Saturday, May 28, 2022

Robertson Treatment Syndicated Column (RTSC): The Dallas Film Festival – A Conversation with James Faust

 James Faust - Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society
James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society

As part of our ongoing partnership with the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), this column is proud to launch the first in a series of profiles on leaders representing the film festival community in America. First up is an interview with James Faust, Artistic Director of The Dallas Film Society that produces The Dallas Film Festival, which runs from April 9 – 19.

Enjoy, GR

Robertson Treatment: What were some things audiences should look out for at the 2015 festival?
James Faust: This year, our 9th, we are saluting German Cinema. A selection classic and contemporary films celebration the country’s rich film history. One of the highlights of the section will be the North American Premiere of NOWITZKI: The Perfect Shot. A documentary about the Dallas Mavericks All Star forward. We plan on having a bunch of his teammates past and present at the screening.
We are honoring John Landis, Blythe Danner and LM Kit Carson (posthumously) with the Dallas Star Award. There will be a 35 Anniversary screening of the Blues Brothers and a screening of THE HUSTLER with 3 time academy award nominated actress, Piper Laurie, in attendance.
Our panels will include a Camera Symposium and Cinematographer conversation as well as Legal and Marketing film talks.
Not to mention the 32 countries represented, 2 outdoor concerts (one gospel), 2 outdoor screenings to hundreds and a hundred plus filmmakers coming in.

RT: So how is The Dallas Film Festival distinctive from other similar events?
JF: The Dallas International Film Festival prides itself on presenting great films to great audiences. Our claim to fame would have to be our hospitality program. It’s sort of amazing. Every filmmaker that attends our festival gets a “host”. This host is responsible for picking you up from the airport and being you connection to the festival and the city of Dallas. Need to find the best tacos…ask your host. Want to see a museum or the grassy knoll…ask your host. It’s Texas…we like to be nice.

RT: How has technology influenced the festival?

JF: When we started this thing 8 years ago, we would get the occasional VHS tape. Now, 70% of our submissions are digital copies. Watching films on your laptop sometimes doesn’t have the same effect as your television. 7 years ago we had a large room with giant shelves that would house all the 35mm prints coming in. Now our film traffic department pretty much works off of his phone as 95% of the films screened in our festival were digital copies. We love the classic 35mm, but they are few and far between.

RT: What are your plans in terms of year-round programming?

JF: We always support the films that have played in our festival, so that will continue. We are doing an outdoor series with the AT&T performing arts center. Classic directors of the 40’s. Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon and Rebecca. Our annual film camp for middle school and high school age kids will happen again. And the Art of Film will take place again in November. Last year we had Elvis Mitchell interview Marissa Tomei.

RT: How is the festival striving for greater diversity?

JF: Every year DIFF celebrates world cinema. We also celebrate Latin cinema with a specific section. We will continue to do these and more adding a specific country to this line-up. We work closely with other groups in town that have interests such as the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, The Texas Black Film Festival, The Latino Cultural Center of Dallas, Univision radio/TV, The Mexican Consulate and Asian Chamber of Commerce of Dallas…just to name a few.

What are some of your ventures away from the festival?
JF: Personally, I’m looking forward to two short vacations and help my wife grow tomatoes in our back yard.

For more information on The Dallas Film Festival, visit



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