Your personal cinema chefs return to the Big D this week to serve up a smorgasbord of film and music delicacies including 26 feature-length films including 13 Texas premieres, 35 short films, plus live music by Mission Of Burma’s Roger Clark Miller, Justin Pearson (The Locust), and a live performance from avant, multimedia music pioneers Negativland.

This year marks the 12th installment of the beloved festival that runs June 22-25 at several locations including the historic Texas Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Kessler Theater, The Wild Detectives, and other venues around Dallas’ vibrant Oak Cliff neighborhood.  Festive opening and closing night parties bookend the fest that continues its partnership with the Austin Film Society, filmmaker David Lowery, and Tim Headington’s Ley Line Entertainment to provide emerging North Texas filmmakers grant funds specifically to make feature films.  Additionally, the Oak Fest Film Festival proudly promotes the North Texas Pioneer Film Grant of $30,000 as a part of the 2023 AFS Grant funds with the specific intention of promoting DFW area filmmakers with underrepresented perspectives.

The festival opens Thursday with the DFW Premiere of the documentary “Going Varsity in Mariachi” directed by Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn which examines the competitive world of high school mariachi.  The South Texas-based doc follows Edinburg North High School’s Mariachi Oro under the leadership of coach Abel Acuña as they strive for the state championship. As we get to know this talented group of students an emotional bond develops making the spirited and compelling film a great way to kick off OCFF.  Acuña will be in attendance for the premiere which features a pre-recorded Intro from the filmmakers.

Spotlight films include “Problemista” written and directed by Julio Torres who also stars in the film as an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in NY. As time runs out on his work visa, a job-assisting erratic art-world outcast becomes his only hope to stay in the country. The cast features Tilda Swinton, RZA, and Catalina Saavedra, with narration by Isabella Rossellini. 

Writer-director Dustin Guy Defa will present his film “The Adults” starring Michael Cera, Hannah Gross, and Sophia Lillis.  Marking its Texas premiere, the moving drama revolves around a man who tries to balance his relationship with his two sisters while dealing with a poker addiction.

“Quantum Cowboys” directed by Geoff Marslett, blends live-action with 12 different styles of animation. The cast includes Kiowa Gordon who played Embry Call in “The Twilight Saga” and Lily Gladstone, a regular in Kelly Reichardt’s films who can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming epic “Killers of the Flower Moon.”  The film, a cross between a classic western and Richard Linklater’s “A Scanner Darkly” features David Arquette and veteran filmmaker Alex Cox in supporting roles, with Cox and director Geoff Marslett in attendance.

Speaking of Alex Cox, the filmmaker known for the cult classics “Repo Man” and “Sid & Nancy,” will also present a repertory screening of his 1987 western “Walker” starring Ed Harris.  Presented in 35mm, the film tells the story of the he American filibuster who invaded and made himself president of Nicaragua. It was written by Rudy Wurlitzer and features a score by Joe Strummer of The Clash, who has a small role as a member of Walker’s army.

The 1925 silent film “The Lost World” directed by Harry O. Hoyt, which was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant “in 1988 by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, will be shown accompanied by a live score performed by The Anvil Orchestra made up of legendary musicians, composers, and arrangers, Roger Clark Miller (Mission of Burma) and Terry Donahue (Alloy Orchestra).

Making its DFW premiere, the closing night film “Earth Mamma” from A24, the studio that brought you the Oscar-winning “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” is an intimate coming-of-age story of a pregnant single mother who embraces her Bay Area community as she determines the fate of her family. Written and directed by Savanah Leaf, the film stars Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Keta Price, and Doechii.

And what would a film festival be without those wonderful shorts?  This year OCFF brings you the world premiere of short films from their new High School Filmmaking Workshop, presented by TRG. Are you ready to meet the next generation of Dallas filmmakers?  Over the course of two film study intensive classes led by MediaTech dept chair Eric Jewell, and with the tutelage of OCFF alumni like David Lowery and King Hollis, a select group of high school students from the local community center For Oak Cliff, was given the knowledge and equipment to write, direct and edit their own short films. I can’t wait to see the results!

Tickets for individual screenings are available for $13 each and available at the door for each venue or you can purchase them online. The best way to experience OCFF is with a VIP Badge for just $225 that gets you entry to all screenings, music shows, and events for four days, plus special access to the Filmmakers’ Lounge.

For tickets and schedule go to

The Oak Cliff Film Society is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering independent and archival films and sharing them with new audiences via screenings and educational programs. OCFS is committed to cultivating the film community in and promoting the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff by inspiring filmmakers, audiences, and artists. The Oak Cliff Film Society strives to utilize historic theaters and venues whenever possible for its annual Oak Cliff Film Festival Program.

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