The future is bright for those who love watching and making movies in Dallas, as the North Texas Film Festival (NTXFF) is a new launchpad for cinema creativity.
The first-ever NTXFF, hosted by Dallas Film, is set to screen more than 20 features for its inaugural year. Held Sept. 26-29 at Cinemark West Plano and XD, the event hopes to introduce Dallas audiences to something new. But, that’s not all it’s bringing—the event will also feature nightly red carpets, Q&As with filmmakers, and live music, all with the aim to convert Dallas-Fort Worth into movie maniacs.
“Dallas Film’s goal with the North Texas Film Festival, the Dallas International Film Festival, Veterans Institute for Film & Media, and High School Film Labs, is to position Dallas and North Texas as a viable economy for producing film and digital content,” Johnathan Brownlee, CEO and president of Dallas Film and executive director of DIFF and NTXFF, told Dallas Innovates.
A number of industries have the potential to dominate in Dallas, and local film professionals are hoping to be one.
“Dallas is one of the largest media markets in the country. Many industries are relocating to this here for several reasons—it’s affordable, geographically attractive, it has two airports, and there’s no state income tax,” Brownlee says. “We are investing in growing our four core programs to lead the film, TV, and digital media industry’s growth here in Texas, but there is currently minimal financial incentives from the state and local governments to produce here.”
Brownlee is no stranger to creating a film ecosystem that includes everything from production to promotion, and he is ready to do that in Texas, starting with Dallas.
“I grew up in Toronto and understand what it takes to build a vibrant production hub and film festival. TIFF (The Toronto International Film Festival) did not start like the powerhouse it is today,” Brownlee says. “It was barely a blip on the festival map. But there was an incredible will in both the public and private sector to build a culturally rich and arts diverse city that included film.”
It’s thanks to partners like Capital One who see the future of film in Texas that all the movie magic can take place. The company is excited to create events and opportunities to showcase what Dallas has to offer.
Many facets go into creating a thriving creative industry, and it cannot be done alone.
“Dallas needs both state and local incentive packages like the ones they give other industries, and the private sector needs to continue to invest in growing The Dallas International Film Festival as it becomes a top 5, a destination film festival with celebrity and studio clout,” Brownlee says.
What to expect at NTXFF
The curated film lineup at the festival will feature everything from sports and romance, to Oscar winners and family classics, to the Best of DIFF (popular films from the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival).
Dallas Film partnered with The Star in Frisco to host two special screenings on Sept. 28 with a 10th-anniversary showing of “The Blind Side” and a 15th-anniversary showing of “Friday Nights Lights.”
Stars will be at The Star as leading roles from both films plan to walk the carpet and take part in a Q&A. Quinton Aaron, who brought Michael Oher’s story to the big screen in “The Blind Side,” and Brad Leland and Grover Coulson of “Friday Night Lights” are both attending.
Eager to show the female fire in the Dallas area, additionally on Sept. 28, there are special screenings of two powerful films: “Back of the Net,” an original Disney Channel movie following the story of a young girls’ soccer journey, and a short about a young girl and her recently deceased grandmother directed by Farah White. And, that same day will be show a variety of special programing features from the event partners, like shorts from EarthXFilm.
If horror is more your thing, Dallas Film is bringing the scares through a partnership with FANGORIA Magazine. NTXFF will be showing two curated screenings of “Re-Animator” and “Poltergeist,” with exclusive introductions from the FANGORIA vaults.
The North Texas Film Festival is also partnering with the Veterans Institute for Film and Media, a Dallas Film program that prepares veterans for careers in film and media productions. “A New Leash on Life: A K9’s for Warriors Story” will have a screening, as well as various blocks of films created by veterans or featuring military service. On Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. there will be a moderated panel with veterans, specialists, and filmmakers as well.
Through a partnership with both Vans and 4DWN, NTXFF will be honoring the screening of “The Tony Alva Story,” with a skateboarding exhibition. On Sept. 29, the films’ directors, Rick Charnoski and Coan “Buddy” Nichols, will be walking the red carpet and participating in a Q&A.
If you’re interested in attending, reserved seating is available through a partnership with Veezi and Atom Tickets.
Veezi is responsible for behind-the-scenes functionality, providing different levels of passes with its loyalty system and delivering tickets right to festivalgoers’ phones. Atom offers an innovative ticketing platform that runs on the customer-facing side of things.
“So much peace of mind comes from knowing you’ve got reserved seats to the films you want to see, and it elevates the festival experience,” Brownlee says. “Festivalgoers can focus on having fun and forego the stress of standing in lines worrying about seats.”
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