Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 DIFF announces efforts to promote social change

The 2011 DALLAS International Film Festival has announced the festival intends to raise awareness of social issues and promote the need for change through a series of panels, new awards and partnerships with health organizations.

For the first time in the festival’s five-year history, a three-part panel discussion entitled FilmMatters presented by Earthbound Farm, Spire and M3 Films, supported by The Embrey Human Rights Program and co-produced by Stephen Nemeth and Susan Thomson has been curated to specifically engage, educate and inspire an audience to support film as a means to facilitate social action.

Over two days, national experts from the film, media and communications fields will participate in three panels called “WHY?”, “WHAT?” and “HOW?”. Upon the culmination of the discussions, audience members will have a comprehensive idea on why a film should be made about a cause and how to develop a strategic plan for taking it into the market place.

Melina McKinnon, producer of FilmMatters and CEO of M3 Films LLC comments:

“An important element of all film festivals is to provide opportunities to educate an audience, in order to develop a better understanding of the role of film in today’s world and panel discussions are a prime opportunity to have this educational experience. Now especially is the time as people are consistently looking for meaning in their projects as they become more and more socially conscious. We are delighted to be included in this prestigious Film Festival and thank Artistic Director James Faust for working with us to bring in non profit leaders, educators, philanthropists and filmmakers from around the world. We are so fortunate to have an incredible group of panelists to impart their knowledge with our audience. I encourage anyone interested in making a difference to take time out of their busy lives and learn how to communicate their cause with the world.”

FilmMatters presented by Earthbound Farm, M3 Films and Spire supported by The Embrey Human Rights Program will take place in the DALLAS IFF Festival Lounge, 1608 Main Street 75201. Click here for more info.

Then, Saturday April 2nd at the DALLAS IFF will be Heart, Hope, Healing Day: an H3 Celebration. Presented by Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital in partnership with the American Heart Association’s GO RED FOR WOMEN campaign and MISSION LIFE BALANCE® will be present at all the festival venues throughout the day to encourage audiences to get a glucose and cholesterol health screening.

Nancy Vish, President of Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital comments:

“Presenting our H3 Celebration on the first Saturday of DALLAS IFF is a wonderful way of reminding Dallas of the importance of health screenings. In exchange for the check up, every person will receive a DALLAS IFF screening voucher worth $10 and furthermore, if anyone wears red that day they will receive $2 off a same day ticket or free entry from the rush line. So it just makes sense: feel better AND get to see a movie for free!” Additionally, the first 200 people to donate $5 to the American Heart Association GO RED FOR WOMEN at the Baylor health screening locations will receive a free DALLAS IFF film screening voucher.
Click here for more information on the health screenings.

Another way that DALLAS IFF is working to keep awareness of social issues alive is by introducing a new award to this year’s festival: The Silver Heart Award.

Lauren Embrey, a panelist in FILM MATTERS has been instrumental in bringing this award to Dallas.The Silver Heart Award will be bestowed on an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity. The winner of the Silver Heart Award will receive a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Embrey Family Foundation.

“The Embrey Family Foundation is dedicated to building better lives,” said Lauren Embrey. ”We actively look to support programs that advance human rights, healthy communities, education and artistic creativity. There is a natural synergy with the Foundation’s mission and honoring a film or filmmaker for addressing socially conscious issues in their work, so we are thrilled to be involved with the DALLAS International Film Festival in this way.” Nine films will be competing for the Silver Heart Award.

The winner will be announced at the DALLAS Film Society Honors on April 8.

Finally, James Chippendale and Noah Hutton, two other FilmMatters panelists are bringing their compelling documentary MORE TO LIVE FOR to Dallas. It features the lives of three extraordinary men who are searching for a bone marrow match to save their lives. This is the first film of its kind where the audience can participate in a life-saving mission immediately after the screening. Testing to be in the International Bone Marrow Registry involves merely a swab of one’s cheek, and the filmmakers will be doing this on-site after every screening of the film. New registrants can potentially save someone’s life after being tested and matching a patient in need. This is a small act that can make a world of difference. New registrants from the DALLAS IFF can be tracked through the registry, which means that next year the festival will be able to announce the number of lives saved from these drives.

The DALLAS International Film Festival will run March 31 – April 10, 2011. Passes and tickets are currently on sale: available via online (, phone (214.782.9168) and in person at the FAUXCADES Box Office: 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Ste 100, Dallas.

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