We were very excited to receive press passes for Dallas VideoFest 26. Never having gone before, we went in with open minds and no expectations and it definitely did not disappoint. VideoFest 26 began Wednesday, October 9th at Gilley’s with a 1960s Mad Men theme, a performance by The Ruby Revue, and a screening of True Tales. True Tales centered on Nancy Myers, “aka “Tammi True,” who was a top performer at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. After the film Nancy was on hand for a Q&A as well as photo opportunities. Not only was the film very well directed and put together but Nancy is a natural born performer and captivated the audience.
On Friday, we made our way to the Alamo Drafthouse which has a great menu selection, comfortable chairs, and excellent service. This was also our first time at this new theater and we were excited to check it out. The VideoFest volunteers greeted you as soon as you walked through the door and did an excellent job of answering any questions that we may have had. The Alamo Drafthouse features a bar with local brews on tap which was a nice surprise. Finding our way to our seats, we were greeted by a friendly waitress and ordered our food which came quickly. The first film we saw was You Don’t Need Feet to Dance – a story about Sidiki Conde, an African immigrant who despite a disability, creates a life in New York City as a performing artist. One thing we found most appealing about this film is that there wasn’t a big ending or great resolution. It was a documentary and showed you a moment in time in Sidiki’s life. It was also pretty impressive that it was filmed with a handheld and a crew of about 5 people. The next movie Vessel brought up the sensitive topic of abortion and the work of Women on Waves. Being that it came from a first-time director, the movie was done very well and integrated animation to help tell the story. This movie was shown in the same shopping center, a short walk from the Drafthouse in the Video Cafe. While some may have found it to be annoying to have to go to another location for a movie, I found it to be quite nice to get outside and take a little break from movie watching.
Sunday was a full day of movies. It started in the Video Cafe with Lucky. The movie showed us a side of life that is rarely seen. Lucky, a homeless mother has high hopes for life but with facial tattoos and a lack of direction, she often finds more doors closed than open. The movie was impressively shot and made you forget that you were looking through a camera and you felt like you were experiencing life with Lucky. Up next was When I Walk. This was one movie that I really wanted to see. Jason DeSilva, a filmmaker, was diagnosed with MS while in his mid-20s. The film showed the reality of life with MS and didn’t sugar coat anything. It was a true look inside his life and everything that came with it.
After a nice break and a great burger from Haystack, a small burger place in the same shopping center as the Drafthouse, we made our way to see Soft in The Head which won for best narrative feature. The main character is a mess and without full purpose, destroys everything in her path while staying with a hot mess of guys in a shelter fun by goodhearted Maury. The next film was City of Hate which explored Dallas before, during, and after President Kennedy’s death. It definitely put a new perspective on the assassination and the city of Dallas as a whole. The only thing about this movie is that I felt it could have continued; that there was something missing but I wasn’t sure what. Other than that, it was an excellent film.
By the end of the day, we weren’t sure if we were going to make it but we only had one more set of short films to go. The Texas Show is a collection of short films make by Texas filmmakers. Some had been doing this for a while and for some, this was their first big project. It was a variety of films and kept my attention the whole time.
All in all, for our first time, VideoFest 26 was a great experience and we thank Kelly J. Kitchens for the opportunity to be a part of it.