Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

TIP SHEET: Inland Empire

IN PERSON: David Lynch, director, and star Laura Dern. The evening includes a presentation of the AFI DALLAS Star Award to David Lynch and Laura Dern.

THE FILM: In Inland Empire, an actress becomes deeply entrenched in a role when she learns that the script is a remake of a movie that was never finished because the two original leads were murdered.

WHEN & WHERE: Centerpiece Screening, Saturday March 24, 7:00pm, The Magnolia, 3699 McKinney Ave. [Map]


Scenes from Day Two

Hudson Photographic marks another day of festivities: Friday's events at the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival.

AFI DALLAS Schedule: Sunday March 25

Click here for schedule and tickets.

Nasher Sculpture Center
- AT&T TALK/SHOW - 2001 Flora St. [Map]
12:00n Film as a Learning Tool - Featuring John Kuglin (Scope Seven), Jacinta Behne (Scripps Research Institute), Mark Mallardi (Scope Seven)
2:00p Why Go Through the Long Nights Just To Make a Short Film? - Hosted by Chris Vognar, The Dallas Morning News
3:30p Making It in Texas

Meyerson Symphony Center - 2301 Flora St. [Map]
7:30p Harold Lloyd Film Presentation - Free Family Screening

Majestic Theatre - 1925 Elm St. [Map]
2:00p Dallas International Festival

The Magnolia - 3699 McKinney Ave. [Map]
10:00a A Conversation with Gregory Peck
11:45a Veritas, Prince of Truth
12:00n The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah
12:15p Student Competition 1
1:55p The Bracelet of Bordeaux
2:15p Who Loves the Sun
2:15p Milk & Opium
4:30p Buddha's Lost Children
4:30p The Good Life
4:45p Third Ward, TX (preceded by When They Could Fly)
7:00p The Boy Without Qualities
7:15p King of Kong
7:30p Eagle vs Shark
9:30p Sk8 Life
9:45p Severance

Angelika Film Center - 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln. [Map]
12:00n Big Dreams Little Tokyo
12:15p Shorts Program 3
2:15p Kamp Katrina
2:30p Year of the Fish
4:15p Swedish Auto
5:00p Where the Sun Rises
7:00p Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life
7:30p Music Within
9:45p Shorts Program 2
10:00p El Mechanico Loco

Victory Plaza - AFI 100... Series - 3090 Olive St. [Map]
12:15p West Side Story
3:45p Stagecoach
6:15p Rocky
9:00p Giant

W Hotel - 2440 Victory Park Ln. [Map]
5:00p Wet Deck Conversations - Marketing Your Movie on MySpace


AFI DALLAS Schedule: Saturday March 24 (Updated)

Click here for March 24 schedule and tickets.

Nasher Sculpture Center - AT&T TALK/SHOW - 2001 Flora St. [Map]
12:00n Who Wants to be a Producer... and Do They Realize Who They Are? - Discussion hosted by Robert Wilonsky, HDNet/Dallas Observer
2:00p Do We Need to Re-educate Today's Documentary Filmmakers? - Discussion hosted by Michael Speier, Daily Variety
4:30p Jack Valenti Talks Film [postponed]

The Magnolia - 3699 McKinney Ave. [Map]
11:45a Milk & Opium
12:00n Shorts Program 1
1:15p To Kill a Mockingbird
1:55p Ira and Abby
2:15p Linda Linda Linda
4:30p The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah
4:35p War Dance
5:15p Screamers
7:00p Centerpiece Screening: Inland Empire
7:15p Who Loves the Sun
7:30p Veritas, Prince of Truth
9:45p Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
10:00p Student Competition 1
11:00p Inland Empire

Angelika Film Center
- 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln. [Map]
11:45a Knocking
12:00n Big Dreams Little Tokyo
1:45p El Cortez
2:15p Shorts Program 2
4:15p Sk8 Life
4:30p The Go-Getter
6:45p Cake: A Wedding Story
7:00p Operation Homecoming
9:00p The Good Life
9:15p El Mechanico Loco
12:00m Beings (preceded by Coming to Town)

Victory Plaza
- AFI 100... Series - 3090 Olive St. [Map]
12:15p The Philadelphia Story
3:00p The Bridge on the River Kwai
6:30p American Graffiti
9:15p Vertigo

W Hotel
- 2440 Victory Park Ln. [Map]
5:00p Wet Deck Conversations - Pointing Your Camera at Dallas/Fort Worth


In the March 24 Daily News Print Edition

Look for print editions of the official AFI DALLAS Daily News at venues and theaters all around Dallas. In the March 24, 2007, edition:


Spotlight on the Texas Competition

Scenes from Director Michael Ciancio's ANATOMY OF A CANVAS.


AUGUST THE FIRST Tells Tale of Family Ties and Troubles

In their debut feature, director Lanre Olabisi and writer Shawn Alexander aim to fill a void.

"Typically in films, when an African American family is portrayed in crisis, it is due to slavery, poverty, drugs, or gangs," Olabisi says. "While these problems do indeed exist, they have not been balanced out by the problems that plague all households in general, such as divorce, depression, and the daily difficulties of raising a family. These are the issues that we aimed to tackle."

Shot on location within the very suburb in which Olabisi grew up, August the First depicts a day (and night) in the lives of the Ibirindes, an American family whose secrets and frustrations are brought to a head when their father, Dipo, unexpectedly returns from Nigeria after a ten-year absence.

Tunde (played by Ian Alsup) hopes to reunite with his father and visit his native Nigeria for the first time. But the rest of the family, including Tunde's sister, Simisola (Kerisse Hutchinson), brother Ade (Sean Phillips) and grandmother (Gloria Sauve) remain suspicious and hostile, while Rhonda (Joy Merriweather), the mother of the household, is driven further into a wine-soaked depression.

And when Dipo's true motives for coming back are called into question, Tunde, and the rest of the family, must take a stand.

Aside from its fresh direction, the film also places two novice actors, Ian Alsup and Sean Phillips, within starring roles—both of whom carry themselves masterfully.

"Working with Ian and Sean was a wonderful experience," says Olabisi. "They offered an insight into their characters, and they both developed them as their own."

Olabisi, whose full name is Olanrewaju Kolawole, drew from his own Nigerian heritage while creating the background for film, though he contends that the characters are based on "pieces of people" and not anyone in particular. Nevertheless, August the First comes off as a deeply personal and powerful story that spans familial as well as cultural ties. Having spent three and a half years in Madrid before living in New York, Olabasi champions the merits of a cross-cultural life.

"Only good can ever come of living in another country; not only do you learn to appreciate the beauty of other cultures, but you learn about the beauty within your own as well."

AUGUST THE FIRST: 9:30 p.m., March 28 @ Magnolia (and again at noon, March 31 @ AFC

By Chad Jones, Staff Writer


Grab Some Pool Time

Poolside and way up high above it all at the W Hotel, the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival is pairing filmmakers with journalists and other filmmakers to talk about film and moviemaking up close and personal. With topics that connect this year's AFI Dallas filmmakers and stars with the people who go see their films, the AFI Dallas Wet Deck Chats offer a rare chance to sit a few feet away from a director or movie star and ask them what they think, how they did it and how you can to.

The series opened with a three-way conversation between director Steven Sawalich along with Ron Livingston and Richard Pimental, the star and real life subject of the film, MUSIC WITHIN. A group of fifty people got the chance to ask the three men; what it's like to play someone who is literally standing just off camera, what it feels like to see the pivotal moments in your life sometimes altered to satisfy dramatic structure, and what it's like as a director to navigate between those two men as you make your movie.

Wet Deck Chats are offered free to anyone, so there is no better bargain if you're curious about the ever growing film industry being created right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, whether or not you can actually make money by marketing your movie on My Space, how difficult it is to make a movie that means more than how to out jump a flaming fireball, and whether or not a film can actually be truly scary and yet have genuine laughs within it or how far you can go with the gore before it cuts into the yucks.


Ten Burning Questions: Martin Hynes

Zooey Deschanel in director Martin Hynes' The Go-Getter

If the true journey taken in a great road movie is the distance from innocence to experience or the lack of knowledge of oneself to an existential handshake, then Martin Hynes' THE GO-GETTER (screening Friday, 3/23 at 7:15PM and Saturday, 3/24 at 4:30PM) racks up some impressive miles on its odometer. Starring Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel and Jena Malone the film follows the progress of a young man after he steals a car to try and find his long-lost brother fueled by the phone conversations he has along the way with the owner of the stolen car.

1. What inspired you to write THE GO-GETTER?

The story's mostly autobiography, twisted around enough to make Mercer more reckless and cool than I've ever been.

2. You’ve said that some Christians have responded to the spiritual element in the film, particularly the idea of getting second chances in life and how love affects that. So, is this the first in the Born Again Road Movie genre?

I'm not religious, and given the fairly raw language and sexuality in the film, I don'’t think we'll be asked on the 700 Club. But a group of seminary students were at one of the Sundance screenings, and they were intrigued by the threads of spiritual confusion that run through Mercer's road trip.

3. What is the best thing about having your film at AFI DALLAS?

David Lynch makes films without compromise or convention; it's great to be part of any festival that hands him an award.

4. Was the decision to shoot the film in sequence in the actual locations depicted weighted more on which side - creative or economic?

Shooting in sequence was an entirely creative decision, much to the chagrin of my line producer and AD; Lou - and all of us - needed to go on the trip.

5. What should a director do that they never think of until it's almost too late?

In my case, the answer was "stop acting in his own films." When your acting runs the gamut of emotions from A to B, it handcuffs your storytelling.

6. Seriously, is the Taylor really necessary between the Lou and the Pucci?

If you're as talented as Lou, you can call yourself whatever the hell you want. On set we call him Pooch, and he calls me things we can't print here.

7. How often do you bring up your Pixie Award nomination for GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE while directing your actors?

Few words bespeak respect and gravitas quite as much as "Pixie." It's every young leading man's dream just to be nominated.

8. Zooey Deschanel or Jena Malone - Which one would be more okay with you stealing her car if she thought you were cute?

I can say with some authority - neither. And I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologize and ask them both to drop the charges.

9. What was the last film that made you cry? Laugh out loud?

HALF NELSON hit me pretty hard, but what honestly makes me cry is stuff like "Merry Christmas you old Building and Loan!" or Redford running the bases in THE NATURAL - the old triumph of the human spirit crap. As for comedy, that phone call bit that Kevin Kline and Maya Rudolph do in PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION is perfect and pure.

10. Popcorn or candy?

Both, always. But please call it Popcorn Taylor Popcorn.

By John Wildman, Staff Writer


Taking Fine Art Out of the Museum

From threats by dictators to roust outs by police, these films show the art world can be a dangerous place.
  • The Rape of Europa, 7:30 p.m., March 26 @ Magnolia (and 5:15 p.m., March 27 @ Magnolia
  • Next: A Primer on Urban Painting, 9:45 p.m., March 30 @ AFC
  • Troll Concerto – part of Shorts Program 2, 2:15 p.m., March 24, AFC (again at 9:45 p.m., March 25, @ AFC)
  • 4 Minute Matisse - part of Shorts Program 3. 12:15 p.m., March 25 @ AFC (and again at 9:45 p.m., March 26 @ AFC)
The Rape of Europa - Is it possible to engage in war without destroying culture? THE RAPE OF EUROPA, a 2006 documentary by Bonni Cohen and Richard Berge, attempts to answer this question while vividly cataloging Adolph Hitler’s lesser-known yet far-reaching war against European art. "Here you had the highest aspirations of our nature under threat,” Cohen says. "Art and war, side by side."

Next: A Primer on Urban Painting - Meanwhile, director Pablo Aravena’s documentary NEXT: A PRIMER OF URBAN PAIINTING gives an inside look at the global art phenomenon
most commonly known as graffiti. Hopping from New York to Japan, Berlin to Brazil, and London to Paris, Aravena delves into the works and minds of a dozen "urban painters" and aims to dismiss the notion that their creations are merely vandalism. "At the end of the day, it is young people being creative," he says. "It is [our] nature to transgress barriers and push the envelope of free speech."

Troll: Concerto - In the not-too-distant world of TROLL CONCERTO, art as we know it is dying. Crafted by Canadian director Alexandre Franchi, this fantasy-driven short ponders a world the Muses have abandoned, a world where a violins are used for dueling, and a world where a young cellist named Frida is taken hostage by a disgruntled (and now unemployed) troll.

4 MINUTE MATISSE - TCU instructor Gregory Mansur's 4 Minute Matisse, a witty short film conceived for (and winner of) the Dallas 24 Hour Video Race, takes a look at art as something to be taken. Following three female cat burglars from Dallas on their mission to grab and go, the film itself was a do-or-die experience. "We started brainstorming at 12:30am," says Mansur. "We got our first shot by 4:15 am, had the film in the can by 1 pm, and finished scoring and editing by 11:15 pm." Viola! Who says art takes time?

by Chad Jones, Staff Writer


Who Are These People? AFI DALLAS Staff

AFI DALLAS Staff: Just a few of the people who are bringing you an unbelievable ten days of great moves.


Actor's Corner: Laura Jordan

Laura Jordan crosses generations in her most recent two roles

Actress Laura Jordan places her stamp on the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival by playing a punk rock bride to be in the comedy THE NIGHT OF THE WHITE PANTS (screening Friday 3/23 at 9:30PM) and a budding student movement war protester in the 60’s time capsule BERKELEY (screening Friday 3/23 at 10:15PM). Whether she is playing verbal ping pong between Nick Stahl and Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson in the
former or serving as the lead character’s fiery muse in the latter, Jordan makes both movies "go" whenever she's onscreen.

Q: Is it harder to play a character who does a lot of drugs and sleeps with another man several years older than her on her wedding night or a character who doesn't shave her legs?

A: Both Felicia (White Pants) and Sadie (Berkeley) are confident women with few inhibitions, and they don’t give a shit what people think. I have a lot of fun playing strong, impulsive women. There is maybe more Sadie in me, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a wild side too.

Q: You worked with a female director (Amy Talkington) in THE NIGHT OF THE WHITE PANTS and a male director (Bobby Roth) in BERKELEY. What is a general difference in style between the two that someone not on the set wouldn't naturally assume?

A: I'm not sure what people would naturally assume, but every director works differently and not necessarily because they are male or female. And every actor has different needs. This is a very special relationship. Both Bobby and Amy are friends with their actors, they support us and that's important for me. Bobby could be hard on me at times but that was a good thing.

Q: Both films were labors of love for the filmmakers. How much difference does that make for you as actor while you're filming? And afterwards?

A: It makes all the difference for me. These are the projects I look for. They don't have a huge budget, so everyone involved most likely feels some passion or connection to the project. And you have to fight to get it made. I like that.

Q: You studied French at The University of Paris. What would be your second choice of foreign university and language?

A: Oh, wow, that would be a great choice to have. I actually grew up speaking French and studied literature in Paris. This is tough, maybe somewhere completely different, like Japan. I spent time in Poland once and started to catch on a little - an Eastern European language would be cool too.

Q: What's it like to do a love scene with the director's son?

A: Ha, ha. Bobby would like that question. No, I don’t think it felt any different from the awkwardness of any make-out scene. You just sort of do it. I know when I auditioned for the role, I didn't know it was his son and I really challenged him, and Bobby got a kick out of it.

Q: Or an Academy Award nominee?

A: I don't think I was considering that in the moment.

Q: In real life would you be a punk rock bride or a traditional June bride?

A: Something simple and not too planned.

by John Wildman, Staff Writer


The Lloyds: Funny Is the Family Business

Suzanne Lloyd

Actress and film preservation advocate Suzanne Lloyd is sick. She has bronchitis; she also has Strep Throat. Her doctor has told her to take it easy. And she's going to miss the first day of the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival because of it.

None of this is keeping her from talking almost non-stop about her grandfather, Harold Lloyd, the great comedic actor.

"He was the inventor of romantic comedy," she says. "He did about five 'thrill' films, where he ran around and climbed on stuff, but the majority are about romance and the funny experiences of an ordinary guy."

Suzanne will introduce a free showing of two Lloyd films, BILLY BLAZES, ESQ. and SAFETY LAST! (the one where he hangs off a clock tower), at 7:30 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center on Sunday.

The screening is special to her, because SAFETY LAST! was the last film in which her grandmother, Mildred Davis, played his leading lady. "After its release, he married her. So it's very personal to me. I was basically raised by my grandparents," she says.

Though Lloyd is best known for his madcap antics, Suzanne says his legacy is really based in his determination to relate to everyday people.

"When he assumed his glasses character," she says, "he felt strongly that he didn't want to be a grotesque or make it seem like he was wearing a costume. At the time glasses weren't the fashion statement they are today. People who had to wear them were geeks, nerds and just normal people. He actually made glasses fashionable."

In his films, Lloyd plays funny characters, for sure. But they're characters with foibles that anybody with a normal life can relate to: taxi drivers, college freshmen, a guy with a flat tire.

Suzanne also admires Lloyd's drive and determination to perform after an accident on the set of 1920's Haunted Spooks, his third film with Mildred, nearly ended his career.

"He was shooting stills and thought it'd be funny to have a shot where he was lighting a cigarette off a bomb. It was supposed to be a fake bomb but it wasn't. He lost half his right hand and temporarily lost his sight in both eyes."

Lloyd did his own stunts, so losing part of his hand could have interfered with his ability to perform. But he had a special glove made and continued his career.

"When he recovered, he went right back and started working on the same scene that he had the accident on," Suzanne says.

She has recently completed preservation work on 28 of her grandfather's films and released them with New Line Home Video. It's the first time Lloyd’s work has been available for DVD collectors.

"I learned preservation from him. He was involved in his own films and the artwork. He gave me a wonderful jewel with his work."

BILLY BLAZES, ESQ. and SAFETY LAST! screen Saturday March 24, 7:30pm, at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

by Marc Lee – Editor