The Deep in the Heart Film Festival announced the film lineup for its 4th edition, to be held on consecutive weekends September 25-27 and October 2-4. Deep in the Heart FF will open with local filmmaker Chris Hansen’s festival-favorite SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE, and screen an ambitious lineup of themed short film programs, featuring multiple first-time team ups with local arts organizations, and more innovations within the virtual space and filmmaker hospitality from afar. The popular Waco-based film festival will be screening 123 films (7 features, 116 shorts and music videos).
Deep in the Heart FF co-founders and directors Samuel Thomas and Louis Hunter, said, “In our 4th year, it was important to everyone involved with the film festival that we not take a step back due to the pandemic, but instead to continue growing as a film festival in every way we could, innovating, expanding our footprint in the city, and forging that connection between our filmmakers and audiences. Most importantly, this year is not just about maintaining the sense of fun and love of cinema that our fest is already known for here in Waco, but doubling down on that inspiration and looking beyond to try things we hadn’t even envisioned prior to this year.”
Prior to the film festival’s pivot, Hansen’s romantic drama, SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE, which has established itself as an audience favorite and award-winner at film festivals across the country, had been targeted as a “homecoming” screening since the film was shot in and around Waco. However, the film, which follows the ups and downs of an interracial marriage between an aspiring filmmaker and a dancer in seven vignettes, telling a story of turmoil and tenderness as two people try to make their relationship last, will now be the subject of a special “Conversation on the making of…” Q&A including Hansen, the film’s stars Drez Ryan and Chynna Walker, DP Aaron Youngblood, and producer Dan Beard.
THE DUMMY FACTOR, DREAM WITH ME
Other feature films on the schedule include Michael Erger’s PESCADOR which will make its world premiere at Deep in the Heart FF. The serio-comic film follows a recently divorced biochemistry professor’s efforts to obtain her pot smoking boyfriend’s “lazy sperm” during a fraught evening. O. Corbin Saleken’s THE DUMMY FACTOR is an entertaining Canadian thriller about a 12-year-old who recruits his friends to help him solve the mystery of a couple missing children with a host of suspects in their town to choose from. Jonathan Seaborn’s documentary DREAM WITH ME focuses on a “Dreamer” who took advantage of DACA, the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. When the Trump administration rescinded the program, her life is immediately thrown into a state of limbo. The screening of the film will mark Deep in the Heart FF’s first film presentation partnership with Waco Immigrants Alliance.
LOVES GOD, LIKES GIRLS, LIYANA, SOMETHING NEW IN OLD TOWN
Other films featuring first-time partnerships with Waco-based organizations include; Jordan Bunch’s LOVES GOD, LIKES GIRLS. Co-presented with Waco Pride Network along with a LGBTQIA+ shorts program entitled “Hearts and Minds,” the film tells the story of a gay woman growing up in a small town in West Texas in the 60-70s in a conservative local church. The Waco Cultural Arts Festival will partner with Deep in the Heart FF for the first time for two screenings; Aaron and Amanda Kopp’s animated film LIYANA features the executive producing debut by actor Thandie Newton. The film looks at the imaginations of five children in Swaziland as they create an original African tale about a girl on a dangerous quest. Jude Fokwang’s documentary SOMETHING NEW IN OLD TOWN looks the lives and activities of young people in Cameroon, who strive to change their community, notably as “searchers” of locally adapted solutions. Through their charitable acts, hygiene campaigns, women-centered schemes and commitment to grassroots development, they build and impart hope in a community that continues to struggle with redefining how outsiders see them.
FATALE COLLECTIVE: BLEED
Since it’s inception, Deep in the Heart FF has had a strong focus on programming short films and curating themed programs that go far beyond basic “drama” or “comedy” programs. This year doubles down on that trend, led by a horror and oddity-themed block of shorts entitled “Friday Night Frights,” which includes a mini-shorts combo from women directors entitled FATALE COLLECTIVE: BLEED, and launches the second weekend of programming on October 2. Other programs include the appropriately themed “2020 in a Nutshell,” a Texas film and filmmaker focused “5 Star, Lone Star,” a family-friendly program entitled, “Saturday Family Matinee,” and another disturbing collection of short film curiosities entitled, “wtf?!?”
Adding to the film festival experience beyond the screenings and Q&As for film fans, the Deep in the Heart Film Festival will feature access to a virtual Red Carpet on Opening Night, script readings, filmmaker panels, and an interactive scavenger hunt.
The scavenger hunt will challenge audience members to pay attention and find “easter eggs” in the background of film scenes or recurring themes and items. Wacoans and Texans who find the items and targeted themes will be entered into a drawing for a Waco-based prize pack (including restaurant gift cards, Dr Pepper Museum passes, and a Magnolia Market T-Shirt). Deep in the Heart FF Filmmakers who find all the items will be entered into a drawing for a filmmaker prize pack including a One-on-One consultation with film veterans and consultants including production vets, publicists, crowdfunding experts, and more.
For filmmakers, Deep in the Heart FF will be adding another couple of wrinkles to the virtual experience. A mid-fest film trivia Game Night will invite Deep in the Heart filmmakers from around the world to test their cinema knowledge and get to know their filmmaking colleagues virtually. Deep in the Heart Film Festival will also be creating special filmmaker swag bags to deliver Waco to the front door of the people that, in any other year, would be able to discover and enjoy the city personally. The bags will include Waco-centric and highlighted products like; Coffee from Apex Coffee; Goat Milk Soap from TLC Farms; Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly Jelly Beans from the Dr. Pepper Museum; Deep in the Heart Popcorn and logo-rific items; and more from Creative Waco, the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, etc.
Two filmmaker panels will include Inclusivity and diversity in Screenwriting – “Write What You Don’t Know”. As opposed to the adage, “Write what you know,” this panel will discuss creating well rounded, authentic characters that do not share the same live experience as their authors. Panelists will include Marisela Campos (Producer, THE 11TH ORDER), Ya’Ke Smith (Writer/Director, BROTHER, Associate Professor of Radio, Television and Film at the University of Texas at Austin), Cedric Thomas Smith (Co-Writer/Director/Producer, RETIREMENT DAY, shorts programmer, San Antonio Film Festival), Bears Rebecca Fonte (Writer/Director, CONVERSION THERAPIST, Founder, Other Worlds Austin Film Festival). Moderated by Script Shop Show hosts Allyson West and Jack Crumley. The second panel, Filmmaking and COVID will address how filmmakers go forward making their films working within a new pandemic reality. The panel will examine the protocols and best practices on set, and discuss how the filmmaking world has changed from story concepts all the way to playing the festival circuit. Panelists will include: Angela Gulner (Actor, Glow, Writer, BINGE), Emma Campbell (Founder, Pink Mist FX), Hailey Oltman (Assistant Director, The Fugitive), Luisa Mendoza (Director of Photography, RACE CAR DRIVER), John Wildman (Co-Writer/Director/Producer, THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE, film industry publicist), Yuri Baranovsky (Founder, HLG Studios). Moderated by Dan Beard (Producer, SEVEN SHORT FILMS ABOUT (OUR) MARRIAGE, Digital Media lecturer, Baylor University).
For passes, tickets and more information on the Deep in the Heart Film festival, please go to: https://www.deepintheheartff.com/.
About Deep in the Heart Film Festival
Consistently ranking in FilmFreeway’s Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals in the World, Deep in the Heart Film Festival (DitHFF) brings our Central Texas community together through independent film. Established in 2017, we engage audiences with films from major festivals and Texas talent. We build networks and careers through our industry education and promotion. Add in some chips & salsa with our own DitHFF magic, and we create one of the most unique experiences on the festival circuit. For more information visit www.deepintheheartff.com, and follow us on Facebook.com and Instagram.com