As is well-known around here, the late actor Bill Paxton was a Fort Worth native, and even after projects such as “Titanic” and “Big Love” he still paid attention to the Fort Worth arts scene, especially the movie side of it.
In our obituary for Paxton after his death in February at age 61, we noted: “Mr. Paxton didn’t forget his North Texas roots. He was involved in the early stages of setting up Fort Worth’s Lone Star Film Festival as the honorary chair of its advisory board a decade ago.”
The festival announced this week that it will honor Paxton with a special tribute during its Lone Star Film Festival Ball, which kicks off this year’s festival — the 11th — on Nov. 8 at Bass Hall.”
“Bill Paxton was a true visionary,” Chad Mathews, the festival’s executive director, says in a release. “He shined a spotlight on Fort Worth and the Lone Star Film Festival and helped infuse film into the fabric of our community. Our organization owes him a lot and it’s only fitting that we pay honor to the man who helped create our festival. He’s meant so much to Fort Worth.”
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This echoes a statement Mathews made after Paxton died unexpectedly Feb. 25 from a stroke suffered 11 days after undergoing surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm and replace his bicuspid aortic valve
“In my first year with the Lone Star Film Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Paxton,” Mathews said in the statement, quoted in the Star-Telegram obituary. “Not only was he an incredible actor but he was integral in the formation of the film society and festival a decade or so earlier. He was an inquisitive, generous, kind-hearted man, who loved his Fort Worth roots. I will never forget how welcoming he was to me. The stories he shared on life and his hometown will forever have a place in our organization’s history. He will be truly missed.”
The LSFF Ball will also feature dinner and awards, with Paxton being remembered for “his work on the big screen and his commitment to LSFF, along with his love for his hometown.”
The Dallas International Film Festival, which took place March 30-April 9, also honored Paxton, who was also memorialized in April at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Fellow Fort Worth native and Broadway legend Betty Buckley performed “Amazing Grace” at the memorial, and described Paxton as “the definitive Texas boy...[he] reminds me of the best things of who we are as Texans and as Fort Worthians.”
Further details of the tribute are to be announced. The Film Festival also announced its first wave of selections for this year’s festival, which takes place Nov. 8-12 at various venues:
20 Weeks: Anna Margaret Hollyman and Amir Arison star in this drama about a young couple expecting their first child who discover, during a routine pregnancy scan, a health condition that could gravely affect their baby, causing them to re-examine their relationship and their future. Written and directed by Leena Pendharkar.
42 Grams: Documentary about chef Jake Bickelhaupt’s journey from illegal restaurateur to culinary celebrity, and the effect it has on his life and marriage. (According to Eater Chicago, Bickelhaupt’s Michelin-starred restaurant closed suddenly this summer). Directed by Jack C. Newell.
DriverX: Comedy-drama about a middle-age stay-at-home dad who begins working for a ride-share company to support his wife and two young daughters. Written and directed by Henry Barrial.
Flock of Four: Set in 1959, this drama is about four best friends searching for a legendary jazz musician in Los Angeles. Directed by Gregory Caruso, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Nader.
Metamorphosis: Junior Year: This documentary, about a group of Palo Alto high-school students attempting to put on a coming-of-age play during a teen-suicide epidemic, has a backstory that seems worthy of a documentary in itself: According to a Stanford Daily story, young co-director Lacey Dorn met actor James Franco, who grew up in Palo Alto, at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival. Franco’s mother, Betsy, wrote the young adult novel that’s the source material for the play. Franco offered Dorn the opportunity to help out, and she eventually wound up co-directing the movie with him.
Midnighters: Hitchcock-esque thriller about a couple whose already-strained marriage really faces a test after they cover up a crime on New Year’s Eve. The feature-directing debut of Julius Ramsay, who has done editing work on such TV series as “The Walking Dead,” “Battlestar Galactica” and (one of these things is not the same) “American Idol.” Written by Ramsay’s brother Alston who, according to his IMDb bio, “served as deputy chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, [and] strategic advisor and senior speechwriter to General David Petraeus in Afghanistan.”
Muse: Can’t do better than the synopsis on this one: “A painter's life is forever changed when a mythical and deadly spirit from Celtic lore — a Leannán Sí — becomes his muse and lover.” Written and directed by John Burr, who grew up in Dallas.
Rose: Cybill Shepherd plays the title character, a widowed ex-cop who discovers that she may have a life-threatening illness, and takes a motorized-wheelchair journey through the Southwest, where she meets and falls in love with an old cowboy (James Brolin). Also featuring Pam Grier and Fort Worth’s Julio Cedillo (“Sicario,” “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”). Written and directed by Rod McCall, whose rather eclectic background includes work on “Sesame Street,” “Saturday Night Live” and the pay-cable soft-porn series “Red Shoe Diaries.”
More movies will be announced for the festival, which will have screenings and events at AMC Palace Theater, Four Day Weekend Theater, Sundance Square, Sundance Square Pavilion, Bass Performance Hall and The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel.
All-Access Badges (regular price $300) are currently available online at a discounted rate of $225. Individual screening tickets are available at the door for $10. Information: lonestarfilmfestival.com/.