Somewhat buried in the Lone Star International Film Festival’s recent announcement of its headlining films is the tidbit that this year, the LSIFF has joined forces with Modern Cinema: Great Movies You Haven’t Heard of … Yet, the festival founded by Christopher Kelly. Movies will be screening at both the AMC Palace theater in downtown Fort Worth and the Modern Art Museum in the Cultural District. Among the six films so far to be screened at the Modern will be The Imitation Game, a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing, and Mr. Turner, a biography of the great British painter J.M.W. Turner by the venerable filmmaker Mike Leigh. There will also be a personal appearance by artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel and a screening of his 2001 debut film Before Night Falls.
A bit of history: Kelly started Modern Cinema back in 2004, in the wake of the old Fort Worth Film Festival suspending activity the previous year. With the city having no proper film festival, Modern Cinema did its part to fill the void, as Kelly created an annual weekend of programming out of films that he had seen on the festival circuit in his capacity as the Star-Telegram‘s film critic. When Lone Star Film Festival started up in 2007, the two events happily co-existed. Modern Cinema took place in September and offered a small, handpicked, lineup reflecting Kelly’s idiosyncratic tastes, while LSIFF went up in November with a broader range of films and a larger budget with which to throw ancillary events. Together, the two festivals gave Fort Worth moviegoers an excellent preview of the year’s awards contenders, as well as some smaller treasures that might otherwise have been overlooked.
I e-mailed Christopher Kelly for comment, and he said that he had considered dissolving Modern Cinema after relocating to New Jersey earlier this year. “At the same time, [the Modern’s film programmer] Tina Gorski and I were extremely loath to say goodbye to the festival or its extremely passionate audience,” he wrote. “[Lone Star Film Festival director] Alec Jhangiani suggested the idea of joining forces, and I thought it made perfect sense.”
There’s no word yet on whether this collaboration will continue beyond 2014, and it remains to be seen how the festival will accommodate two locations that aren’t exactly next door to each other. Still, the eighth Lone Star Film Festival promises to be one of the most fascinating ones in the event’s history. Tune into this blog during the weekend of November 6-9 for our take on how it all goes down.