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Stars align at DIFF 2014 Opening Night

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By Jessica Tomberlin
DIFF Writer

The 2014 Dallas International Film Festival, presented by AutoNation, began its 11-day run last night with an Opening Night red carpet and special screening of award winning director Fred Schepisi’s WORDS AND PICTURES, starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche. Held at the sparkling-new Dallas City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District, the night’s festivities were presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation, Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes. Braving a chance of rain and a bit of wind, DIFF filmmakers, actors, local talent and dignitaries turned out to participate in the evening’s events.

Crowd gathers on the red carpet outside the Dallas City Performance Hall

Crowd gathers on the red carpet outside the Dallas City Performance Hall

“It’s an adult romance, it’s got a reality base and yet it’s a lot of fun, said Schepisi in reference to Gerald Di Pego’s script for WORDS AND PICTURES. “It’s not full of gimmicks or lighthearted nonsense, it’s really substantial, and because of that you have a lot more fun, you get a lot more emotional, and underneath it there’s a lot of other things being explored.”

Schepisi (ROXANNE, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION) walked the red carpet with his wife, artist Mary Schepisi, who he says is also his muse. WORDS AND PICTURES screenwriter Gerald Di Pego, executive producers Bob and Judy Glass and producers Gary Cogill and Frankie Day were also in attendance on the carpet and at the screening.

Other DIFF filmmakers and talent included director Rachel Shepherd, along with several fellow cast and crew members from her narrative feature ABOUT MOM AND DAD, set to premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival Friday, April 4.

“ABOUT MOM AND DAD is the story of my parents,” says Shepherd “They went through kind of a trying time in their marriage, and I think it’s something a lot of parents go through. I really wanted to tell a real marriage story, a real Texas marriage because people from Texas are unlike anywhere else, and we wanted to premiere here in Dallas, and we got our wish.”

Local talent, Emma Fuhrmann (RASPBERRY JAM) came out to promote her new film BLENDED, and talked about what it was like working with fellow cast members Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymoore, an experience she says taught her to be kind to everybody around you.

“Drew, every time we see her, she’s just running love and light and she’s so amazing, and Adam always thanks everyone on set, he’s great,” says Fuhrmann.

opening_night_article_2The cast and crew of 50 to 1 came out to promote the film, set to release in Dallas theaters April 4. In attendance was award winning Director Jim Willson (DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE BODYGUARD), Co-writer Faith Conroy and actors Christian Kane and Hugo Perez (MACHETE). Based on the true story of racehorse Mine That Bird, 50 to 1 is an underdog story about a crooked-footed racehorse that qualifies for the Kentucky Derby. Dallas is just one of the many stops the group has on a film tour that will eventually land them at the Derby in Kentucky.

“We’re traveling through the country,” says actor Christian Kane, “We started in New Mexico, went all the way through Texas, Louisiana, back into Texas, up Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, all the way to the Derby in Kentucky and we’re getting to shake hands with people when they come out of the movie, and as actor that’s just something you can’t pay for and we’re having the time of our lives.”

Another special guest was actor Dominic Rains, star of JINN – a supernatural thriller about an automotive designer whose idyllic life is thrown off course when he receives a cryptic message that eventually has him fearing for his life – also opening in theaters Friday, April 4.

“It’s a fun film, it’s action pack, it’s a thriller, and it’s got some nice tender moments, I think it’s a very beautiful, well rounded film,” says Rains.

An Opening Night Gala at The Crow Collection of Asian Art followed the screening with treats from Lush Catering Co. and drinks from sponsors Stella Artois, The Naked Grape and Deep Eddy Vodka.


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