They rolled out the red carpet Tuesday night outside The Magnolia in Uptown Dallas for a red carpet ceremony with a Texas twang.
"Dallas is generally not in the conversation when you're thinking about, 'hey, where am I going to shoot a film,'" joked Jonathan Brownlee, C.E.O and President of the Dallas Film Society and the new Executive Director of the Dallas International Film Festival. Brownlee said DIFF can help change that image. "Dallas has every element that you need to be successful in the film industry."
This is the 12th year for the Dallas International Film Festival. During its 8-day run, DIFF organizers said it will bring an estimated $8-10 million to the city with 30,000 film goers, and another 60,000 people attending side events. For the first time, that includes live music.
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"Maybe you're not a big film fan, but you might be a music fan," explained Brownlee. "That's kind of the gateway to getting in here."
Brownlee said there are also more family friendly film options this year; an effort to cultivate new film audiences.
The festival selections include films from around the world, but Brownlee said it was important to feature films made in Texas.
"I mean, that keeps them here, number one. Often times they feel they have to leave to be successful so it's our brain drain going to L.A. or New York," Brownlee said. "People are starting to lean in and take notice of what we are doing, just like with other industries."
The film 'The Iron Orchard' debuted at DIFF this week. It's set in west Texas, produced by Texans, and stars Richardson native, Lane Garrison.
"I'm such a proud Texan," said Garrison, who said he only needed to read the first page of the script that described west Texas. "I called the casting director and said, I'm in!"
Garrison said the movie took so long to make, and was dropped or forgotten about so many times, at one point, Paul Newman had been slated to play his role.
"I guess I was the right man for the job," Garrison said with a smile. "I mean, I love Paul Newman, but I'm glad I got to do it and not him."
The Dallas International Film Festival ends Thursday night with a 40th anniversary showing of the comedy classic, 'National Lampoon's Animal House', and guest appearance by director John Landis.