“Music Within” has already screened at the Palm Springs and Santa Barbara film festivals in California. The film stars Ron Livingston, Melissa George, Michael Sheen, Hector Elizondo, Rebecca DeMornay, and Yul Vasquez in the story of a public speaker with a troubled past. Polley’s directorial debut, “Away from Her,” shows the struggles of a man who is coping with the institutionalization of his wife because of Alzheimer’s disease and encounters an unbearable emotional conflict when her affections become directed at another man. The film stars Julie Christie, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy, and Gordon Pinsent.
Honorees for this first edition of the festival include a multitude of familiar names who will receive the AFI Dallas Star. The list includes Lauren Bacall, Jack Valenti, David Lynch, Laura Dern, Marvin Hamlisch, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Sarah Polley, and Veronique Peck on behalf of Gregory Peck, celebrating of the 45th anniversary of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the 40th Anniversary of AFI where he served as its first chairman of the board.
A total of twenty-four titles will be at hand for the Signature and Centerpiece Screenings sections of the festival, presented as red carpet events in Dallas. The lineup for the first AFI Dallas fest includes titles in the narrative feature and international documentary competition, along with films in the documentary special presentation, Deep Ellum Sounds, Special Presentation, Dallas Premiere Series, Texas Competition, World Cinema, American Visions, Mavericks, Family Friendly, Animation Competition, Midnight Specials, and Tribute Screenings sections. Also, films from emerging directors will be screened in the Student Competition, SMU Presents and Shorts Competition sections.
Films set for the narrative competition include Lanre Olabisi’s “August The First,” Alejandro Gomez Monteverde’s “Bella,” Brad Gann’s “Black Irish,” Thomas Stiller’s “The Boy Without Qualities” (Der Junge ohne Eigenschaften), Joseph Greco’s “Canvas,” Eva Aridjis’ “The Favor,” Martin Hynes’ “The Go-Getter,” Steve Burns’ “The Good Life,” Michael Schroeder’s “Man In The Chair,” Steen Agro’s “Shut Up and Shoot Me,” and Derek Sieg’s “Swedish Auto.”
Films for the international documentary competition include Darryl Roberts’ “America The Beautiful,” Robert Kelly’s “Borderlands,” Logan Smalley’s “Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life,” Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s “Kamp Katrina,” Joel P. Engardio and Tom Shepard’s “Knocking,” Socheata Poeuv’s “New Year Baby,” Richard Robbins’ “Operation Homecoming,” Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge, and Nicole Newnham’s “Rape of Europa,” Robert Stewart’s “Sharkwater,” and Grace Phan’s “Where the Sun Rises.”