If you type, “thin line” into a Google search bar, the first suggestion is “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” a 1996 film staring, written, directed and starring Martin Lawrence, but Texas Filmmaker Joshua Butler is doing what he can to help Denton overtake that spot from the drug-plagued comedian.

Adding to Denton’s ongoing list of spring festivals, The Thin Line Film Festival is a documentary-heavy film festival now in it’s fourth year.

Butler, founder of Texas Filmmakers and director of The Thin Line Film Festival, took some time out of his quickly ramping schedule to talk to us about what’s playing at his festival this year, what the term “documentary” means, why hosting at the Campus Theatre is bittersweet and what he’s doing to “foster an active film community” in Denton.

Read on.

What’s the deal with the name of the festival?

Joshua Butler: The first name was going to be the “All Real Film Festival,” but that is just the thing, are documentaries “all real?” Are we as audiences supposed to assume that everything we are told or shown in a documentary is real? The truth is there is a ‘thin line’ between what is real and what isn’t in documentary films. It is still a crafted piece of art. It requires an individual to make thousands of decisions such as what to show, who to interview, where to cut, in what order to place scenes, where to place music, etc. Filmmakers are storytellers and documentaries are no different.

What film are you most excited about showing this year? Why?

JB: It’s hard not to say ‘Troubadours’. I mean any film that world premieres at Sundance is a big film to have in Texas before anyone else. It’s a music doc and we really wanted to feature music in this year’s festival. Both the Director (Morgan Neville) and Producer (Eddie Schmidt) will be in attendance. Then there’s a party after featuring local musician Glen Farris... so its hard not to like.

What world premieres is the festival hosting this year?

JB: This year we have only one. It is a short film called “You Cannot Learn How To Be Honest.” The filmmaker is flying in from California to participate. This is a crazy film that will affect you.

Why use Denton as the location of the Thin Line Film Fest? Has the town’s reception of Thin Line been as you had imagined?

JB: I had developed three-year old relationships by the first Thin Line and many of the “power brokers” (both political and social) want to see you pay your dues. So its hard to just pick up and start that somewhere else. Plus, Denton didn’t have a film festival. This goes back to why I started Texas Filmmakers. I came to Denton expecting an active film community. Texas Filmmakers and Thin Line are my effort to help foster that in Denton.

My expectations were naive at the beginning. I had that “build it they will come” mentality. Its actually more like, “build it, and if they know about it they may come.” Advertising is really expensive. Each year we have been able to slowly increase our ad budget. This year we were granted Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds from the City of Denton to help us advertise to the DFW region. The reality is that each year our attendance has grown by 200-250% and we expect another strong increase this year.

Why does Thin Line show primarily documentaries?

JB: There are 40 film festivals in the State of Texas. 39 of them are for fictional films. Sure most of them also screen documentaries; but we are the only documentary film festival in Texas. Plus, Denton had already developed a reputation for documentaries. The UNT film department offers one MFA program - documentary film production. Its also run by a reputable documentary filmmaker, Melinda Levin.

What movie from last year went on to have the most success, win the most awards, etc...?

JB: This is an easy one... Gas Land. It is currently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. We had the Texas Premiere.

The campus theatre is primarily used for live theatre. Do you think the space would be better used as a movie theatre?

JB: I must claim I am biased in this regard. The Campus Theatre was a Grand Movie House that hosted big films such as the World Premiere of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. A part of me does wish it had been renovated in the original design. Instead it was converted to a live theatre. The balcony was walled in and is now the prop storage. The local community theater groups do a great job and they deserve a space to perform.

The 2011 Thin Line Film Festival runs February 15th - 20th at Denton’s Campus Theatre. Tickets are available online at ThinLineFilmFestival.com or at the Campus Theatre box office starting Tuesday, Feb. 15th at 4pm. 

Seryn - Live Footage

It wasn't long ago that I was packed into a crowded house over on Ponder Street listening in on this band's first performance. Their potential was obvious even then, and though I still find myself crowding into sweaty houses to catch their shows, it is not the same band I heard two years ago. These five may have started as the Denton house show flavor of the week, but it is clear now, they have grown into truly professional musicians.

Seryn - This is Where We Are from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

Seryn - Our Love from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

Seryn - Towering from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

DC9atNight and WeDentonDoIt Present: The Black Angels

(Part1 of 2) The Black Angels - Interview from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

By Jordan Smith

The countercultural music of the 1960s was a direct response to an overwhelming, ambiguous strain caused by conventional norms of the 1950s. Psychedelic music was birthed out of this movement, and, before long, it became a centerpiece of the hippie generation.

Some 40 years later, though, Austin's The Black Angels have tapped into the same sounds that surrounded the formerly dominant subculture. Once again, though, it's a sound that comes across fresh, speaking to an audience searching for an anthem of social reform. This, and the Angels' inclusion in a 2009 History Channel documentary called Manson (which focused, as you might assume, on the stories of The Manson Family murders and the creation of pop culture icon Charles Manson) served as the bulk of our conversation with Angels players Christian Bland and Alex Maas, just before their recent performance at the Kessler Theater.

These two men are seeking what they call truth and, in their exploration, have found themselves in a position of influence. In our two part interview, the first part of which can be found above, and the second of which can be found after the jump, Bland and Maas discuss with us their positions on religion, politics and drugs. Enjoy.

(Part 2 of 2) The Black Angels - Interview from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

WeDentonDOIt and DC9 Present: Lemonade

From DC9

"This time last week, we posted WeDentonDoIt's piece on Delorean, who performed at Hailey's Club a few weekends ago. And now they've passed along a piece featuring Brooklyn's Lemonade, the dance pop act that opened the show.

Judging by the following video, you would think that Lemonade is still trying to figure out exactly who they are. But listening to their music, you get the feeling that they've taken an odd assortment of dance and world music influences and put them to tape in a concise, refreshing way. And, as was seen at Hailey's, it goes over really well in a live setting--that is, if they can keep the soundsystem from blowing."

Lemonade - Interview from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

School of Seven Bells Interview

As posted on DC9 at night

Welcome to a new joint venture between DC9 at Night and the folks at We Denton Do It, aimed at introducing local audiences to up-and-coming acts they may have missed during recent stops through town. They're the kind of acts we think you're gonna want to know--and right away.


School of Seven Bells - Interview from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.


School of Seven Bells shouldn't be a new band to most DC9 readers; we've been slobbering over the band's ethereal, atmospheric pop since we first caught wind of Dallas native and former Secret Machines guitarist Ben Curtis' new project almost three years ago now. And, though the band's down a member these days, it's still offering up a massive sound--and one well worth your listens.

We caught up with the band up in Denton a few weeks back when the band stopped by for a gig at Hailey's and band members Curtis and Alejandra Deheza were kind enough to grant us some backstage face time. In the above clip, the band shares with us some insight into their creative process, their inspirations and the unforeseen effects that their music has had on some of their listeners.

Twin Shadow - Interview

"Welcome to a new joint venture between DC9 at Night and the folks at We Denton Do It aimed at introducing local audiences to up-and-coming acts they may have missed during recent stops through town. They're the kind of acts we think you're gonna want to know--and right away, as, in our minds, they seem primed to blow. So sit back, watch and enjoy, bros." -DC9

Twin Shadow - Interview from WeDentonDoIt on Vimeo.

by Jordan Smith

Twin Shadow's debut full-length album, Forget, couldn't have come at a better time. With the fall season here in full swing, Twin Shadow fills the void left by summer's passing garage grunge trend and ushers in a new chapter of mellow, self-reflective sounds.

They're the kind of band that high-brow indie connoisseurs just need to know about.

Forget brings everything to the table that a successful, hit record needs. It blends mellow, dramatic, heart-felt lyricism with unconventional nostalgia to shape an adept satirical soundtrack for the huffy beatnik. And, with a select mix of guitar solos and synth melodies, it transitions the listener from the poppy summer jams to the thumping basement dwelling electronic songs of the bitter cold winter.

We met up with Twin Shadow frontman George Lewis for an interview the night of his show as the opening act for Jamie Lidell at the Granada Theater.

The little I had gathered about George prior to the interview made me wonder what to expect on this encounter. But George and the rest of the band proved to be a couple of approachable normal bros. Their band is still emerging in the alternative music scene and not yet buried in success of their blog buzz. Their pretenses have not gotten the best of them and still grant enough humility to be genuine and personable.

Over the course of our talk, George jested about his rise in popularity and mentioned that he wasn't quite to the point of snobbery in precedence of interviews, but that maybe, in the future, there would be a time and place for it.

His outlook on his successes, and his willingness to be professional while maintaining his own identity, makes Twin Shadow to be a band worth watching. George has a personal brand that the iconoclast blog surfer can relate to, but also one that isn't too far gone for marketing. It's similar to what we see with the rising sensation of Neon Indian. Twin Shadow has the ability to identify with the niche of indie music veterans and yet also appeal to the more commercial-friendly crowd as well.

With pop culture and subcultures increasingly changing and mering in the information age, Twin Shadow fits neatly in the middle of marketability and authenticity.

STUNTS - FEELS at Dans Silverleaf

This one is a little late. We have a podcast to go with this we just haven't gotten to edit it yet. Here is the video for now. 


STUNTS preforms FEELS live at Dans Silverleaf in Denton, Texas on 7/29/2010