I’m HEEEEEERRRREEEE! Touchdown in Dallas (and not by the Cowboys), and I’m safely sitting in my hotel room, typing away while the iPhone charges. Need to get my press pass, but I’ve been informed it’s not 5 minutes away from the location that I’m at, so I’m going to chill here for a spill and wait until the ole iPhone tops 70% battery life (Twittering at the airport will run that mo-fo down fast; by “mo-fo,” I mean “mobile phone”).

Tonight is opening night of the Dallas International Film Festival and, as Don and I discussed in this week’s Film Threat podcast, I’m pretty pumped to be here. Had a great ride from the airport with Press Department Associate Windy Rossi, and she took me through the scenic Highland Park area of Dallas. It truly is a beautiful site to behold. But lest I get too complimentary about this city, ahem, F**K THE COWBOYS… sorry, it is in my nature as a Philadelphia fan to be both rude and obnoxious, especially where NFC East rivals are concerned. I’d have worn my McNabb jersey but… well… I’m trying to forget about what happened this weekend

Anyway, on the way to the Hotel Palomar (my, and the festival’s, homebase for this year), Windy and I had a great conversation about the evolution of the festival from its Deep Ellum fest days to the partnership with AFI to now, and the different logistical hurdles that come with such a regional-to-powerhouse-to-what’s-our-identity-now transition over the years. It sounds like the festival is where it wants to be, and I’m looking forward to comparing what it is now to what it was two years ago, when I first attended and it was still the AFI Dallas Film Festival (for the record, that particular festival involved some of my all-time favorite film festival experiences, which I shared here on Film Threat at the time… though when the site went through its “technical difficulties” phase at the end of last year, some content was lost… mainly all my old festival blog entries). For the record, though, I’ve always felt and maintained that a film festival’s true worth lies in their program, and from what I’ve known of this fest in all its incarnations, the program hasn’t disappointed. I doubt this year will disappoint.

So, today, what’s on the agenda? There is a cocktail reception before the opening night films get going, and I’ll probably dip in there if they’ll let me, and then I intend to catch one of the opening night flicks. Which one? I’m leaning towards “Bill Cunningham New York” right now, but who knows (“A Town Called Panic” could win out). Well, you’ll know when the evening ends and I come blog about everything again.

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