I began writing this blog post back in February, the day after I arrived in Denton, Texas for the Thin Line Film Festival. In case you don’t know what Thin Line is and don’t feel like clicking the link, here’s their summary:
“Thin Line Film Fest is an international documentary film festival held in Denton, Texas – just north of Dallas / Fort Worth. The 6th Annual festival is February 8-18, 2013. For eleven days we screen a diverse program of high quality, relevant documentary films culled from hundreds of submissions. Some films will come straight from their debut at Sundance. Others will have screened everywhere but here; and yet some will be brand new stories from unkown filmmakers.”
Put short, it’s the only all-documentary film festival in Texas. And I had a great time there.
So I’ll try to throw this into a rough-chronological scale, and am back-dating this post just so that I can attempt to put all of this in a timeline down the line. But here’s where my blog entry began:
“Last night I flew into DFW on route to the thin Line film Festival. No sooner than the plane landed, I turned on my phone and found a text message from my ‘drivers’ LuAnne and Saul.”
And that’s where it ends. So I got wrapped up in the festival fun but here’s my recap:
LuAnne and Saul texted me prior to landing to let me know that they were there to pick me up. Efficient, friendly, what more can you ask for? As soon as I got off the plane, I wandered to the curb and there they were. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed by their friendliness, which is a wonderful thing. They talked my ear off which was just the thing I needed arriving in a place completely foreign to me. After pointing out points of interest on our drive from DFW to Denton, they dropped me off at the hotel – provided to me by the festival (major thanks there!). Thank goodness it was a big clean comfortable room.
I got in rather late so I got settled in and went to bed. First thing next morning I hopped a festival shuttle over to the “downtown” area, which is more of a 1-block square, with a few streets on either end. Nice and quaint with one entire block made up of coffee and antique malls (okay, maybe there’s some other stuff too, but ANTIQUE MALLS!). I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and awaited the arrival of my beautiful and talented grad school bud, Patty Espinosa, who drove up from her job at NBC DFW. We chatted for a bit, and then walked to my screening at the Campus Theater in downtown Denton.
As we walked into the theater we were greeted by two kind women. They stood behind a table covered in brochures and a donation box. They had just set up and asked if I didn’t mind taking a photo for them. It was only just after I took their photo that we put 2 and 2 together and realized that they were there for the Denton Animal Shelter foundation, and were hosting the block of films that Past Their Prime was playing in. They explained that they thought that it would be a perfect pair for them, and they were excited to be there, sponsoring it. What a wonderful treat, to learn that my film was partnered with such a great cause!
From there we wandered into the Campus theater, taking a seat near the back (prime seating for reading the energy of the room). People trickled in, not in great numbers, but a nice collection of early day audience members. The lights went down, and the show began.
Past Their Prime screened with a few other shorts: Ned Abdul Needs More Retail Space by Daniel Schneidkraut, Sebastian by Dan Duran & Katie Valovcin, and Wolf Mountain by Brendan Nahmias, Dan Duran, & Sam Price-Waldman.
After the screening, all of us filmmakers went on stage to field questions in a Q&A with the audience. It’s always wonderful to be present at a screening to have the opportunity to talk with the audience. A special thank you goes out Gadi Elkon for the two Q&A photos and write-up of the opening weekend of the festival. You can find it all here: Pearl Snap Discount .
The rest of the weekend I’ll describe in photos:
Patty recommended that we hit up Fuzzy’s Tacos for lunch before she headed home.
After Patty left, I wandered around Denton.
I wandered into a few shops, checked out the antique mall
And as the sun began to fall and the sky got cold and grey, I headed back to the Campus Theater to catch a ride to the hotel to prepare for the evening. After a bit of a break and a lovely chat while with Saul (previously one of the drivers who picked me up from the airport, and who on this occasion, drove me to the hotel to change) I returned to downtown Denton for “Beers from around the world.” At this event I got to know a number of the other filmmakers better, including 3 of the filmmakers from my block, Katie, Dan, and Sam, and one of the other short film directors, Matthew Hashiguchi, director of The Lower 9: A Story of Home.
Matt and I connected over beers and a fondness of OSU, but before long it was time to find our next activity. Between 2 film options we decided to go to “Dinner at the No-Gos.” I’m not generally critical of other works, but this is one that I would prefer I never saw. When I watch a documentary I want to be drawn into a story and watch it unfold. Unfortunately, in this case we both felt as though this film had attempted to manipulate the audience, and was laid out in a format that would probably be better suited for the web, than a feature.
After that, we moved onto Shorts Block #2, where The Lower 9 played. The variety of films in this block was refreshing. Aside from Matt’s film, I particularly liked Sterling Hallard Bright Drake, by Robert Sickels. SHBD has played with PTP in a few festivals in the past but I hadn’t had the opportunity to see it before.
After the screenings they too had a Q&A session before leaving (Matthew Hashiguchi, pictured center).
Then we walked to the after party at Sweetwater Bar, passing Downtown Denton all lit up.
Enjoyed a few drinks and headed back to the hotel for the night.
The next morning I had breakfast, packed my bags, and got ready to go downtown for another screening at the Campus Theater. We saw the feature doc Get Together Girls, by Vanessa Crocini. With time to spare before I had to head to the airport, Matt and I walked around Denton and checked out the various shops, like an old record store, on what became a beautiful sunny day.
And before long it was time to return home.
Almost a week after I returned home I received a text message from LuAnn, the driver that picked me up from the airport and was a welcome friendly face throughout the festival. She texted to let me know that Past Their Prime won the award for “Best Short” at the festival. So all in all, a great trip, and icing on the cake.