Get your movie reviewing thumbs ready, y'all - Thin Line is back. The festival, which is nearing its tenth anniversary, started out strictly as a documentary film festival, but has gone on in the years since to include music and, as of this year, photography, as well. It has become a fixture of the festival circuit in Denton alongside 35 Denton, Arts and Jazz, and much more. Needless to say, there's plenty to do in downtown Denton for the next five days. Some WDDI contributors took a moment to comb through all of the activities happening during Thin Line and picked out some of our "can't miss" events. We left out the obvious (the Midlake tour documentary), but check out our post from yesterday if you'd like to know more about that one. You can check out the program for the entirety of the festival here.
WESLEY KIRK'S PICKS
Shorts Compilation #2
Friday, February 20th, 5PM
It's full of wonderful short documentaries, from filmmakers near & far, including the recent hit "Elgrin Park", about a man who copes with bullying & loneliness by creating a world of intrigue with a fictional town called Elgrin Park. You may have seen this story on the This American Life TV show. This shorts compilation also includes "The Bottom Rung", a film by Ron Lechler, Denton's Most Thoughtful Jerk. It shows the lives of local amateur comedians. As a bonus, many of the stand-up comics featured in the film will perform before the screening, so show up early and grab a good seat!
NAOMI WOODS PICKS
Ghost on the Mountain
Friday, February 20th, 6PM
I'm super interested in the short film called Ghost on the Mountain. I want to see it because I think its a relevant issue and a serious topic that forces us to think about those in less fortunate circumstances living among us, and how potentially isolated some of them must feel by leaving their families behind often times. It's one of the less frivolous films being shown.
DANIELLE MARIE LONGUEVILLE'S PICKS
Friday, February 20th, 7pm
Primarily, I'm very excited to view the new film "Gifted," directed by Jonathan McFarlane. The journey of such a hardworking individual in what seems to be a sometimes volatile, controversial environment will be quite interesting. It's even better that Phil Heath, the primary subject of the film, will be present for the screening as well. I'm curious to see how the audience will react, and what kind of questions will surface post-screening.
I'm also very excited about the opening night performances featuring Boxcar Bandits and Jason Lee. Jason Lee and one of Denton's favorite bands? That will definitely be quite the party starter.
WILL MILNE'S PICKS
Various parts of Denton
February 18th - 22nd
This is the first year that Thin Line has thrown photography into its triumvirate of visual arts and it already looks to be awesome. Photo displays are already up at many places in Denton including Banter, the Golden Triangle Mall, Hypnotic Donuts/Cultivar Coffee, Mulberry Street Cantina, Serendipity, and The Chestnut Tree. The galleries are free to view and iffin' ya really like a piece you can even work with the photographer and Thin Line to purchase a print. We know for a fact that there's good work to check out because we've got some in there ourselves. In addition, Daniel Rodrigue, one of Thin Line's featured photographers, will be hosting a free lecture about instant photography. So if you want to learn more about that old Polaroid Land camera in your grandpa's closet or why film photography or why 30% of photographers that shoot on film are under the age of 30, you definitely shouldn't sit this one out.
Aside from that, I'm also looking forward to Criminal Birds, Jessie Frye, and Black Joe Lewis at Dan's on Saturday night and the short film, The Gringa, about director Vanessa Juarez and her efforts in Juarez, Mexico on Thursday evening at The Campus Theatre. Read more about it here.
SHAUN TREAT'S PICKS
Since I'm a documentary nerd, there are quite a few I'm going to see. But as far as solid recommendations that others would like, here's my top picks.
Most don't think about documentaries as being funny or fun, but Comedy Central's Drunk Historyseries has proven otherwise. Thursday's film Limo Ride (10pm) tells the true tall tale of 10 Southern raconteurs whose New Year's ritual turns into a kidnapping that is part horror story and part bar story. Another hoot of a shoot would be Everything is Terrible (Friday 11pm), which looks to be a compilation of the Chicago-based vblog that mixes wacky VHS found footage to often hilarious effect. Also part of Friday's Short Film Program #2 (5pm) is The Bottom Rung, featuring local amateur stand-up comics who hone their craft in the wastelands of North Texas, so it should offer some dark comedy feels.
For the serious documentary learner, tho, there's a lot offered this year. Poverty, Inc (Friday 3pm) explores the dark side to the international charity industry from TOM's Shoes to agricultural subsidies. The Culture High (Friday's midnight show) explores the debates over marijuana legalization, while Where Was God? (2pm Saturday) chronicles the aftermath of the E5 tornado that devastated Moore OK in 2013. I'm really looking forward to Alex & Ali (Sunday 6:15p), the 35-year story of two gay lovers separated by the Iranian Revolution, and NOW! AGAIN! (Thursday 6pm), which revisits a legendary 1965 civil rights documentary anew in light of the Ferguson MO marches following the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police. Dentonites will likely be intrigued byRetno's Refusal (Sunday 8:15), filmed in Jarkarta, Indonesia and Denton TX as it traces a charity helping the families who live in Jakarta's open garbage dump.
Those are our picks for Thin LIne this year. What are you looking forward to checking out?