DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Hollywood spotlight shines in Big D this week. The city is set to host the fifth annual Dallas International Film Festival. With nearly 200 films on the roster, there is sure to be something for everyone. The Angelika Film Center in Dallas is just one of about a dozen venues across the city that will show some of this year’s motion pictures.
The Dallas Film Society said that, this year, the movies will do more than entertain. Rather, the collection of films being shown in Dallas aim to educate audience about various social issues. The Dallas Film Society is set to roll out the red carpet for some of Hollywood’s celebrity A-list and the local talents who created these movies.
“It’s everything from small indie films, studio films, family films,” said Dallas Film Society chairman Michael Cain. “Texas filmmakers, documentaries, animation – just a total celebration of cinema.” In fact, 165 films are set to premiere at the festival, which kicks off on Wednesday.
“Our hope is that we’re a part of helping create a voice for Texas in cinema,” Cain said.
Rachel Shepherd is among the local filmmakers who will be making their world debuts here in Dallas. “I’m excited to show it to people,” Shepherd said about her film, “Traveling.” It was shot and produced in North Texas. “I’m really excited for people to see it, respond to it. It’s a film, I hope, that can touch any audience.”
“‘Traveling’ is the story of three people who are looking for family,” Shepherd explained, “and they find that connection on a road trip.”
Joining Shepherd on the big screen during the festival is Dallas commercial producer Rocky Powell. With the flick “Language of a Broken Heart,” Powell adds feature filmmaker to his resume. “It’s about an author who writes a novel about love,” Powell said. “Yet, he’s a failure at it. In all his relationships, he usually gets dumped.”
Although Powell’s film technically takes place in New York and Illinois, most of it was shot here in Dallas. “I don’t think you’d know that we shot 99 percent of it here in Dallas,” Powell said.
The festival’s 11-day run has quickly grown in popularity and prestige, putting Dallas on the map in the film festival circuit. “The city has embraced us as one of the 20 top film festivals in North America in just the past five years,” Cain said. “So, that tells you a lot about how people feel about film being a gateway to the arts.”
A red carpet event on Wednesday at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas kicks off this year’s event, where silver screen legend Ann-Margret will be honored. In addition to the films, education classes will be offered, and discussions will follow each film to help viewers embrace the topics and the films’ influence on social issues.