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The 2015 Dallas International Film Festival Award Winners Are…

The Dallas Film Society has announced the winners of the 9th Annual Dallas International Film Festival’s competition series. This year’s Festival, presented by AutoNation, features 169 films representing 32 countries, with a total of 18 premieres including 11 World Premieres, three North American Premieres and four US Premieres.

Grand Jury Awards and Special Jury Prizes were presented for the Narrative Feature Competition, Short Film Competition and Texas Feature Competition during Dallas Film Society Honors, co-presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation, Sheri Deterling, Geoff Hawkes and the Highland Dallas, at The Highland Dallas. Grand Jury Awards were also given for the Documentary Feature Competition, Animated Short Competition and Student Short Competition.

And the winners are…

Narrative Feature Competition Grand Jury Award

RADIATOR (United Kingdom)

Director: Tom Browne

Cast: Richard Johnson; Gemma Jones; Daniel Cerqueira

A dark, difficult comedy concerning the middle aged Daniel who returns home to help his elderly parents, Leonard and Maria who live in squalor, eccentrically.


Narrative Feature Competition Special Jury Prize, Ensemble Acting

ECHOES OF WAR (USA) – World premiere

Director: Kane Senes

Cast: James Badge Dale; Ethan Embry; William Forsythe; Maika Monroe

A Civil War veteran returns home to the quiet countryside, only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between his family and the brutish cattle rancher harassing them.


Narrative Feature Competition Special Jury Prize, Cinematography

SOME BEASTS (USA) – World Premiere

Director: Cameron Nelson

Cast: Frank Mosley; Lindsay Burdge; Heather Kafka

Living in an insular farming community, Sal Damon, a modern-day Thoreau, seeks solace from a past relationship in Appalachia. After his neighbor dies and he discovers a feral child living on the lam, he must reconcile his place in a world that lives outside of the law.


Documentary Feature Competition Grand Jury Award


Director: Ben Powell

Dry land’s misfits find purpose and direction twenty-eight days at a time as the steady hands of a towboat due for the port of New Orleans. From a green deckhand following his father and grandmother into the family business, to a former convict working his way to First Mate, job by job; as long as the boat’s moving they’re making money.


Short Film Competition Grand Jury Award

THE CHICKEN (Germany/Croatia)

Director: Una Gunjak

The day-to-day life of a six-year-old girl growing up during unstable times in Sarajevo is shaken up when a chicken joins her family.


Short Film Competition Special Jury Prizes


Director: Kitty Green

Adorned in pink sequins, little girls from across a divided, war-torn Ukraine audition to play the role of gold medal-winning figure skater Oksana Baiul, whose tears of joy once united their troubled country.



Director: Ya’Ke Smith

A boy, who has never had to suffer the consequences for his actions, becomes severely addicted to internet violence, leading him to act out in violent ways himself.


Student Short Film Competition Grand Jury Award


Director: Natasha Raheja

Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short film is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City.


Animated Short Film Competition Award


Director: Don Hertzfeldt

A little girl is taken on a mind-bending tour of her distant future.


Texas Film Competition Grand Jury Award


Director: Michael Cohn

Cast: Luke Kleintank; Dermot Mulroney; Melora Walters; Austin Abrams; Brandon Smith; Lewis Tan

HANK (Luke Kleintank) is a handsome, multi-talented high school student who has just led his football team to a stunning victory during the biggest game of the season. Eager scouts are circling and Hank’s blue-collar parents, (played by Dermot Mulroney and Melora Walters), are counting on their golden boy to win a scholarship to a good college so he can enjoy a brighter future, far away from their hardscrabble life in Texas. Their younger son, TIM (Austin Abrams) more of a loser than a winner, idolizes his older brother and persuades Hank and his friends, KAZ (Brandon Smith) and BENNY (Lewis Tan), to let him tag along on their celebratory hunting trip. It is a decision they soon regret. Tim’s immature behavior after an accidental shooting leads to a series of bad decisions, a second wave of tragedy, and a hasty cover-up. Hank finds himself at the center of a desperate and rapidly deteriorating situation that tests his moral compass and threatens to destroy his family…and his dream.


Texas Film Competition Special Jury Prize

THE LOVE INSIDE (USA) – World Premiere

Director: Andy Irvine; Mark Smoot

Cast: Zachary Knighton; Joey Kern; Kat Foster; Betsy Phillips; Bryon Brown; Ashley Spillers; Indigo Rael

When Vaughn invites his closest friends to a cabin in rural Texas to meet his fiancée, he expects a relaxing weekend reminiscing about the old days. But when a friend arrives with his ex-girlfriend, long repressed feelings are reawakened and his engagement is suddenly thrown into doubt in this subversive romantic comedy.


Silver Heart Award


Director: Alexandria Bombach; Mo Scarpelli

After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own – reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves.


Narrative Feature Audience Award


Director: Tim Skousen

Cast: Alex Peters; Gavin Howe; Tanner Beard; Tom Nowicki; Hadley Eure

In a Hansel and Gretel-esque modern fairy tale, siblings Samantha (13) and William Paul (6) must survive on their own after a tragedy kills their family. They are placed in an abusive foster home, but when Samantha overhears that they are to be split up, they escape to live in a crumbling shack in the woods. Life is hard, but they receive help from a mysterious source. When supplies run out and William Paul falls ill, Samantha must find a way for them to survive – before it’s too late.


Documentary Feature Audience Award


Director: Dana Nachman

On one day, in one city, the world comes together to grant one 5 year old cancer patient his wish. BATKID BEGINS: THE WISH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD looks at the ‘why’ of this flash phenomenon. Why did the intense outpouring of spontaneous support for a child reverberate around the world and become one of the biggest ‘good news stories’ ever?


Short Film Audience Award


Director: James Johnston

Marcus is dealing with some serious shit but he can’t seem to talk to anyone about it.

Dallas International Film Festival Announces First 10 Films for 2015!

The Dallas Film Society announced the first 10 films chosen to screen at the 9th annual Dallas International Film Festival presented by AutoNation. The 2015 Festival, taking place April 9-19, will feature national and international films, as well homegrown selections. The Festival will also host the North American premiere of PLAYING IT COOL, a romantic comedy starring Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan. Making its world premiere at this year’s Festival is the Civil War drama ECHOES OF WAR, starring James Badge Dale, Ethan Embry and William Forsythe.

The Dallas Film Society is proud to announce that director John Landis will receive the Dallas Star Award at DFS Honors on Friday, April 17 at the Highland Hotel in Dallas. The Dallas Star Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to modern cinema and the advancement of the art of film. The award presentation will be followed by a special screening of John Landis’s 1980 comedy classic THE BLUES BROTHERS on Saturday, April 18. John Landis has left a lasting impression on the film world as director of many iconic comedies such as NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE, ¡3 AMIGOS!, COMING TO AMERICA, TRADING PLACES, and INTO THE NIGHT. John Landis also wrote and directed AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and the groundbreaking theatrical short MICHAEL JACKSON’S THRILLER.

“Confirming our first 10 films is a major milestone in producing our festival,” said James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society. “We plan to screen around 170 films this year, and are well on our way to selecting the best cinema has to offer. We’re also elated to mark the 35th anniversary of THE BLUES BROTHERS by honoring legendary filmmaker John Landis.”

The Festival will also celebrate the incredible life and career of Texas writer, actor and producer L.M. Kit Carson by featuring his 1983 film BREATHLESS. Carson is recognized for writing the Palme d’Or winning PARIS, TEXAS, and also for inventing the first ‘mockumentary’ with his film DAVID HOLZMAN’S DIARY.

Here are the first 10 films announced so far…


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Director: Richard Loncraine


Cast: Morgan Freeman; Diane Keaton; Cynthia Nixon

Synopsis: Over one crazy weekend, a long-time married couple discovers that finding a new apartment is not about winding down, but starting a new adventure.



Director: Daniel Junge


Synopsis: Millions know the man, but few know his story. In BEING EVEL, Academy Award® winning filmmaker Daniel Junge (SAVING FACE) and actor/producer Johnny Knoxville take a candid look at American daredevil and icon Robert “Evel” Knievel, while also reflecting on our voracious public appetite for heroes and spectacle.


ECHOS OF WAR (World premiere)

Director: Kane Senes


Cast: James Badge Dale; Ethan Embry; William Forsythe; Maika Monroe

Synopsis: A Civil War veteran returns home to the quiet countryside, only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between his family and the brutish cattle rancher harassing them.



Director: Ham Tran


Cast: Kieu Chinh; Jayvee Mai The Hiep; Ngoc Hiep Nguyen

Synopsis: A young girl falls into a river and drowns. When her body is found in a remote village along the river, her uncle arrives to claim her body, only to find that she is very much alive. But when she returns to her family, unexplainable occurrences lead them to believe she is possessed.



Director: Dax Phelan


Cast: Jason Tobin; Byron Mann; Sarah Lian

Synopsis: JASMINE is a gripping and chilling psychological thriller about a man still struggling to come to terms with his grief nearly a year after his wife’s unsolved murder.



Director: John Landis


Cast: John Belushi; Dan Aykroyd; James Brown; Cab Calloway; Ray Charles; Aretha Franklin; John Lee Hooker

Synopsis: Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised.



Director: Joshua Oppenheimer


Synopsis: In Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to the Oscar® nominated THE ACT OF KILLING, a family of survivors of the 1965 Indonesian genocide discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.


PLAYING IT COOL (North American Premiere)

Director: Justin Reardon


Cast: Chris Evans; Michelle Monaghan; Luke Wilson; Aubrey Plaza; Topher Grace; Anthony Mackie

Synopsis: It’s this generation’s SWINGERS meets (500) DAYS OF SUMMER. The story is fresh, quirky, and weirdly relatable as this young, slightly pretentious man falls for an unlikely girl, and will stop at nothing to get her even after realizing she’s already in a relationship.



Director: Michael Beach Nichols; Christopher K. Walker


Synopsis: A white supremacist attempts to take over a small town in North Dakota.



Director: Bill Ross; Turner Ross


Synopsis: For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas from Piedras Negras, Mexico was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.


Online ticket sales will be available for members only beginning Monday, March 16 at , with online ticket sales opening to the public on Thursday, March 19. The physical Prekindle Box Office at Mockingbird Station will open on Thursday, March 26.