DIFF 2010: Amber Heard to receive Dallas Shining Star Award; Filmmaker panel participants announced

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
April 6th, 2010

The Dallas International Film Festival kicks off this week, beginning with their big gala opening at the Angelika Dallas on Thursday, April 8th and runs until Sunday, April 18th. With that, we just received a big announcement for the festival hot off the virtual presses!

Actress Amber Heard (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, THE INFORMERS, ZOMBIELAND) is to be the recipient of the very first Dallas Shining Star Award, an award created “with an eye toward celebrating actors, filmmakers and film artists who have delivered exceptional performances or works on film in their brief careers as well as exhibiting the potential for greater achievements to come.” Heard’s new film THE JONESES will screen at this year’s fest on Saturday, April 10th at The Angelika Film Center Dallas. Ms. Heard will be on hand to accept her award prior to this screening.

Also announced is the late edition of a new film to this year’s line-up! Raul Inglis’ TRANSPARENCY, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, is described as an action thriller that “follows the events after an ATF bust uncovers more than the agents bargained on.” Phillips will be in attendance at the festival for the film.

And last, but not least, the big announcement surrounding the filmmaker panel participants! This year’s guests include: actress Karen Black (FIVE EASY PIECES, AIRPORT 1975), actor Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABRYNTH), special “creatures” effects master Neville Page (AVATAR, STAR TREK), producers Stephen Nemeth (CLIMATE REFUGEES, FIELDS OF FUEL) and Garry Brown (Prison Break), and film distribution legend and film director Jeff Lipsky (SenArt Entertainment, FLANNEL PAJAMAS).

But that’s not all folks…the panel “A Conversation with Karen Black” is to be hosted by our very own Chase Whale! You can find all the official panel times, locations, and information after the jump!

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – DALLAS IFF also announced the 2010 slate of Talk/Show filmmaker panels presented by The Studios at Las Colinas held at the Nasher Sculpture Center and Film Industry Speakeasy panels presented by the Texas Film Commission at the patio at Central 214 in the Hotel Palomar.

Free to the public, the panel participants are a diverse collection of film legends, veterans and personalities including noted actors like Karen Black (FIVE EASY PIECES, AIRPORT 1975) and Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABRYNTH); special “creatures” effects master Neville Page (AVATAR, STAR TREK); producers Stephen Nemeth (CLIMATE REFUGEES, FIELDS OF FUEL) and Garry Brown (“Prison Break”); and film distribution legend and film director Jeff Lipsky (SenArt Entertainment, FLANNEL PAJAMAS).

Justin Muller, Head of The Studios at Las Colinas said, “DALLAS IFF has built a reputation for putting together an amazing slate of film discussions on hot-button issues and film industry talks that go beyond the typical ‘How to make movies?’ approach. The Studios at Las Colinas shares an enthusiasm for that innovative and exciting approach to education and moviemaking and we are pleased to support this series of panels.”

DALLAS IFF Talk/Show panels presented by Justin Muller and The Studios at Las Colinas:

Saturday, April 10

NAVIGATING THE SEAS OF FILMMAKING AND DISTRIBUTION SEAS: How to make your movie, get it seen, and make a living at it.

A comprehensive, deep discussion of the process of making your film and making a living by doing it. We’ll look at the issues and hurdles independent filmmakers have to deal with today – financing, packaging, and selling a feature film.

GUEST: Mark Anker (WME Independent)
GUEST: Aaron Hillis (Benten Films)
GUEST: Jeff Lipsky (SenArt Entertainment)

THE WEB AND FILMMAKING: Is filmmaking and creativity wasted on the web?

The explosion of affordable consumer grade cameras coupled with sites like YOU TUBE, or BREAK saw the rise of a plethora of would-be web impresarios, each shooting, posting, and reposting minute long clips with the goal of becoming viral video superstars. These short, one-off viral mega hits have driven interest in original content for the web, yet with the exception of a few stand outs, sustainable success with serialized content has proven elusive. With the introduction of a new wave in technology – from hi-def, web-based players to cheaper higher quality cameras – as well as an increasing savvy on the part of web-viewers we may be approaching a watershed moment. Is the web a viable outlet for creative, original content? Is there a market for a web series with high production values or will the net be forever dominated by videos of dancing kittens, crazy karaoke, and over medicated toddlers? What role does niche programming play in creating a web-based phenomenon? Is it possible to make a living with content designed specifically for the web, and, if that is the case will we one day wake up in a world where television is obsolete?

GUEST: Joy Gohring (Date A Human.com)
GUEST: Justin Muller (“Dream Factory”, The Studios at Las Colinas)
GUEST: Nicholas Robinson (Vuguru)
GUEST: Jessica Rose (“Lonely Girl 15”)
GUEST: Tina Santomauro (Atom.com)

CALL TO ACTION DOCUMENTARIES: Do they make a difference?

In the past decade, documentary films have been finding their way into our megaplexes in increasing numbers. With film such as Louie Psihoyos’s THE COVE or Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 9/11 grossing millions in box office revenue, docs have successfully moved from the film festival circuit and specialty theater screenings and into a place of national awareness. But for many documentary films and filmmakers, the purpose of the work is not simply to generate revenue and entertain, rather to inspire, to indict, or otherwise shine a light onto topics, people, and issues they deem relevant. By what process, if any, can a filmmaker use the goodwill (or ill as the case may be) to influence the world outside of the theater after the credits have rolled? How can a film motivate an audience to transform from passive consumers of entertainment to become educated, concerned individuals and is a call to action documentary a failure if it does not ultimately lead to this transformation?

MODERATOR: Chris Vognar (Dallas Morning News)
GUEST: Melina McKinnon (TOREY’S DISTRACTION, Filmanthropy)
GUEST: Alison Ellwood (CASINO JACK)

Sunday, April 11

CREATURE FEATURE: Breathing life into movie monsters

In a world where whole planets can be constructed on a computer screen it seems like we are entering a period where anything we can imagine is possible. But before the digital landscapes of AVATAR and the blood soaked battlefields of THE LORD OF THE RINGS creature effects were the sole purview of a select fraternity of artists. As digital technology becomes an even more powerful force in shaping the imaginary worlds of the movies, the role of the creature effects makeup artist may be in a state of flux. Join us for a conversation on the state of the art as we discuss the changing landscape of creature effects, the future of the business, and the role of the physical effect in an increasingly digital world.

MODERATOR: Mark Walters (BigFanBoy.com)

BOOK TO SCREEN: Adaptation beyond the page, the real challenges.

As long as there has been a film industry, there have been adaptations of previous works. Plays, novels, poems, short stories, comic books, and lately even earlier films have all been repackaged for contemporary audiences. Looking beyond the art of interpreting the written word from one medium to another – from novel to screenplay for example – what are the mechanics of creating a fully realized world on screen that had previously existed in the hearts and minds of possibly millions of individuals. What are the challenges in recreating the magic or inspiration from the original work to the screen whether it be casting the perfect hero to crafting a space faring fighter plane? How do creators, be they writers, directors, actors, and editors deal with the very delicate business of both “staying true” as well as properly exploiting a very different medium.

MODERATOR: Robert Wilonsky (The Dallas Observer)
GUEST: Will Clark (Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles)

MUSIC IN THE MOVIES: What’s Driving the Drama?

Music can make or break a film. How many of the great films lack an equally powerful score (Try imagining STAR WARS without John Williams, or VERTIGO without Bernard Herrmann)? Music is a tool that when used in concert with image can invoke powerful emotions that go far beyond words on a page, emotions that hit us deep in our core. But in recent years some motion pictures have been criticized for leaning too heavily on music. Instead of underscoring action, film music is used as a form of short hand, telling the audience “be scared,” “feel bad,” or “fall in love.” As we assess the role of music in film today, what does it say about a film and their audiences when scores turn into cheat sheets, and compositions become crutches? Where can we find a balance between too much and too little?

MODERATOR: Robert Wilonsky (The Dallas Observer)
GUEST: Bubba Kadane (Bedhead)
GUEST: Neil Truglio (WE ARE THE SEA)

Film Industry Speakeasy Panels presented by the Texas Film Commission:

Monday, April 12

A Conversation with Karen Black
MODERATOR: Chase Whale (Gordon and the Whale)

*Guests interested in attending this luncheon must RSVP to [email protected]. This luncheon is a special presentation by Women In Film Dallas

Are JR and Sue Ellen back? The new film revival in Dallas.
Why are so many projects shooting here and what you can do to be next?


Tuesday, April 13

A Conversation With Garry Brown
MODERATOR: Paul Salfen (944 Magazine)

Wednesday, April 14

Why Are You Being So Dumb About Your Movie?
A Frank Discussion of Film Festivals, Self Promotion, and Standing Out

GUEST: Christian Gaines (Imdb/Withoutabox)
GUEST: Heidi Van Lier (CHI GIRL)

Thursday, April 15

Film Festival Coverage
Criticism and Coverage from the film festival front lines – What matters and what doesn’t?

MODERATOR: Peter Simek (D Magazine)
GUEST: Todd Gilchrist (Cinematical)
GUEST: Jen Yamato (Movies.com)
GUEST: Kim Voynar (Movie City News)

The DALLAS International Film Festival will run April 8 – 18, 2010. Passes and tickets are currently on sale both via online (www.dallasfilm.org), and at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Window located at 5330 Mockingbird Lane on the Hotel Palomar retail strip facing Mockingbird Lane (214.295.5142).

Other articles that you might like:

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    Really looking forward to the festival both as a volunteer and a patron. Might be working the Karen Black panel (have to check the calendar again). If I do, I'll buy you a beer Chase!

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