Yes, Another Film Festival: The USA Film Festival Releases Line-Up and Schedule

Categories: Film
ondine.jpg
Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda in Neil Jordan's Ondine, which is playing the USA Film Festival April 30
The Dallas International Film Festival wraps up Sunday. But tomorrow morning, tickets for the USA Film Festival will go on sale via Ticketmaster, according to the fest's publicist in the release that just landed in our in-box. That, right there, that's a double feature -- especially considering the fact that during its run, from April 28 through May 2, the USAFF will also take over the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station.

After the jump, you'll find the entirety of the line-up and schedule -- which, as we already know, includes His Name is Bob, the doc about keyboard-slinging East Dallas fixture Robert Crawford. You may want to peek after the jump, as the USAFF's Web site hasn't been updated in a while. It's an eclectic line-up, no doubt: The USAFF, the veteran film fest in town, may have scaled back its screenings and guest list in recent years, but its selections are worth a look-see, chief among them Neil Jordan's Ondine (with Colin Farrell), the Dallas-set-and-shot Upper Hand and Letters to Juliet with Amanda Seyfried (who was just here for the DIFF but isn't on the USAFF's guest list).

This year's honoree, incidentally, is Hiroyuki Sanada, a longtime star in his native Japan who's probably best known to American audiences as Dogen, keeper on the Temple on Lost this season. The very definition of eclectic.
DALLAS - The USA Film Festival announces the full schedule of events for the 40th Annual USA Film Festival, April 28 - May 2, 2010. All programs will be held at the Angelika Film Center Dallas, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas. Advance tickets are available exclusively through Ticketmaster beginning Friday, April 16, 2010.

LIST OF PROGRAMS (chronologically)

La Mission
Wednesday, April 28, 7 p.m.
There are two things in life that recovering alcoholic Che (Benjamin Bratt) is proudest of: His sleek custom car and his honor-student son Jesse (Jeremy Ray Valdez). Che spends his day driving a bus, but in his off hours, he's both a devoted father and a master at turning old cars into gorgeous refurbished lowriders with a little help from his neighborhood pals. But when Che learns that Jesse is gay, the macho widower finds himself unable to deal with the truth, plummeting him into rage and grief. Lashing out against his son with physical violence, Che resists the pleas of those around him -- including his new neighbor Lena (Erika Alexander) -- to understand and love Jesse for who he is. The titular neighborhood winds up being a character unto itself in La Mission, as both a community haven and as a collection of mean streets that aren't necessarily kind to an openly gay teenager. Working once again with his brother, writer-director Peter Bratt --the two previously collaborated on 1996's Follow Me Home --Benjamin Bratt gives one of the most intense and nuanced performances of his career. Che contains multitudes, from his personal struggles to his devotion to his Latino roots, and Bratt brilliantly captures this complex and fascinating character. La Mission balances its hard-hitting family drama with a joyous sense of place, bringing San Francisco's Mission District -- where the Bratt brothers grew up -- to vivid life against a soundtrack of R&B favorites and an engaging look at lowrider culture. Boasting a talented ensemble of actors, the film tells a very human story against a colorful backdrop. It's a heartfelt tale of love and hate, family and community, redemption and resentment, and homophobia and tolerance, with characters that will stay with you. 117 mins. Filmmakers Alpita Patel, Peter Bratt and Benjamin Bratt in attendance.

Drones
Wednesday, April 28, 7 p.m.
Somewhere between "Dilbert" and Mars Attacks! lies Drones, a very funny new office comedy where an unassuming corporate lackey realizes his co-workers hold the very fate of the planet in their hands. Brian (Jonathan M. Woodward, Angel) quite happily keeps his head down at his job, working away as a faceless non-entity, making copies, sending faxes, answering e-mails and sitting through endless PowerPoint presentations. But all that changes when his pal Clark (Samm Levine, Freaks and Geeks) urges Brian to ask out officemate Amy (Angela Bettis, May). Brian's thrilled to have a girlfriend -- and their co-workers immediately dub them "Bramy" -- less enthusiastic to discover that both Clark and Amy are actually aliens from two different planets, and that's the sort of thing that can really put a strain on a new relationship. (When Amy tells Brian she'll take him back to her home planet after Earth gets destroyed, he responds, "We've been dating a week -- it's too soon to talk about moving in together.") Can the planet be saved? And will someone do something about the main office's memo about spreadsheets? This exceedingly droll and deadpan comedy boasts a terrific cast, from its three charming leads to reliably hilarious character actors like James Urbaniak (American Splendor, The Venture Bros.), Dave "Gruber" Allen, comedian Paul F. Tompkins and Tangi Miller (Felicity). Directors Amber Benson and Adam Busch -- who became a couple off-screen after his character Warren killed her Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- and screenwriters Ben Acker and Ben Blacker brilliantly mesh two utterly different genres (soul-crushing-workplace comedy and alien-invasion thriller) in this witty and hilarious movie that will have you wondering what your co-workers are really up to during those visits to the copy room. 96 mins. Directors Amber Benson and Adam Busch in attendance.

Harry Brown
Wednesday, April 28, 7 p.m.
Harry Brown has had enough. A retired Royal Marine and widower, he lives alone in a dilapidated public-housing complex in London, where his only company is best friend and fellow pensioner Leonard Attwell. When Leonard is brutally murdered by the vicious gang of young thugs frequenting the complex, and Detectives Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer, Match Point) and Terry Hicock (Charlie Creed-Miles) are unable to apprehend his killers, Harry is roused into action. Compelled by vengeance and determined to restore order in his violent, declining neighborhood, he takes to the beleaguered streets to dispense his own brand of vigilante justice. Michael Caine leads a talented cast in Oscar-nominated director Daniel Barber's gritty, well-paced and suspenseful first feature. His performance in the titular role is both sentimental and savage, and sure to leave an indelible impression on audiences.

8: The Mormon Proposition
Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m.
The 2008 battle over Proposition 8 -- to overturn the right of same-sex couples to marry in California -- was the most expensive campaign in the state's history, with $82 million spent by both sides. An overwhelming amount of the "Yes on 8" support came from the Mormon Church, some in California but a great deal of it coming out of the religion's home state of Utah. In this poignant and provocative documentary, directors Reed Cowan -- who performed his Mormon mission in Dallas in the early 1990s -- and Steven Greenstreet explore the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its crusade against same-sex marriage in California, Hawaii and elsewhere. The church's stridently anti-gay attitudes have a literal price tag -- with members urged to donate huge amounts of money to anti-marriage campaigns --  as well as a spiritual one, as the film explores the epidemic of gay teen suicide among Mormons, and gay Mormon teens forced to live on the street after being kicked out by their parents. While the LDS church tried to downplay its role in the Proposition 8 battle, political consultant Fred Karger received secret memos and documents highlighting the tens of millions of dollars that the church funneled into California during the campaign. 8: The Mormon Proposition made the news while it was still in production, when director Cowan got a Utah state senator on tape saying that gays were "the greatest threat" to America today; the film has also ruffled feathers by focusing on a newly-married gay husband who is the descendant of one of the church's polygamous founders. Whatever your take on same-sex marriage, 8: The Mormon Proposition -- featuring narration by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) -- takes a provocative look at the separation of church and state and at what happens when a tax-exempt body is allowed unfettered access to the political process. 80 mins. Director Reed Cowan in attendance.

Once Fallen
Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Writer/director Ash Adams delivers a gut punch of gravitas in this ambitious narrative feature that follows Chance Ryan (Brian Presley) and the struggles he faces to assimilate back into society after paroled from prison. Before he can start his new life, Chance must confront Eddie (Peter Weller), the gambler he owes, Rath (Ash Adams), the crooked cop who won't let him go, and his father Liam (Ed Harris), who, in a violent reaction 20 years earlier, changed their lives forever. To further complicate matters, Chance soon discovers that he is the father of a son he didn't know he had and is forced to raise after his mother disappears. He finds strength in his relationships with aunt Rose (Amy Madigan) and new girlfriend Pearl (Taraji P. Henson), but will Chance be able to reconcile the events of his past and escape the dangerous machinations of shady prison politics? In Adams' intricate screenplay, there are no easy answers. Writer/director Ash Adams in attendance.

Jackie Chan in Shinjuku Incident
Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m.
Jackie Chan stars as Nick (Steelhead), a destitute Chinese peasant who arrives in Tokyo seeking his long-lost love Xiuxiu. Teaming up with fellow refugees Jie (Daniel Wu) and Old Ghost (Lam Suet), they perform the grueling work no one else will and find themselves caught between the cops and Yakuza, existing in a no mans land on the streets of Shinjuku. When Nick discovers that Xiuxiu has adopted a Japanese identity and married Eguchi, a Yakuza chief, he forms an uneasy alliance with him and reluctantly agrees to become an assassin in order to secure a work permit and help his fellow immigrants. But when Nick finds out his former compatriots are being used to front the Yakuza's drug business, Nick feels obligated to bring Eguchi down. Award-winning Hong Kong writer/director (and actor) Derek Yee gives Chan a solid dramatic role and departure from his usual heroic portrayals in this fast-paced, thought-provoking crime melodrama. 114 mins. Filmmakers in attendance.

Carpet Racers: A Crash Course
Texas Filmmakers Showcase
Thursday, April 29, 7:30 p.m.
Welcome to the 99%-male-dominated world of "RC" -- not the cola -- radio controlled cars. Or more accurately, professional carpet road course drivers -- carpet racers. Filmmaker (and TCU grad) Jay Thames' and Mike Rooney's three-year journey into the subculture of grown men (and women) who never lost their love for the childhood hobby offers a fascinating glimpse into the high-voltage world of racing cars the size of shoeboxes around tracks the size of tennis courts -- all at 60 mph! Beyond the professional racing events (the Snowbird Nationals in Orlando and the International Indoor Championships in Las Vegas), and the filmmaker's hilariously inept attempts to control the tricky cars, this fun, family-friendly documentary also asks when do our hobbies become obsessions, and what drives the drivers in their quest to be the best? Meet professional champ Mike Dumas (in person) and find out. Filmmakers in attendance.

Ondine
Friday, April 30, 7 p.m.
Accomplished filmmaker Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire, Breakfast on Pluto) returns to the familiar landscapes of his native Ireland and teams with visionary and sure-handed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Limits of Control) to craft an endearing story imbued with myth and fantasy. Syracuse (Colin Farrell) is a simple fisherman who, one day while trawling off the jagged Irish coast, discovers a beautiful and mysterious woman in his fishing nets. Initially presumed dead by the unsuspecting Syracuse, the woman, Ondine (Alicja Bachleda) comes to life before his very eyes. Syracuse's ailing, yet irrepressible daughter, Annie (Alison Barry), possesses a profound attachment to folklore, and convinces her disenchanted father that Ondine may be myth come true - a woman sent to change his life. Ondine is a powerful force of hope and redemption, and she and Syracuse fall passionately in love. However, the external forces of the world soon intervene, as a terrible car accident and the return of a dark and violent figure from Ondine's past threaten the stability of the beautiful fable their life has become. Suffused with a rich story telling tradition, and featuring a haunting score by Sigur Ros' Kjartan Sveinsson, Ondine weaves a truly unforgettable spell. 111 mins. Actress Alicja Bachleda in attendance.

His Name is Bob
Texas Filmmakers Showcase
Friday, April 30, 7 p.m.
He's one of the most well-known and polarizing personalities in town, often called the most famous wandering person in East Dallas. The myths and legends surrounding him are numerous -- tales of a mother who hit him over the head with a frying pan, of a childhood spent in a mental institution, of a missing $86 million inheritance. What is undeniable is that Bob is a 54-year-old man who has spent his life defying the odds. He has been betrayed, abandoned, beaten and abused, lived for years on the streets, yet through all of this, Bob refuses to live in fear. Filmmakers Lisa Johnson, J. Sebastian Lee and Heather Lee spent six years discovering Bob's amazing life story, and reveal, in the process, the shameless manner in which we treat our homeless citizens and the community which became a family of sorts for Bob. Filmmakers Lisa Johnson, J. Sebastian Lee and Heather Lee, Bob and other guests of the film in attendance.

Stellina Blue
Friday, April 30, 7 p.m.
Stellina Martin (nativ.e Texan Christina Mauro) leads a reclusive and mundane existence; and that is exactly how she likes it. Her life takes a drastic turn when she is shot during a failed robbery attempt and left on the brink of death. After waking from a month-long coma, she is given a second chance at life and an extraordinary gift that allows her to help and heal the people around her. The normally reclusive Stellina now finds herself having a tangible impact on the lives of those around her, while discovering her own life for the first time. Writer/director Gabriel Scott's feature debut is a charming mix of harsh reality and magic, beautifully brought to life by Mauro. Also starring Chris Kramer and featuring a terrific supporting cast. Producer/actress Christina Mauro in attendance.

Short Film Compilation: Tales From the Dark Side
Friday, April 30, 9:30 p.m.
A compilation of black-hearted short films from filmmakers here and across the pond. From festival fave Bill Plympton's Plymptoons come three outrageous new animated comedies: The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger and Horn Dog, plus the satirical, subversive Santa: The Fascist Years. From the U.K., we present Brett Foraker's wicked thriller Natural Selection, which pits youth and zeal against experience and guile. Writer/director Scott Tuft presents actress Julie Hagerty (Airplane!) in an unexpected role as intrepid cosmetics saleswoman Dorris Hallens, who has so much more to offer in Make Up. And from Dallas' Eric Steele comes the story of a young businessman from New York who visits a local diner in Topeka (Kansas) that serves up a little culture clash with the coffee. Total program time approx. Filmmakers in attendance.

Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque
Friday, April 30, 9:30 p.m.
NYC's neo-burlesque scene is the hot ticket for celebs, locals and tourists alike. Gary Beeber's wildly entertaining documentary explores the outrageous world of the "new burlesque" and the performers who created it. Inspired by such burlesque icons as Lili St. Cyr, Sally Rand, Dee Milo, and cult film star Tura Satana, Miss Dirty Martini (a classically trained dancer), Jo Boobs and other stars pay homage to their exotic idols while struggling to pay the bills and find stable relationships. The film provides an in-depth exploration of the relationship between sex work, burlesque, and feminism as it chronicles the rise of Martini, as well as Julie Atlas Muz, the World-Famous *BOB*, Bambi the Mermaid, Tigger!, Scotty the Blue Bunny, and many others, from drag shows and Coney Island side-stages to international stars. An eye-opening look at the evolution of burlesque from titillating striptease to a new form of performance art and political satire that is being called "the new punk rock." 60 mins. Director Gary Beeber and Jo Weldon (aka Jo Boobs) in attendance.

Esrefpasalilar
Friday, April 30, 9:30 p.m.
Adapted from a popular Turkish play and inspired by a true story, Esrefpasalilar refers to the tough young men from Izmir's Esrefpasa neighborhood. In this comedy/drama, two friends Tayyar, a mafia leader, and Davut, a neighborhood coffee shop owner, fall for the same woman, Eleni. Tayyar marries Eleni, but she is actually in love with Davut. Aware of the situation, Tayyar decides to take revenge on his rival by encouraging Davut's foster son Nusret to become involved with the mafia. But when a hodja (a Muslim religious teacher) is appointed to the derelict neighborhood mosque, the course of events take another turn. Turkish with English subtitles. 100 mins. Filmmakers in attendance.

The 48 Hour Film Project/Dallas
Texas Filmmakers Showcase
Saturday, May 1
Group A - 5 p.m.
Group B - 7 p.m.
Group C - 9 p.m.
The 48 Hour Film Project's 2010 World Tour kicks off in Dallas this year with three dozen filmmaking teams competing for prizes and bragging rights. Dallas is one of 80 cities worldwide participating in the Project's expanded tour, with a record 3,200 filmmaking teams worldwide expected to take part in the planet's largest timed filmmaking competition. The finished films will be screened during the Festival on Saturday, May 1st, and the Awards program will take place on Sunday, May 2nd.

The race weekend takes place April 23-25. Each team will be given a genre, a character, a prop and a line of dialogue to incorporate into their film. Filmmakers supply the inspiration, adrenaline and caffeine needed to accomplish a completed work (between 4-7 minutes in length) in 48 hours. The audience selects its favorite and a local panel of film professionals will select the Best Film and other category award winners.

Final registration is open until April 21 (or until full, whichever occurs first). For registration and other information, please visit www.48hourfilm.com/dallas

Breaking the Press
Texas Filmmakers Showcase
Saturday, May 1, 5 p.m.
Writer-director Andrew Stevens presents this contemporary retelling of the Biblical story of the prodigal son set in the world of Texas high school basketball. Coach Joe Conaghey (Drew Waters, Friday Night Lights) struggles to turn his school's team into a winning one, a task made difficult by the infighting and showboating of his two adopted sons (Tom Madden and Chad Halbrook). Filmed entirely in the Dallas area, produced in partnership with Charlie McKinney, Mark Cuban, Mike Modano and their Heroes Foundation, and with support from Highland Park United Methodist Church and Cornerstone Ministry, Breaking the Press features several established Dallas actors, including Burton Gilliam, Morgana Shaw, Brian Massey, and Matthew Tompkins. (Look for Donnie Nelson from the Dallas Mavericks and basketball greats Rolando Blackman and Popeye Jones.) 99 mins.Director Andrew Stevens and other guests of the film in attendance.

Special When Lit
Saturday, May 1, 5 p.m.
Remember the days when you had dinner at home and went outside the house for entertainment? Its just the opposite nowadays -- We eat out and stay home to watch TV, play video games and spend hours on the computer -- and something wonderful was lost when we traded communal arcades and other group entertainments for those isolating activities. Brett Sullivan's engrossing rediscovery of a dying American icon -- the pinball machine -- a product of the mechanical and electrical age, the quintessentially American invention that swept the world, is also a fascinating snapshot of American pop culture. Special When Lit features interviews with fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe who share a world many thought no longer existed, introducing us to a cast of characters who have spent thousands of dollars and hours playing and collecting these fascinating machines, and who try to explain the "lure of the silver ball."

The Square
Saturday, May 1, 7 p.m.
Siblings Joel (screenwriter) and Nash (director) Edgerton spin an intricate yarn of love, deception, blackmail and murder in their first feature film collaboration. The Square hinges upon the adulterous relationship between Ray (David Roberts) and his troubled, much younger neighbor Carla (Claire van der Boom). When Carla presents Ray with the proceeds of her controlling husband Greg's (Anthony Hayes) criminal fortune, they devise a plan to take the money and run. However, their subsequent plot to hire a professional arsonist becomes a fatal error, and their plans are soon thwarted by mysterious blackmail attempts threatening to expose their secret. As the blackmail efforts intensify, Ray and Carla must examine the nature of their relationship and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to protect it. Nominated for seven Australian Film Institute awards, this stylish neo-noir thriller is rife with suspense and gut wrenching plot twists that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats. Screened with Nash Edgerton's award-winning short film Spider. 114 mins. Director Nash Edgerton in attendance.

The City of Your Final Destination
Salute to Hiroyuki Sanada
Saturday, May 1, 7 p.m.
"My parents always traveled in style" Anthony Hopkins' character says in The City of Your Final Destination. And so it is with Merchant Ivory films -- a rich journey that completely transports the viewer. Based on Peter Cameron's novel, the film follows Omar Razaghi (Omar Metwally, Rendition), an American graduate student whose fellowship aid is entirely contingent on writing an authorized biography of deceased Latin American author Jules Gund. When Gund's estate unexpectedly denies Omar's request for authorization, Omar's overbearing girlfriend Deirdre (Alexandra Maria Lara, Control) persuades him to travel to Uruguay and convince the executors to change their position. In Uruguay, Omar is reluctantly received by the eclectic cast of characters inhabiting the isolated, declining Gund estate: There's Jules' widow, Caroline (Laura Linney); his mistress Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg); Arden's daughter, Portia; Jules' brother, Adam (Anthony Hopkins) and Adam's partner, Pete (Hiroyuki Sanada). Omar's arrival complicates the increasingly fragile relations of the estate's occupants, causing everyone, including Omar, to contemplate and reconsider their individual circumstance and fate. Directed by James Ivory and featuring terrific performances from a stellar ensemble cast. Hiroyuki Sanada in attendance.

HIROYUKI SANADA -- U.S. audiences first met Hiroyuki Sanada when he beat up Tom Cruise in 2003's epic The Last Samurai, but in his native Japan, the actor has been working since age five. Trained in the martial arts and stunts, as well as the theater arts, Sanada has garnered an impressive list of awards (he was nominated for the Awards of the Japanese Academy six times and won twice) and accolades (he played with the Royal Shakespeare Company and was awarded the MBE). More recently, Sanada has been seen on-screen in Merchant Ivory's The White Countess, Danny Boyle's Sunshine, in Chen Kaige's The Promise, with Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 3 and as Dogan, the temple master, in the final season of Lost. As we celebrate his latest performance in The City of Your Final Destination, the Festival is honored to welcome the brilliantly talented Hiroyuki Sanada to Dallas.

Upper Hand
Saturday, May 1, 9:30 p.m.
Michael Nolan's directorial debut follows a protagonist, known simply as Stranger (played by Nolan), who rides into Dallas unannounced on his motorcycle looking for work in the seedy criminal underground. In order to earn the trust of the various gangs in the city, Stranger submits himself to physically demanding, often violent pursuits. Once accepted into their underworld, Stranger seeks to exploit and eradicate the gang violence in this unconventional noir thriller that features attributes of both classic westerns and martial arts films. Shot in Dallas, the cast also features Naima Imani Lett, Matt Moore, Byran Massey, Reece Rios, Marcus Mauldin, Hector Garcia and Jason House. Nolan and cinematographer Blake Clifton render an exquisite, otherworldly Dallas that is truly mesmerizing. 95 mins. Filmmakers in attendance.

Happiness Runs
Saturday, May 1, 9:30 p.m.
Three of our favorite filmmakers -- Adam Sherman, Tatiana Kelly and Stephen Israel -- return to the festival with Sherman's semi-autobiographical story of a neglected teen growing up on a commune. The film has been described as a "Woodstock meets Lord of the Flies" tale, but this hauntingly imagined, multigenerational story is much more complex. The talented young cast features Mark L. Young as Victor, a troubled, isolated teen who has grown up in the Utopian hippie commune. When childhood sweetheart, Becky (Hanna Hall), returns to take care of her ailing father, Victor makes plans to escape with her from what has become little more than a polygamous cult. Friends Chad (Jesse Plemons, Friday Night Lights) and Rachel (Laura Peters) are also leading meaningless lives of self-destruction, having been raised with no boundaries or discipline of any kind. The preoccupied adults are oblivious to the teens' unchecked behavior, which escalates to violent and tragic conclusions, making escape a matter of life and death. Also starring Andie MacDowell as Victor's thoroughly indoctrinated mother, Mark Boone Junior (Sons of Anarchy) as his disconnected father, and Rutger Hauer as the enigmatic cult leader Insley. Warning for scenes of nudity, sexuality and drug use. Filmmakers in attendance.

Letters to Juliet
Sunday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) is Sophie, a young American fact-checker for The New Yorker and aspiring writer who travels to Verona, Italy for a vacation with her chef fiance (Gael Garcia Bernal). In the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, Sophie discovers a letter written to Juliet 50 years ago by a heartbroken woman named Claire (Vanessa Redgrave). With the help of the "Secretaries of Juliet," a group of worldly Italian women who answer the lovelorn letters regularly left under Juliet's fictional balcony in the city square, Sophie decides to try to reunite the long-lost lovers. Sophie's plan sets off a chain of events that brings love into both women's lives, as well as a number of unexpected outcomes. Also starring Christopher Egan ("Kings") as Redgrave's protective grandson. Director Gary Winick (13 Going on 30, Pieces of April, The Tic Code, USAFF 1999) deftly brings the charming tale to life. 105 mins. Director Gary Winick in attendance.

Down For Life
Sunday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Writer/director Alan Jacobs' (American Gun, USAFF 2002) extraordinary new film is based on the true story (serialized in The New York Times' "Essays in Search of Happy Endings") of a young woman trying to leave a gang. The riveting, painful and hopeful story takes place over the course of a single extreme day in the life of fifteen-year-old Latina gang leader Rascal (Jessica Romero in a star-making debut; cast in the lead role despite not being a professional actress). Set in South-Central Los Angeles, on the way to school, a violent encounter with a rival gang of African American girls sets off a chain of events that push Rascal's already volatile home life to the breaking point. Rascal's mother (Kate del Castillo) doesn't know her daughter is in a gang, much less its leader. A compassionate teacher (Danny Glover) wants to help Rascal leave her gang life, while the male gang members who control the girls leave little doubt about what will happen if she tries to leave, because once in the gang, you are "down for life." One of the year's most compelling and surprisingly redemptive films. Director Alan Jacobs and actress Jessica Romero in attendance.

Short Film Awards
Sunday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Join our National Jurors for announcements and screening presentations of this year's winning short films as well as the winners announcements for the 48 Hour Film Project. This year's Jurors include editor Angela Garbin; professor or cinema at Yale University's School of Art and filmmaker Sandra Luckow; and filmmaker John Putch. Awards are given to the best in Animation, Fiction, Non-Fiction and Experimental categories as well as awards for family fare, Texas ties, student achievement, and more. Meet the Grand Prize Winner (who is notified the day prior and flown to Dallas for the show) as he or she presents the winning entry and receives the cash award. USAFF prize winners who were recognized early in their careers include Alexander Payne, Todd Haynes, Jessica Yu, Wes Anderson, Bill Plympton, Michael Almereyda, John Lasseter, and many more. The USAFF is an Academy-qualified program and many films recognized here have gone on to be nominated for the Academy Award. Recent Competition-winning films that were qualified for Academy consideration include 2007's Academy Award winner West Bank Story and 2010's nominated Kavi.

Note: Schedule subject to change. Guests listed are confirmed at press time.

TICKET & SCHEDULE INFORMATION

Tickets for all programs $10.

Advance tickets will be available through Ticketmaster beginning April 16 by calling 214-631-2787.

A complete schedule of all Festival events may be obtained by calling the Festival office at 214-821-FILM or may be viewed on line at www.usafilmfestival.com

Schedules are also available at the Angelika Film Center Dallas.

OFFICIAL SPONSORS

Official Sponsors of the 40th Annual USA Film Festival include Community Coffee, Amegy Bank of Texas, HealthLinkRx, The Independent Film Channel, Jones Day and Ticketmaster. The USA Film Festival is supported in part by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. This project is also supported in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. ABOUT THE USA FILM FESTIVAL

A year-round film festival featuring 50 days of programs The USA Film Festival is a 40-year-old Dallas-based 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the recognition and promotion of excellence in the film and video arts. Year-round events include KidFilm; Dallas' only official Oscar Night America program; monthly screenings; special programs and premieres; and the USA Film Festival, held each spring. Throughout the year, the Festival presents a variety of membership, exhibition, educational, and cultural programs designed to bring together film enthusiasts and filmmakers for a "live cinema" experience.
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