Women Texas Film Festival, presented by Methodist Dallas Medical Center, has announced the official selections for the fourth year of the critically-acclaimed film festival, which focuses solely on the work of female filmmakers.
(Above: Still from the movie “Make Out Party”)
From Aug. 15 to 18, the festival will return to the historic Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd) and is expanding its reach across Dallas with screenings at Methodist Dallas’ David H. Hitt Auditorium (1441 North Beckley Avenue), and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Cedars (1005 S. Lamar St.).
Emily Cohn’s CRSHD opens the film festival, and Bridget Stokes’ Emmett (Boy Genius) is the Closing Night Selection. WTxFF has also continued to grow in terms of the number of films programmed, with this year’s edition nearly doubling the number of features that were offered last year to 17 feature-length films and 29 short films.
WTxFF founder and artistic director Justina Walford said, “It is getting harder and harder to contain within four days all of the amazing films I find. Women Texas Film Festival has grown every year and we have nearly doubled in content. Three locations. 17 features. So many short films that we selected out of an ocean of compelling short film submissions. And since our goal is to show the range of the female storyteller, you will see every genre, every style. The notion of gender behind the cam on the screen. As it should.”
Following a tradition began last year, WTxFF will celebrate its alumni and the top female filmmakers in Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas on the film festival’s red carpet, prior to the Opening Night Gala featuring Emily Cohn’s stylish debut, CRSHD, Aug. 15, at the Texas Theatre.
CRSHD follows three online-addled best friends at college on a mission to lose their virginities before their freshman year ends. That is when a prime opportunity presents itself when a Crush Party springs up. The rules are: you can submit your crush to have them invited to the party, but you can only get in yourself if somebody else crushes you. Naturally, our trio gets the idea to try and circumvent those rules in order to get in and take aim at their boy-targets.
Bridget Stokes’ Emmett (Boy Genius), an Audience Award and Best Actor (Blackish star Miles Brown) winner at the Newport Beach Film Festival will serve as the Closing Night selection on Aug. 18 at the Texas Theatre.
In the film, Emmett is a popular junior who also happens to be a highly imaginative twelve-year-old genius. After his brother is accused of being involved in a rash of thefts at school, Emmett must prove his innocence before his brother is sent off to a boarding school. As part of his plan, he recruits an SAT tutor and crime novelist to help him find the real culprit.
Known for its thematic parties that tie into the production style of its Opening Night Gala film selections, this year WTxFF will add to the Thursday presentation celebrating CRSHD, by hosting a special event Aug. 16 inspired by and featuring Emily Esperanza’s film Make Out Party.
The film is an outlandish, throw everything funny at the wall to see what sticks comedy about a trio of lively characters as they make their way through the city to attend a pin-up queen’s infamous make-out party. Along with the screening of the film, a live band, DJ set will add to the entertainment that will include a feminist spin on a kissing booth among other things to dovetail in a wild and wacky way with Esperanza’s film.
Every year, Women Texas Film Festival programs a selection of films that explore psychological, medical, and/or sociological issues. WTxFF has built a reputation of programming documentaries and narrative films that take tough, uncompromising looks at subjects in this realm and then expanding on the conversations those films inspire in the post-screening Q&As/panels.
This year is no different, with Methodist Dallas and Hitt Auditorium hosting selected films that fall under that umbrella, with a more dedicated and focused conversation to the topics addressed. The idea is to give these films and filmmakers a forum with which to immerse audience members in the topics and prompt frank and enlightening dialogue with the people that have just viewed their films. Many of the panels will be co-moderated by a representative from Methodist Dallas
Films screening at Methodist Dallas will include Giovanna Morales Vargas’s A Perfect 14, which explores the world of plus-size models fighting to reshape the fashion industry and beauty standards of society. Mindy Bledsoe returns to WTxFF with The IN-Between, a road trip movie teaming two women with medical issues on different missions: Mads (Jennifer Stone, Wizards of Waverly Place) needs to renew her driver’s license in South Dakota, while Junior needs to visit Portland, Oregon on a quest for her dead sister. Ron Vignone’s Two Ways Home (produced by Kimberly Busbee, Tanna Frederick, Tricia Linklater, and Vignone) focuses on a young woman living with bipolar disorder who struggles to win over the daughter she left behind as she works to honor her grandfather’s last wish by holding on to his farm.
Also screening at the Hitt Auditorium will be Gabrielle Zilkha’s Queering The Script, a documentary celebrating and exploring the television and streamed shows beloved by queer fangirls. Following the screening, Women Texas Film Festival will present a special panel discussion to delve further into the entertaining topic.
As always, WTxFF will give the horror/thriller genre its due with Carolina Hellsgård’s German zombie film, Ever After (Endgeist), about two young women trying to make their way through a treacherous zombie-filled countryside to one of the few remaining safe havens. Grace Glowicki’s Tito stars the director as the title character, a cisgendered male who befriends an obnoxious geek John (Ben Petrie), an intruder from next door who arrives in Tito’s life and refuses to leave. Amy Taylor’s Hunter’s Weekend adds some comedy to that scary mix, in its story about two park rangers, who try to survive their elite, invitation-only hunter’s weekend event that apparently included a killer among the invites. This year’s documentaries are highlighted by Chuck Smith’s Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground (produced by Elizabeth Stanton), which profiles the enigmatic and innovative filmmaker who became a powerful new voice in the city’s underground film scene at the age of 18, before making a completely unexpected conversion to Orthodox Judaism before her mysterious death at the age of 35.
Film festival passes and tickets are on sale now. VIP passes are $75 and allow access to all films, parties, and events, and Student passes (including access to all WTxFF parties and events) are $35. Individual tickets are $11.
For more information on the Women Texas Film Festival go to WomenTxFF.org. Click here to purchase passes or tickets.