Women Texas Film Festival Announces Selections for the 2019 Festival

 

Women Texas Film Festival presented by Methodist Dallas Medical Center today announced the official selections for the fourth year of the critically-acclaimed Dallas-based film festival which focuses solely on the work of female filmmakers (August 15-18). Returning to the historic Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.), WTxFF has expanded 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.), as well. 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, as it showcases 17 feature-length films, and 29 short films.

WTxFF Founder and Artistic Director Justina Walford said 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 camera takes a backseat to the grit, emotion, and vision projected 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, Thursday, August 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 get the idea to try and circumvent those rues 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 Sunday, August 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 on Friday, August 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. To purchase passes or tickets to individual screenings go to: https://prekindle.com/events/womentexasfilmfestival.

WTxFF Sponsors include: Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Peterson Ray, Civitas Capital Management, Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Selig Poliscope Company, Texas Theatre, and Betsy and Dan Healy. Sponsors and supporters also include: Alamo Drafthouse, AMS Pictures, Jennifer McCann, Lisa Simmons, McDavid Lincoln, and Serena Simmon Connelly.

Additional support comes from: Dallas Audio Post, Delia Jasso, Eno’s, Jackson Walker, Kendall, MPS Studios, Oak Cliff Print, Paperlyte, Prekindle, Rafael Anchia, and Vincent Serafino. Special Thanks to: Bayer Brothers, Dallas Film Commission, Dallas Producers Association, Epicenter Productions, FANGORIA, Jennifer Byrd, Margin Walker, Oak Cliff Brewing, RedID, RGD+B, Small Brewpub, Texas Film Commission, Wax Space, and Wild Detectives.

 

 

The 2019 Women Texas Film Festival official selections:

 

Opening Night Selection

CRSHD

Director: Emily Cohn

Country: USA, Running Time: 82 minutes

On the last night of her college freshman year, Izzy tries to lose her virginity with the help of her two best friends, but their only hope is getting into an exclusive, invite-only “Crush Party.”

 

Closing Night Selection

EMMETT (BOY GENIUS)

Director: Bridget Stokes

Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min

Emmett, a 12-year-old black child prodigy, teams up with his eccentric SAT tutor to solve a crime and keep his family from splitting up.

Preceded by

EARTH MOTHER     

Director: Kelly Riot     

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 minutes      

EARTH MOTHER is a musical short that portrays Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, Ameila Earhart and Joan of Arc taking a stand against the societal norms and restrictions of their time. Each of these women is a pioneering force in history and the struggles they overcame cemented their places as feminist icons.

 

Special Make Out Party Presentation

MAKE OUT PARTY

Director: Emily Esperanza

Country: USA, Running Time: 25 minutes

MAKE OUT PARTY is a no-budget, high-style comedy of errors that follows three vibrant characters though a day of misadventure as they set out to attend hostess Mary Woah’s Make Out Party. Meet Madame X, a leather-clad Venus with too many lovers; Band-Aid Box, a dapper-femme do-gooder just trying to make it through their day; and Bambi, a peppy Satanist-witch with no time for catcalls. Will they make it to gap-toothed-pin-up-queen Mary Woah’s Make Out Party? From meanie alien greaser gangs, to a pair of tough roller-skaters, a conniving librarian and a disgruntled waitress, our heroes sure have their work cut out for them. In the end, Make Out Party reminds us that we are all wild wonderful wackos who deserve a French kiss.

 

 

ADDITIONAL FEATURE-LENGTH FILMS

 

A PERFECT 14         

Director: Giovanna Morales Vargas  

Country: Canada, Running Time:       105 minutes   

A PERFECT 14 explores the world of plus size models fighting to reshape the fashion industry and the beauty standards of society. The film follows the journeys of models Elly Mayday (Canada), Kerosene Deluxe (Netherlands) and Laura Wells (Australia) as they struggle against our culture’s distorted perception of body image. The film also questions the fashion industry leaders and pioneers in the world’s meccas and holds them accountable for their responsibility in size-based segregation.

 

A SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO LIVING AND DYING   

Director: Nitzan Mager          

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 minutes    

This film presents a hybrid of fiction and real life. A real pregnancy is followed on film over nine months and explored within a fictional story: A young scientist in the midst of groundbreaking research is thrown into free-fall when she becomes pregnant with her dead husband’s child and is suddenly confronted by the unknowable — absorbed into a realm of mystical female consciousness both terrifying and transcendent.

 

BARBARA RUBIN & THE EXPLODING NY UNDERGROUND

Director: Chuck Smith

Producers: Elizabeth Stanton

Country: USA, Running Time: 78 minutes

Barbara Rubin’s twenty-nine-minute experimental film CHRISTMAS ON EARTH caused a sensation when it first screened in New York City in 1963. Its orgy scenes, double projections and overlapping images shattered artistic conventions and announced a powerful new voice in the city’s underground film scene. All the more remarkable that the vision belonged to an 18-year-old girl. A virtual Zelig of the ’60s, Barbara Rubin introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan to Kabbalah and bewitched Allen Ginsberg. The same unbridled creativity that inspired her to make films when women simply didn’t, saw her breach yet another male domain, Orthodox Judaism, before her mysterious death at thirty-five years old.

 

EVER AFTER (ENDGEIST)

Director: Carolina Hellsgård

Country: Germany, Running Time: 90 minutes

It has been two years since a zombie virus epidemic infected all but two German cities. Vivi and Eva flee the struggling community in Weimar for the one other safe-haven: Jena.

 

HOLY TRINITY

Director: Molly Hewitt

Country: USA, Running Time: 91 minutes

Trinity is an independent, sex-positive millennial working as a Dominatrix in Chicago. After an incident huffing her drug of choice—a mysterious aerosol can from the ubiquitous Glamhag brand—she finds herself with a newfound gift for speaking to the dead. Confused and more than a little curious about this strange turn of events, Trinity seeks the counsel of a colorful cast of characters, from priests and drag queens to a witch and more, all of whom teach her their unique spiritual practices.

 

HUNTER’S WEEKEND        

Director: Amy Taylor  

Country: USA, Running Time: 72 minutes    

Park rangers, Lyle and Victor, just want their elite, invitation-only hunter’s weekend event to go well, but when hunters start turning up dead, they must race to find the killer before they become the next victims. This micro-budget mockumentary style, dark comedy was shot in the woods of Virginia, in six days, with a crew of five people.

 

THE IN-BETWEEN   

Director: Mindy Bledsoe        

Country: USA, Running Time: 77 minutes    

Two women set out on a road trip with 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. Both women have medical issues that cause friction along the way, but they never let those problems define their identities. Of course, Mads is also keeping a secret from Junior, that could explode at any moment and ruin their journey…

 

THE LOWER PLATEAU

Director: Liz Singh

Country: Canada, Running Time: 82 minutes

A burnt out pot dealer slash musician struggles through a Montreal winter with the help of her friends.

 

MICKEY AND THE BEAR   

Director: Annabelle Attanasio

Country: USA, Running Time: 88 minutes    

Faced with the responsibility to take care of her addict, veteran father, headstrong teen Mickey Peck keeps her household afloat.

 

QUEERING THE SCRIPT                                        

Director: Gabrielle Zilkha

Country: Canada, Running Time: 90 minutes

A sparkling celebration of queer fangirls and the shows they love. Queerness on television has moved from subtext in series such as “Xena: Warrior Princess” to all-out multi-season relationships between women, as seen on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Lost Girl,” and “Carmilla.” Stars such as Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz, Lucy Lawless and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous kickass fangirls in this fast-paced history of queer women’s representation of contemporary television.

 

STUCK

Director: Jenni Tooley

Country: USA, Running Time: 84 minutes

A woman struggles to remember a number of her “lives” through the veil of her fading memories as she deals with the onset of Alzheimer’s.

 

TITO  

Director: Grace Glowicki       

Country: Canada, Running Time: 106 minutes         

A desperate man seeks refuge from the predators hunting him by befriending a cheerful intruder.

 

TWO WAYS HOME  

Director: Ron Vignone

Producers: Kimberly Busbee, Tanna Frederick, Tricia Linklater, Ron Vignone

Country: USA, Running Time: 97 minutes    

A young woman living with bipolar disorder struggles to honor her grandfather’s last wish while attempting to reunite with her estranged 12-year-old daughter.

 

THE WALL OF MEXICO

Directors: Magdalena Zyzak, Zachary Cotler

Countries: USA, Running Time: 105 minutes

A wealthy Mexican family decides to build a wall around their ranch to stop townspeople from stealing their well water.

 

WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS

Directors: Sean Bloomfield, Cimela Kidonakis

Country: USA, Running time: 103 minutes

WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS follows the nationwide search for Fr. Rene, which resulted in a series of shocking revelations and the discovery of a 20-year-old letter in which Fr. Rene seemed to foretell his own fate.

 

 

SHORTS PROGRAMS

 

SHORTS PROGRAM #1

(TRT: 85 min)

 

BLUE SUNDAY

Director: Allison Webster

Country: United States, Running Time: 9 minutes

A high school senior begins to question her church’s teachings after a youth group celibacy talk.

 

DOG BITE

Director: Luvia Petersen

Country: Canada, Running Time: 12 minutes

A scared dog attacks Jen, a hyper-ambitious career woman, leaving her with an unsightly gash across her face. Jen hides away in a child-like fort, determined to start a “new life”. But in the process, she pushes everyone away. Her dysfunctional family and anxious boyfriend try to coax her back out into the world. But the only person who can get Jen to go outside is Jen.

 

THE OBLITERATION OF THE CHICKENS

Director: Izzy Lee

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 minutes

The universe does not care. The abyss is stupid. Narrated by author Bracken MacLeod, this Herzog-inspired fever dream uses 100% stock footage to reflect on the banality of existence.

 

POZOLE

Director: Jessica Mendez Siqueiros

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 minutes

La gringa killed her Nana.

 

SAC DE MERDE

Director: Greg Chwerchak

Screenwriters: Gabrielle Berberich, Greg Chwerchak

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 minutes

Based on a true story, SAC DE MERDE tells the tale of Mazel Mankewicz, an unlucky-in-love yet irrationally optimistic New Yorker who thinks her luck has changed when she spends the night with the man of her dreams. As it turns out, he might just be full of shit. Literally.

 

SIX WORDS

Director: Christine Chen

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 minutes

Betty has carefully planned her best friend’s bachelorette party, only to have it crashed by some unexpected guests.

 

TEXAS ANNIE: THE LEGEND OF THE MOAN RANGER

Director: Jennifer Howd

Country: USA, Running Time: 2 minutes

TEXAS ANNIE: THE LEGEND OF THE MOAN RANGER tells the musical tale of a renegade dildo runner in Texas when sex toys are declared illegal.

 

WE ARE TOTALLY FINE

Director: Stefanie Abel Horowitz

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 minutes

Three Basic Bettys get together for a wellness retreat to cleanse and connect. But what they connect to is surprising, dark, and a little out of their control.

 

WHITE ROCK SKATE

Director: Mary Dauterman

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 minutes

A delusional woman desperately clings to an abandoned skating rink and her memories of it.

 

WHORE: TABLE #6

Director: Nino Mancuso

Screenwriter: Helen Kennedy

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 minutes

Eternally optimistic British actress Harriet has yet to find her feet in LA, despite a handful of minor TV roles usually involving baring her breasts, playing a vast array of dead prostitutes, and various combinations of both. But today, her agent has a special project, one which she hopes will buck the trend. Who knows, maybe she’ll find a better balance of nudity on set this time, and perhaps even enjoy the luxury of staying alive for the entire scene?

 

 

 

SHORT’S PROGRAM #2

(TRT: 92 min)

 

THE CUNNING MAN

Director: Zoë Dobson

Country: UK, Running Time: 13 minutes

THE CUNNING MAN is inspired by a real Cunning Man, John Harries (c.1785 – 1839). It’s an enchanted tale of compassion in the face of callous greed.

 

GLORIA

Directors: Camille Schmoutz, Christine Chen

Country: USA, Running Time: 15 minutes

In 1966, a gender questioning teen from a conservative southern home accepts a secret invitation from a beautiful drag queen and resolves, despite the threat of arrest and familial rejection, to publicly cross-dress for the first time at an underground gay dance party.

 

I’D NEVER BOTHER ANOTHER CHICKEN AGAIN

Director: Helen Cho Anthos

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 minutes

A remorseful man relives an intense childhood memory illuminating his greatest regret.

 

LITTLE BIRD

Director: Nieves Perchin Garcia

Country: USA, Running Time: 11 minutes

Rupert and his daughter Lily decide to move to a new neighborhood after the passing of his wife. Rupert, being a new single parent, has to deal with Lily’s breathing problems and anxiety, which makes her extremely vulnerable in social situations. Rupert has found ways to calm her attacks. However, the neighbors see this and start to suspect that he might be abusing her, causing more trouble for the father and daughter.

 

PLANE PRETEND

Director: Sharon Arteaga

Country: USA, Running Time: 18 minutes

Pilar and her brothers are ecstatic to take their first flight, but they must hide their excitement or risk revealing their undocumented status and being deported.

 

SECOND SKIN

Director: Farah White

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 minutes

An introverted young girl discovers that she had more in common with her recently deceased grandmother than she ever could have imagined.

 

SEEPING BLUE

Director: Deja Gordon

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 minutes

A suicide prevention hotline worker ends up receiving help from the other end of the line.

 

STREET FLAME

Director: Katherine Propper

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

A crew of street teens and skaters commemorates their friend Jinx on their own terms.

 

SHORTS PROGRAM #3

(TRT: 88 min)

 

3 DAYS

Director: Julie Sharbutt

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 minutes

When three female friends sense danger on a camping trip, they keep each other laughing until a horrible twist makes them feel more alone than ever.

 

BULL MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT

Director: Vanessa Newell

Country: USA, Running Time: 16 minutes

A horror comedy about a Girl Scout troop leader who discovers the terrifying truth about the legend of Bull Mountain.

 

EPIGENETICS

Director: Diahnna Nicole Baxter

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 minutes

A daughter, prone to depression, learns a family secret and struggles to survive its trauma. When she turns to her mother for consolation, she realizes how this poisonous pattern has been carried down through generations.

 

FLICKER

Director: Julia Barnett

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 minutes

A young girl and her puritanical parents are wary of the evils outside their door, but it’s what’s inside that is truly terrifying.

 

HELLO MY NAME IS

Director: Iyin Landre

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 minutes

A kooky woman breaks into a stranger’s apartment and plays Goldilocks.

 

HOPE

Directors: Cynthia Cano, Anna Cano

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 minutes

Following an overnight, global mass-extinction of the human female species, a man struggles to figure out how to care for what seems to be the sole survivor of this unexplained catastrophe: his 5-year-old daughter, Hope. Nobody knows she’s alive and her dad and grandpa plan on keeping it that way.

 

LISTEN

Director: Jessica Graham

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 minutes

The deterioration of a relationship due to the horror and heartbreak of domestic violence.

 

PENTECOST

Director: Katherine Propper

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 minutes

Delilah, a snake handler’s daughter, seeks a spiritual gift of her own in her father’s rattlesnake.