Last night was the opening festivities for AFI Dallas. We had a lot of fun. My wife and I attended the opening screening of Helen Hunt’s film along with James Macdonald (aka Grunning) and Jim Blumetti (aka Roger Ulster) and his wife, Pam. After the screening, we attended a black tie party at Neiman Marcus. It was great fun!
Below is the article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News this morning. Fissure is mentioned at the end of the article. We’re looking forward to a packed house tonight!
Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Mickey Rooney light up AFI opening night
Friday, March 28, 2008
By STEPHEN BECKER / The Dallas Morning News
The sounds of familiar cinematic scores wafted through the air. Cameras zoomed and clicked along the jampacked red carpet. Onlookers shouted out the stars’ names as they passed.
All the telltale signs that this was a Big Movie Night were present. And it was.
Thursday night’s festivities at the Majestic Theatre downtown marked the opening of the second annual AFI Dallas International Film Festival. The star of the show was Helen Hunt, the first-time director whose Then She Found Me screened as the festival’s opening-night film.
“It’s a total thrill. I would not have been surprised if I finished the movie and it was never released and I would have gotten to have it in my hands and say, ‘At least I made this,’ ” she said, sporting a silver floor-length dress cut down to there in the back. “So the fact that it’s going to be released in such a big way, the fact that I’m opening a festival of this cultural weight is incredible. Dreams come true.”
Other luminaries walking the red carpet included the night’s other major honoree, fellow Star Award recipient Mickey Rooney, as well as Fort Worth native (and Ms. Hunt’s Twister co-star) Bill Paxton and Josh Brolin, accompanied by his teen daughter, Eden.
The latter pair is here showing the short film X, which Mr. Brolin directed and his daughter stars in. Both father and daughter said working together wasn’t much different than living together.
“It was what you would think it is. We’re very close and we don’t have a lot of that angst going on between us, so it seemed like a fun thing to do,” Mr. Brolin said.
“It was actually really fun,” said Ms. Brolin. “He was very calm about it and he was really open to new things and new ideas, so it was actually really easy working with him and it was fun.”
Once inside, the attendees were treated to a medley of movie music from the Dallas Symphony Chorus, followed by speeches from festival dignitaries and the night’s Star Award recipients. Then, finally, the reason the festival exists: the film.
And, of course, the after party a few blocks away at Neiman Marcus. Film festivals can’t exist without parties, too. Today at AFI:
• The Visitor –Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) directs Richard Jenkins as an economics professor whose life changes when he befriends an immigrant couple in New York. Fine writing and acting. 7:15 p.m., Angelika
• Gonzo – A lively documentary on Hunter S. Thompson, directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side). 7:30 p.m., Magnolia
• Fissure – Local filmmaker Russ Pond directed, produced and edited this detective story. 5 p.m., Angelika
Click below to watch the AFI Dallas Opening Night ceremonies.