Not sure what to see at this year’s Lone Star Film Festival? If you want a roster of star-studded hits, it’s not really the place. But if you want to discover a few smart, well-crafted indies and documentaries, you’re in for a treat.
Here are five recommendations.
As Far as the Eye Can See — Fort Worth writer Paden Fallis penned this quiet, evocative slice of Texana about a once-promising but washed-up classical pianist (who at one point was dubbed “the next Cliburn”) living on a run-down farm about 70 miles outside of Dallas (though it was filmed in Austin).
With a cast that’s appeared in a ton of Texas films — Jason London (Dazed and Confused), Jenni Tooley (Boyhood), Annalee Jeffries (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) — and cinematography that captures the wide-open land and sky, As Far as the Eye Can See shimmers with a sense of place. Filmmakers and members of the cast will be in attendance. 6 p.m. Nov. 11, Four Day Weekend.
Kelly’s Hollywood — This is an amazingly personal and moving confessional from actor/director Brian Donovan about his relationship with Kelly, his little sister with Down syndrome, who wants nothing more than to be a performer and be the center of attention.
What starts out as a filmic essay about family love and being inseparable turns into something more complex as they become adults — Brian moves to L.A. and Kelly begins to have sexual feelings she doesn’t understand. Kelly becomes jealous of Brian’s girlfriends and other demands on his time. 5:15 p.m. Nov. 12, AMC Palace.
The Other Kids — Director Chris Brown spent a long time with a group of teenagers in rural northern California to come up with this fictionalized documentary — he calls it a “ficumentary” — about their lives. They play themselves (and are credited as writers) coping with issues they’ve had to deal with: parental separation, sexuality, self-harm and being undocumented.
What at first seems gimmicky turns out to be like eavesdropping on a conversation in a high-school hallway. Brown is attending. 2 p.m. Nov. 11, AMC Palace.
A Brilliant Genocide — Australian director Ebony Butler’s fascinating documentary about Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni underscores the often contradictory nature of politics.
The film claims Museveni has been very good at attracting favorable attention and nice press from abroad while running a ruthless state at home. Genocide makes the case he’s more akin to Idi Amin with good public relations. 3 p.m. Nov. 10, AMC Palace.
Lion — The big-name, crowd-pleasing film on the schedule this year stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millioniare, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as a man, adopted as a child, on the hunt for his birth family. Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman also star.
It has been a festival hit, scoring a second-place People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12, Four Day Weekend.