Before Tonight's Kick-Off, Dallas Int'l Film Fest Adds Special Guest: Frank Darabont

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Didn't make it to the Dallas International Film Festival press pre-party whatchacallit last night, where they made a major announcement in advance of tonight's eight-screen orgy at the Angelika Film Center: Frank Darabont -- who wrote and directed what I'm sure is your favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption -- is coming to town pick up one of those Shining Star Awards one week from tomorrow night. Why the last-minute announcement? Says fest artistic director James Faust, he thinks lines were crossed, because late yesterday he got the surprise call. "I was like, 'Holy crap, he said yes?'" Faust tells Unfair Park. "We're really ecstatic Frank is going to join us."

Only thing to determine now is which of the Oscar nominee's films the fest will screen during his visit, one week from Saturday at the Studio Movie Grill on Royal Lane, where the writer-director will stick around for a post-show Q&A. So, James, what'll it be?

"We're debating between The Mist and Shawshank with his people," Faust says. "Honestly, I'm a fan of The Mist. But I'd go with The Green Mile. That movie's always moved me. It's just one of those dark Stephen King movies. I just love the emotion I get out of it, much more so than Shawshank Redemption, which I love to death. It's a near-perfect movie. I'm just more of a Green Mile man."

And while I have your attention, a couple of things: Here's my in-print preview -- and I am not kidding, you had best sell out Thunder Soul. Just do it already. And while you're at it: Get your tickets to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, starring Plano's own Alan Tudyk. Not a funnier film in the festival.

And, tomorrow: I will tell you what the Friday-night "secret screening" is. Because I've seen it. And it's very, very, very good.

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