By Diamond Victoria
Arts & Culture Editor
The Dallas International Film Festival offered a wealth of gems screened at Angelika Film Center, Magnolia Theater and Texas Theater April 9-19. A self-proclaimed film nerd, I spent an evening mingling with other enthusiasts, watching French cinema and singing karaoke in the VIP lounge.
As an employee of Angelika Film Center, I spent the majority of the festival behind the bar serving beer, wine and espresso to directors, actors, producers and writers. Needless to say, I was eager to be a part of the party and geek out with the rest of them.
I began the evening standing in line for a film when I met Alex Garcia Topete, the programming associate for the Latino section of the festival. He explained how films are chosen for the festival and, specifically, where they come from.
He said with the Latino section, the Mexican Film Institute, the Brazilian Film Institute and the Spanish distribution companies send him movies every year. They “try to find the balance of great movies and something for everyone.”
I, however, was in line for the screening of “Les Combattants” (“Love At First Fight”), a French film directed by Thomas Cailley.
Despite three years of French courses, I found myself guided entirely by subtitles. The plot was simple, yet the appeal was not lost on me. A young man joins the Army and meets a woman. Sexualized, yet barely feminine, she and her new friend fall in love.
The title of the film comes from a beginning scene of the two fighting during an Army drill. The plot progressed slowly, but ended abruptly. The filmmakers were in attendance and received a standing ovation.
I had received a Star Pass for the festival, which allowed me to rub elbows with the bigwigs on the ninth floor of the Highland Hotel.
Numerous intoxicated, interesting and dapperly dressed filmmakers lined the hallway to the main entrance of the lounge.
The room was dimly lit, as there was an art project set up that required black light. Plenty of iPhones captured the laughs, spilled drinks and sense of community among the crowd.
I made my way around, socializing with others and making new friends, including Steven Jones, co-editor for “Truth On Cinema,” an online film review and criticism website.
I was a fan of the website prior to meeting Jones and ended up with a few pointers for my own film reviews after our conversation.
Eventually, the urge to sing karaoke surfaced. Belting out Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” was the perfect end to an evening of mingling and movie magic.