A No Wave Theme And A Neil Hamburger Appearance Highlight Early 2015 Oak Cliff Film Festival Deets.
Once upon a time, Oak Cliff had a reputation as being one of Dallas' seedier hoods. Of course, that rep has for the most part long since subsided. And yet there are still those out there who don't quite get the active cultural community that's blossoming just across the Trinity River from Downtown Dallas.
If you fall in this latter set, you should probably get your head out of your ass. Also, you should know this: The upcoming Oak Cliff Film Festival probably isn't for you.
As for everyone else, though? Well, there's a lot to like about this upstart event. Since launching four years ago, the team behind the Oak Cliff Film Festival has firmly established its annual event as one that truly embraces its Oak Cliff roots.
“The focus of the OCFF is hyper-locality,” says Barak Epstein, who, along with his fellow Texas Theatre co-owners, also serves as one of the co-founders of the Oak Cliff Film Festival.
And so, instead of spreading their festival out throughout Dallas, all of the OCFF's venues are located within a pretty small radius. Rather than dump its attendees at theaters spread out across our regional sprawl as so many other festivals do, OCFF exclusively shows its movies at the Texas Theatre, the Kessler Theater, the Bishop Arts Theatre Center and Jefferson Tower. That's all by design: Epstein says he and his team want the festival to highlight the Oak Cliff neighborhood so as to emphasis the ways in which one's local theater truly serves as a cultural hub.
That's certainly true of the Texas Theatre, which regularly hosts concerts and other cultural events in its space. But, beyond that, keeping the festival in close quarters also provides the OCFF a more intimate and fun feel. No one wants to attend a festival where you have to jump in your car and speed across town to get from screening to screening.
Also? No one wants some boring-ass, direction-less fest, either. No worries there at this year's OCFF, which will take place June 11 through June 14 and will be taking inspiration from the No Wave movement of the '70s and '80s — not only for its booking, but also for the do-it-yourself mentality embodied by artists of that generation.
In other words: For any local film fan looking for a unique experience, this festival is a must.
Need more proof? Well, to whet our appetites, four films booked to screen at OCFF '15 have already been announced. Here's the lowdown on those.
• Rick Alverson's follow-up to the OCFF '13 award-winning The Comedy, Entertainment looks into Gregg Turkington's portrayal of the revered comedy character Neil Hamburger, as well as the plight of taking on such a surrealistic persona. Even better: Following the screening, Turkington will assume his Hamburger character and take the Texas Theatre stage for a live performance.
• Starring Colbie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, The Avengers), Kris Swanberg's Unexpected, which will screen on the Jefferson Tower rooftop, tells the tale of an inner-city high school teacher coming to grips an unexpected pregnancy at the same time as her students face the very same.
• The Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents takes look into the lore of subculture musical icons The Residents and their influence on experimental multimedia art forms. The film will screen at the Kessler Theater, which hosted a concert from the anonymous band back in 2013.
• A documentary that looks into a trio of no-budget short films called the Beaver Trilogy that were made in the '80s but not widely screened until their 2001 premiere at Sundance, Beaver Trilogy Part IV looks into the early days of DIY filmmaking while, says Epstein, answering the age-old question of what Crispin Glover, Sean Penn and Olivia Newton John could possibly have in common? Providing some context and leading up to OCFF '15, the original Beaver Trilogy will be screened at the Texas Theatre on June 6.
Also announced early are two cool events worth keeping in mind.
• No Wave film pioneer Nick Zedd, who acclaimed director Jim Jarmusch has hailed as “a seminal figure in the New York Underground,” will make an OCFF '15 appearance to share his thoughts on that scene's extended influence.
• Keeping in line with OCFF's often music-inclined ethos, the festival has also teamed up with Transmission Events to play host to a performance from iconic garage rock act The Sonics at the Texas Theatre on Saturday, June 13. Local punk heroes Mind Spiders will open.
The full OCFF program will be released Monday, May 18. Epstein promises 25 features and 50 short films in that reveal. Until then, early-bird VIP passes, which afford purchases priority access to screenings and access to free booze at various festival parties, can be purchased right here for $175.