializing. After seeing a ton of films at Sundance and SXSW, I realized that I had been in theaters so much that I hadn’t actually had an opportunity to say “hello” to many of my festival friends, so I decided tonight, no matter what, I would hang out. Which I did, with old and new fest friends, drinking Macallan whisky and eating cupcakes. Fat man heaven? Probably. Hoping not to visit that heaven anytime soon, you know… hence the workouts…

Tomorrow (er, later on today), I intend to start the day with a healthy breakfast (already placed an order for some peanut butter french toast), and then movies, movies and hopefully more movies. My time at the fest is short; by Monday I’m gone, so only have two days of films to watch. Going to have fun do my best. You’ll be hearing more from me!

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from my first day at the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival!

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