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By Mark Bell | February 15, 2012

The Dallas International Film Festival, running April 12-22, 2012, has announced the first fifteen films selected for the 2012 event. From the official press release:

The Dallas International Film Festival announced today the first fifteen films chosen to screen at the sixth edition of the festival (April 12 – 22, 2012). The lineup includes two world premieres and nine Texas premieres. Films entered into the narrative feature and documentary competition will have the chance to win an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 per category and those entered into the Environmental Visions Competition will have the chance to win a cash prize of $10,000 from Whole Foods. The Embrey Family Foundation returns with a $10,000 prize to bestow the Silver Heart Award to an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity.

Legendary animator, director, author and illustrator Glen Keane, best known for his work on Disney classics such as ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, TARZAN, THE LITTLE MERMAID and TANGLED, was named this year’s honoree for the Texas Avery Animation Award presented by REEL FX. Keane has previously received the prestigious Winsor McCay Award, which is also presented for lifetime achievement in animation.

DIFF also announced that Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers will be the film festival’s presenting sponsor for the 2012 edition.

“For each of the first five years of the Dallas International Film Festival we have worked to bring a vibrant mix of international excellence and artistry to the city of Dallas,” said James Faust, artistic director of the Dallas Film Society. “This year, I really feel the selection of films we have will offer even more to our audience. From the return to the big screen of a true film artist like Lawrence Kasdan to a return to our fest by Ryan O’Nan (star of 2010’s Target Filmmaker Award winner, THE DRY LAND) with an exciting directing debut, to great international selections from South Korea and Lebanon, these first fifteen films offer an excellent preview of what will be on tap for the 2012 DIFF. This year also marks the return of DIFF’s beloved Deep Ellum Sounds section, so there truly will be a film for everyone. In 2012 that is what we want to convey: the Dallas International Film Festival is for all tastes and all walks of life. It really is for everyone.”

DIFF sees the return of a number of alumni in 2012. Named in 2011 as “one to watch” by Variety, producer and DIFF’s Advisory Board member Jason M. Berman returns to Dallas with two films in this year’s festival, the critically acclaimed drama, LUV and O’Nan’s THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST. In partnership with fellow THE DRY LAND (2010) alum, Ryan O’Nan, Berman and O’Nan have assembled an impressive cast for THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS, including Michael Weston, Arielle Kebbel, Andrew McCarthy, Jason Ritter, Wilmer Valderrama, Christoper McDonald and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo. Attending DIFF in 2010 opened up many doors and investment opportunities for both filmmakers. Marking their third appearance at DIFF (following KAMP KATRINA (2007) and INTIMIDAD (2008)) are filmmaking tandem Ashley Sabin and David Redmon as they go behind the scenes of the Japanese and Siberian modeling industry and uncover the unsettling truth in their documentary, GIRL MODEL. Another DIFF alum Academy Award winner Alex Gibney is executive producer of world premiere BIBA! ONE ISLAND, 879 VOTES directed by his longstanding colleague in cinematography, Benjamin Bloodwell.

Lawrence Kasdan’s return to directing in nearly 10 years will be a highlight in the Texas premiere of his drama DARLING COMPANION, featuring a stellar cast that includes Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest and Elisabeth Moss. And genre fans will be in for a special treat as the director of THE GRUDGE films, Takashi Shimizu, will be in town to head up the festival’s Midnight category with his most recent work, TORMENTED. THE ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA, featuring an appearance by Alec Baldwin, is the first film to be announced in the Environmental Visions Competition. The winning film in this category will not only win the unrestricted cash prize from Whole Foods, it will also screen again as part of Earth Day Dallas on April 22, 2012.

Three selections were announced in the popular and coveted Texas Competition category: Dallas Cowboys documentary AMERICA’S PARKING LOT; SIRONIA which marks the return to Dallas for the majority of the cast and crew, including ANGEL (1999) actress Amy Acker; and the world premiere of Mark Potts’ CINEMA SIX which features the much-loved Barry Corbin.

The Texas Avery Animation Award presented by REEL FX honors a lifetime achievement in animation filmmaking. Glen Keane, one of the shining lights in the current generation of Disney character animators, has thrilled audiences with his artistry of the leading characters in many of the classic animated features since the 1970’s. He was the lead animator of Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID, The Beast in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) and he personally created the characters Aladdin, Tarzan and Pocahontas in their respective Disney films. Most recently, he was the directing animator of Rapunzel and animation supervisor of the breathtaking fantasy, TANGLED (2010).

“Glen Keane’s work is beloved by millions around the world. As an artist and storyteller, he has brought some of our favorite, iconic heroes and heroines to life in some of the most-loved animated classics ever made,” said Ed Jones, CEO of REEL FX. “Although some film-goers might not know his name, you only have to mention Aladdin, Ariel, Tarzan or Pocahontas to see an instantaneous, awed reaction. Glen is also an educator and has dedicated much of his life to teaching others the art of animation. Texas Avery Animation Award has been given to the very best in our industry: Brad Bird, Chris Wedge, Henry Selick, Pete Docter and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. We feel there is no more fitting recipient to honor this year than Glen Keane. We look forward to celebrating him and his incredible body of work during DIFF.”

For the first time, the top Volkswagen dealers in Texas, Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers have signed on as presenting sponsor. Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers will be providing the festival with a Volkswagen fleet to transport filmmakers and festival guests around Dallas for the entire 11-day duration. “For the last five years we have watched the impressive evolution of the Dallas International Film Festival,” said Scott K. Ginsburg, Owner of Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers. “As the festival enters into its sixth year, we are thrilled to be a part of the celebration of the arts within our community. At Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers, we have a fierce commitment to integrity and service performance and in this we feel a natural synergy with the Dallas International Film Festival – it is renowned for its hospitality and putting the filmmakers and their work on a pedestal. We celebrate that.”

Approximately 180 films from all over the world will be screened over 11 days. For the first year since the festival’s inception there will be a Festival Village at the fashionable Mockingbird Station. The Festival Village will serve as the hub of the festival where filmmakers and film fans will have the chance to mingle and network at the Festival Lounge and CBS Radio will present its first ever Music Lounge – showcasing local music to the public every evening for the festival’s eleven-day duration. Only a few steps from Mockingbird Station, Kimpton’s luxurious Hotel Palomar will conveniently offer a stylish retreat for the out-of-town filmmakers and visiting celebrities as the festival’s host hotel.

The festival will culminate with the Dallas Film Society Honors on April 20, an evening of tributes with Dallas Star Award honorees and filmmaker award winners at the Hotel Palomar. Along with the cash prizes from Whole Foods and The Embrey Family Foundation, TXU Energy will award grants to the winning schools and student filmmakers for the Student Light Up the Red Carpet Film Contest. Other Grand Jury Prize awards will be presented to the best narrative feature, documentary feature, Texas Competition, Short Film, Student Short Film and Animated Short Film presented by REEL FX Entertainment.

Passes are currently for sale and range from $100 for a Festival Lounge Pass to $750 for an all-access Star Pass. Tickets go on sale at the Prekindle Box Office and online to the public on March 22. The Prekindle Box Office will be featured as part of the Festival Village at Mockingbird Station. For further information on pass levels and how to purchase passes visit: or telephone 214.720.0555.

The fifteen official selections include:
Director: Jonny Mars
Two die-hard fans and leaders of the legendary ‘Gate 6’ tailgate party, spend their last season with the Dallas Cowboys at historic Texas Stadium. When the Cowboys move 20 miles west to Arlington, the shifting politics and economics of major league sports threaten to dissolve the friendships and traditions they have built over 20 years and they scramble to preserve their place in AMERICA’S PARKING LOT.
Category: Texas Competition

Director: Xan Aranda
Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. FEVER YEAR is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater with collaborators Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Michael Lewis and Annie Clark of St. Vincent.
Category: Deep Ellum Sounds

Directors: Dan Argott, Sheena Joyce
Following the 2011 9.0 magnitude earthquake which hit Japan and caused chaos at the Fukushima Power Plant, the fierce debate over the safety and viability of nuclear power was back in the public consciousness. ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA takes the viewer on a journey to reactor communities around the country, exposes the truths and myths of nuclear power, and poses the question of whether or not man can responsibly split the atom.
Category: Environmental Visions

BIBA! ONE ISLAND, 879 VOTES (USA) – World Premiere
Director: Benjamin Bloodwell
BIBA! follows the rallies and debates of Trenton Conner and Henry San Nicolas in their battle for control over the Pacific island, Tinian. Along the way we learn about Tinian’s historic and geopolitical significance, being the launch point for the Enola Gay in World War II and presently the home of the Voice of America broadcasting towers, sending pro-democracy propaganda into China and North Korea.
Category: Documentary Feature Competition

BINDLESTIFFS (USA) – Texas Premiere
Director: Andrew Edison
Three high school virgins, suspended from school on a bogus graffiti charge, flee to the inner city in an attempt to live out the plot of The Catcher in the Rye – a book they neither have read nor understand. Starring John Karma, Luke Loftin, Andrew Edison and Will Fordyce.
Category: Midnight

Director: Ryan O’Nan
A singer-songwriter hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary. Cast includes Ryan O’ Nan, Michael Weston, Arielle Kebbel, Andrew McCarthy, Jason Ritter, Wilmer Valderrama, Christoper McDonald and Melissa Leo
Category: Premiere

CINEMA SIX (USA) – World Premiere
Director: Mark Potts
Three small-town friends have to decide whether to keep their easy jobs at a movie theater or actually try to do something meaningful with their lives.
Cast includes John Merriman, Mark Potts, Brand Rackley, Byron Brown, Lindsey Newell, Heather Wallis, Madi Goff, Chris Doubek, Cole Selix, Kevin M. Brennan, Maggie Carey, and Barry Corbin
Category: Texas Competition

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
A story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband and then her husband loses the dog. Cast includes Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss and Ayelet Zurer
Category: Premiere

Directors: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng
A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland
Category: Premiere

Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke
ESCAPE FIRE exposes the perverse nature of American healthcare, contrasting the powerful forces opposing change with the compelling stories of pioneering leaders and the patients they seek to help. The film is about finding a way out, about saving the health of a nation.
Category: Documentary Feature Competition

Directors: David Redmon, A.Sabin
GIRL MODEL follows a complex supply chain between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S. within the modeling industry. The story is told through the eyes of the scouts, agencies and a 13 year-old model.
Category: Documentary Showcase

LUV (USA) – Texas Premiere
Director: Sheldon Candis
Over the course of one day, a shy 13-year-old forms a bond with his troubled uncle as he shows the boy what it takes to be a man in Baltimore.
Starring newcomer Michael Rainey, Jr., Common, Michael K. Williams, Danny Glover, Meagan Good and Charles S. Dutton
Category: Narrative Feature Competition

Director: Branda Dickerson
A singer-songwriter beat up by the L.A. music machine who moves with his wife to Sironia, Texas. Starring Wes Cunningham, Amy Acker, Tony Hale, Jeremy Sisto, Courtney Ford, Carrie Preston and Robyn Lively
Category: Texas Competition

Director: Takashi Shimizu
TORMENTED centers on a young boy whose family seems to be unraveling around him. His sister is grappling with the reality of life or death, while his father walks a line with insanity. The situation intensifies when the boy manifests a dangerous friendship with a stuffed toy rabbit that comes to life.
Starring Teruyuli Kagawa, Hikari Mitsushima, Nao Ohmori
Category: Midnight

Director: Nadine Labaki
A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.
Starring Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Layla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf
Category: World Cinema

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