Documentary Film Fest Rolling in Denton

An Academy Award nominee and a Sundance winner are among the films showing at an annual documentary festival in Denton.

The Thin Line Film Fest only needed a few days to make its mark this year.

"In just three days, we shattered all previous records for us," said Joshua Butler, festival creator and director.

He credits this season's success to a heavy-hitting lineup of award-winning and award-nominated films, including the Oscar-nominated "5 Broken Cameras" and Sundance special jury prize winner "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry."

"We opened with the Sundance-winning film 'Blood Brother' to a packed house, and that really started momentum all the way through the weekend," Butler said.

Thin Line is only in its sixth year but already draws a big following among the movie buffs and filmmakers who make the yearly trip to Denton for the international documentary film festival.

"I've seen several of the shorts and maybe five or six different feature films," said Kelli Kosel, a University of North Texas graduate who returns for the festival.

"You always get nervous right before the start of the show," said filmmaker Danny Diaz, whose documentary "The Lost Reunions" led the pack Friday evening.

The festival is also a draw for the city.

People packed Jupiter House Coffee on the Square on Friday afternoon for a drink before the shows.

"I would say that we're up 10 to 15 percent," owner Joey Hawkins said.

The Thin Line has turned into the unofficial start to the yearly festival season in Denton.

"This February going into March is our busiest time," Hawkins said. "It used to be Thanksgiving-Christmas, but it's not anymore."

Butler said the community has been a great partner for the festival, which continues to draw more local sponsors each year.

"Our goal is to be one of the biggest documentary film festivals in the world, and I think that's very possible," he said.

The Thin Line Film Fest began Feb. 8 and runs through Monday.

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