Dallas International Film Festival Offers Spring Preview This Weekend

The Dallas International Film Festival won't happen until this fall. But you can get an advance look at several of the featured movies this weekend, April 29 to May 1, at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars just south of downtown Dallas.

Here's a peek at DIFF films you can see this weekend.

Get ready for a bite-sized DIFF this weekend.

The Dallas International Film Festival won’t happen until this fall. But you can get an advance look at several of the featured movies this weekend, April 29 to May 1, at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars just south of downtown Dallas.

“We’re excited to give movie lovers a reason to get out to the theater, especially with how we’ve all changed our viewing habits over the last three years,” said Scott Eustace, chairman of the Dallas Film board of directors, in a statement. “This is a precursor to our full celebration of film this fall when we’ll get to share art North Texans might not otherwise be exposed to, and to do so with illuminating context and participation from the filmmakers themselves. It’s the popcorn, it’s the people, and it’s the perfect complement—great programming.”

Weekend features film premieres and festival favorites

The DIFF Spring Preview Weekend will feature both film premieres and film festival favorites. Here’s a look at some of the showings that will be on offer. Descriptions are by DIFF:

“Cha Cha Real Smooth” [Photo: Dallas International Film Festival]

The Spring Preview opening night film will be Apple Original Films’ Cha Cha Real Smooth, a dramatic comedy written and directed by Dallas native Cooper Raiff. The audience winner at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, it was produced by and stars Dakota Johnson alongside Raiff, Leslie Mann, and Brad Garrett. It tells the story of a young man fresh out of college who begins working as a party starter on the local bar/bat mitzvah circuit, where he strikes up a unique friendship with a young mother and her teenage daughter. Raiff’s first film was scheduled to debut at DIFF 2020. 

“Happening” [Photo: Dallas International Film Festival]

Happening is an IFC drama that won the grand jury prize at the 2021 Venice Film Festival and releases in early May. An adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s eponymous novel directed by Audrey Diwan, it looks back on her experience with abortion when it was still illegal in France in the 1960s.

“Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story” [Photo: Dallas International Film Festival]

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story is a documentary directed by Frank Marshall and Ryan Suffern. The a Sony Pictures Classics release was a hit at SXSW. The film captures the signature annual music and cultural event called America’s greatest festival in all of its beauty and glory, delving into the deep and rich culture of The Big Easy with Jimmy Buffett, Gary Clark Jr., Al Green, Tom Jones, Katy Perry, Pitbull, Aaron Neville, and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

“Bad Axe” [Photo: Dallas International Film Festival]

Bad Axe, an IFC documentary directed by David Siev, is a real-time portrait of 2020 as it unfolded for an Asian-American family in Donald Trump’s rural America. It shows the family’s fight to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Killing Fields.

“Corsicana” [Photo: Dallas International Film Festival]

Corsicana is a Western movie shot and produced in Texas. It was directed by Isaiah Washington and set in Corsicana, an hour south of Dallas in Navarro County. The film tells the story of Deputy United States Marshal Bass Reeves reuniting with a former partner turned fugitive, and an ex-Union sharpshooter. The trio are in a race against time as they track a vicious outlaw gang of killers to the oil-rich Texas town. It stars Washington alongside Noel Gugliemi, Stacey Dash, Kevin Gage, and Major Dodge Lew Temple.

Spring Preview films ‘run the gamut’

“The Spring Preview films run the gamut of genres from independent filmmakers, some of them Dallas’ own,” said James Faust, artistic director of the Dallas International Film Festival, in the statement. “The artistic process involved in creating a compelling film event is rewarding as we go beyond the box office to understand and explore the artistic process poured into each film. It’s going to be a moving movie weekend.”

Tickets for individual film screenings for the 2022 DIFF Spring Preview Weekend are available here at or the box office at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars. Additionally, early bird DIFF Star Passes and DIFF Passes can be purchased at a special price during the Spring Preview, DIFF says.

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