OAK CLIFF FILM FEST
The best parties, concerts, and film screenings
Opened in 1931 (and reopened in 2010 after a series of financially-led closings) Oak Cliff’s Texas Theatre showcases film programming centered on cutting-edge European and art-house cinema and challenging musical lineups in its Behind the Screen series. Aviation Cinemas, which runs the theatre, also presents the city’s most interesting film fest, Oak Cliff Film Festival, which officially kicks off today.
Unlike other festivals motivated by national screenings and regional star-power, the OCFF focuses on collaboration with Dallas artists and musicians, left-of-center film screenings, and events that engage and embrace the Oak Cliff community. Here, a few of the bright highlights during the weekend of parties, film screenings, and arts events.
Bad Reputation—8 p.m., Texas Theatre
Punk rock legend Joan Jett is the subject of this documentary directed by Kevin Kerslake, who has crafted music videos for Rise Against, Sonic Youth, and Helmet.
Kerslake and writer/editor Joel Marcus will be in attendance for this premiere, making it a great opportunity for young and old punks alike to learn and engage the filmmakers on the intersection of DIY culture and filmmaking. Afterwards: Girls Rock Karaoke opening night party behind the screen hosted by DJ Mark Ridlin and Aaron Hillis!
The Passion of Joan of Arc—7 p.m., Texas Theatre
Danish filmmaker, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 black-and-white silent masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc, screens with a live score. Accompanying musicians include California-based George Sarah with String Quartet and featuring the Verdigris Ensemble.
The film is considered part of silent cinema’s foundation and features historic close-up shots of Renée Falconetti’s expressive facial gestures, which waver between blistering despair and glorious nirvana.
Meow Wolf: Origin Story After Party—11 p.m., Texas Theatre
Part of the Behind the Screen series, this party’s well-curated bill features beat-heavy bands Def Rain and Black Taffy; a DJ set by multi-hyphenate musician, Wanz Dover; and visuals by academic and visual artist, Sean Miller. It will be a shining example of what makes Texas Theatre such an artistic hub for Dallas artists and pair nicely with the documentary on the art collective Meow Wolf, which chronicles the strifes and strains affecting this microsom of independent energy in Sante Fe.
Top Ten Records Happy Hour—4 p.m., Top Ten Records
Step outside the theatre and enjoy to Jefferson Avenue, a bustling block with unique artistic hubs, gourmet Mexican restaurants, and pawn shops filled with hidden DVD gems. The newly renovated Top Ten Records features free Lonestar beer and an in-store performance by Jean Caffeine and DJ Mutarrancho.
There, say hello to Lily Taylor, one of the Dallas artists who’ll hold down the fort during open hours. A talented vocalist and DIY programmer, she works hard to provide one of the better selections of Dallas-based bands’ CDs and tapes.
Opuntia—7:30 p.m., El Sibil
For nearly three years, Nasher Sculpture Center has partnered with the Texas Theatre for special film screenings, bringing in sculptural works which raise questions about the intersection of art and cinema.
This year’s fest features a co-presenting of Opuntia, a continuation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s 1528 crossing of the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent spiritual interactions with various Native American groups that transformed the conquistador into a shaman. Director David Fenster attempts to connect with Cabeza through the pear cactus, Opuntia, which the shaman ate to survive while on his spiritual quest.
I Am Not A Witch—5:30 p.m., Bishop Arts Theatre
Promising to be one of the more intriguing screenings of the fest, this British import tells a story of eight-year-old Shula who shows up unannounced in a rural Zambian village. The film plays a modern parallel to The Crucible, and as fingers began to point and cries of “Witch!” break out amongst the community, Shula is sent off to a camp where she must make a choice: a life in ribbon-made chains or the dangers of escape.
Never Goin’ Back and After Party—8 p.m., Texas Theatre
Garland-born filmmaker, Augustine Frizzell presents her first full-length film, which the fest’s organizers categorize among the likes of Super Bad, Spring Breakers, and Thelma & Louis.The film follows Angela and Jessie, high school dropouts-turned-waitresses. After saving for a vacation to Galveston, a botched drug deal sends them to juvie instead. To save their trip, the duo must put their street smarts to use in the Dallas suburbs. Stay after for a party featuring DJ sets by Oak Cliff mainstays, George Quartz and Gabriel Mendoza. —Lee Escobedo
The Details, Oak Cliff Film Fest. June 14–17. $175 for the VIP Badge; $11.50 for individual screenings. Tickets and more details, available here.