Dallas Film Society Artistic Director, James Faust, began as the festival’s Senior Programmer at AFI DALLAS’ inception in 2006. A graduate of Cinema Studies at SMU following Telecommunication/Theatre degrees at Texas Tech University, Faust began his film career as a grip on ARMAGEDDON and once locally produced television Walker Texas Ranger. After working his way up to being a commercial producer, Faust started a local production company for which he won a local Emmy. He Resides on the Board of Directors for Arts Fighting Cancer. One of the founding members of the Deep Ellum Film Festival, Faust held the positions of Associate Programmer, Managing Director, and Programming Director during that festival’s seven year run. He has serverd juries and panels all over the world speaking about film festival management, programming and marketing. Instrumental in the formation of AFI DALLAS and the Dallas Film Society, Faust has also serves as a programmer with Asian Film Festival of Dallas, The Austin Film Festival and the Texas Black Film Festival and was honored by that festival as Filmmaker of the year in 2009.
Current City: Dallas, TX
AHD: You've served as Artistic Director for the Dallas International Film Festival since 2006. Can you tell us a little bit about your love affair with film, and how it culminated in your current position with Dallas Film Society?
JF: I’ve been in love with film since the day I snuck into a drive-in with my parents when I was 4 years old. I was drawn to the escapism. The stories keep me coming back. I feel film is the most powerful and accessible art form on the planet. I may be biased…
AHD: What should we expect when we attend this year's 2013 Dallas International Film Festival?
JF: This year we are celebrating Italian Cinema. There will be a series of films that encapsulate a pretty good slice of what Italian filmmakers past and present have to offer. Over 200 filmmakers from all over the world will arrive in Dallas. Panels on SFX, legal pitfalls of film production, and funding and screenwriting will take place on April 6th & 7th. Director William Friedkin will receive the Dallas Star award and present a 40th Anniversary Edition of “The Exorcist.” Legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson will be further immortalized in the film “42.” That screening will be extra special, as we will have the pleasure of hosting his daughter, Sharon Robinson, for a Q&A after the film. Filmmakers will mingle and be adored. Audiences will wow and be moved.
AHD: DIFF grew out of a partnership with American Film Institute and has evolved a great deal since its 2006 inception. In what ways has the festival grown?
JF: At the outset of our partnership we were an 11-day festival with an emphasis on new American works. At one point we decided to be more international. At the same time there were discussions to shrink the festival to 8 or 9 days. Today we are an 11-day festival again, screening films from 29 countries, hosting international film spotlights (Italy, Latino Cinema) and offering one of the only remaining “Texas Film” categories in the state.
AHD: You studied cinematography and film at SMU, and you ensure future filmmakers get educational programming through this annual festival. Why is arts education such an important priority both for you personally, and for the Dallas Film Society?
JF: The arts are very important to me and the Dallas Film Society. Nurturing the next filmmaker, painter, sound designer; these are things we should all be involved in to ensure a more rounded and innovative future. Through DFS programs such as High School Day, High School Roundtables, Summer Film Camp and our Talk/Show series we try to help existing programs as well as provide an outlet for inspiration and film education.
AHD: While the public only sees 11 days of fun, putting on the festival is probably a 365-day-a-year undertaking. What goes on behind the scenes when all eyes aren't gazing into the bright lights come April?
JF: Submission start rolling in around July, and the Festival is in April. There is not much down time. When we aren’t hosting screening series across the city, we are probably seeing friends and family that we forgot about or haven’t seen because we were buried in all the festival madness. This summer I’m getting married and building a bike. If film reels can work as wheels, it may be the coolest bike on the planet.
AHD: It's clear you enjoy the medium of film and the city of Dallas. What is it about this city that inspires you to bring in the best box office selection year after year?
JF: Dallas is an international city; one of the fastest growing areas in America. It offers an established art scene with burgeoning artists ready to be discovered, and friendly and accommodating audiences. It’s a great place to raise a family, and an even better place to feel welcome and at home. It’s also a city on the forefront of technology, with an eye on the environment. I am proud to call Dallas home.
AHD: How have you seen the local creative community embrace the festival that, this year, encompasses Dallas and Plano?
JF: We work with over 25 community partners that include other film festivals and arts groups all over the metroplex. It’s a sharing of information and marketing materials that is beneficial for all groups involved. So as our footprint grows, these partnerships ensure that we are reaching a wide swath of the population.
AHD: How can we order tickets and passes, and keep up with the latest news leading up to the start of the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival?
JF: You can check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and it’s all connected to our website: www.dallasfilm.org