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The DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Cadillac announced that award-winning actress Ann-Margret will be honored with the DALLAS Star Award at the upcoming festival (March 31 – April 10, 2011).

BEAUTIFUL BOY and SOUL SURFER and the world premiere of OK BUCKAROOS will be featured in the coveted Centerpiece screening slots. Fourteen films will vie for the unrestricted $25,000 Target cash prize in both the Target Documentary Feature and Narrative Feature Competitions.

In Shawn Ku’s hard-hitting poignant drama BEAUTIFUL BOY, starring Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, a couple in the midst of a rocky marriage suddenly have to face the devastating news that their son has committed a mass shooting before taking his own life.  The US Premiere of BEAUTIFUL BOY will take place at DALLAS IFF and it will bring the film home to Dallas for natives Lee Clay (producer) and cast members Meatloaf and Alan Tudyk. The cast also includes Moon Bloodgood, Kyle Gallner, Darren O’Hare and Deidrie Henry.

Based on the true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, Sean McNamara’s heart-wrenching yet inspirational SOUL SURFER sees a family, living an idyllic life in Hawaii, thrown into turmoil when their daughter/sister loses an arm, and nearly her life, in a vicious shark attack.  The 2008 DALLAS Star Award recipient Helen Hunt joins Dennis Quaid as Bethany’s parents with rising star AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany. Carrie Underwood, Lorraine Nicolson, Ross Thomas and Chris Brochu also star.

Patrick Tourville’s OK BUCKAROOS is the story of a troubadour’s journey in the last years of the twentieth century.  Jerry Jeff Walker was a street singer in the sixties.  In the seventies he led a musical movement and in the eighties he walked away from the recording industry.  Tourville’s film explores the 50-year journey of this Gypsy Song Man from Upstate New York to the beaches of Florida and the hustling sidewalks of New Orleans to Independence Day in 2009 and a hot summer’s night in Round Rock, Texas.

Brothers and University of Texas alums, Jack and Yossy Zagha, bring their comedic ADIÓS MUNDO CRUEL (GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD) to Dallas, a film that was inspired by Jack’s own experience of being mugged in Mexico City.  US Premiere PROSECUTOR explores the behind-the-scenes drama of the tumultuous year-in-the-life of the International Criminal Court’s first Chief Prosecutor, the controversial Argentine jurist, Luis Moerno Ocampo.  Two world premieres in the documentary competition promise to engage audiences: THE GREATER GOOD will incite debate as it highlights families whose lives have been forever changed by vaccine choices and ZERO PERCENT follows the lives of men who experience the transformative power of education within the notorious Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

The DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Cadillac will run March 31 – April 10, 2011.

The official selections include:
Centerpiece Screenings

Director: Shawn Ku
In Shawn Ku’s emotional drama, BEAUTIFUL BOY, a married couple on the verge of separation struggle to deal with their own personal loss whilst trying to find refuge from the public and the media after their son commits a mass shooting and kills himself.  Starring Michael Sheen, Maria Bello, Alan Tudyk and Moon Bloodgood.

Directed by: Patrick Tourville
Patrick Tourville’s documentary OK BUCKAROOS is the story of Jerry Jeff Walker whose music has led him from the nation’s biggest arenas to hundred-year old honky-tonks. Walker is an artist who has been a cog in the wheel of the recording industry’s star-making machinery and an involuntary pioneer on the frontier of artistic independence. Among those appearing in the documentary are Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson.

Director: Sean McNamara
SOUL SURFER chronicles the inspirational story of surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her left arm following a shark attack and the subsequent trials that she and her family go through in both her physical recovery and her emotional battle to continue surfing. Starring Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb, Lorraine Nicholson, Carrie Underwood, Kevin Sorbo, Jeremy Sumpter, Ross Thomas, Sonya Balmores Chung and Chris Brochu.

Target Narrative Feature Competition

ADIÓS MUNDO CRUEL (Goodbye Cruel World) (Mexico)
Director: Jack Zagha
When a hard-working accountant is let go from his job because of the economic slump, he finds a new way of earning a living: becoming part of a criminal gang. ADIÓS MUNDO CRUEL is a creative comedy from Mexico that finds humor in a series of unfortunate events.  Starring Carlos Alberto Orozco, Mónica Bejarano, JoséMontini, Lourdes Villarreal, Sandra Sánchez Cantú, Carlos Aragón, Justo Martínez and Pedro Gámez.

Director: Michael Morrissey
After witnessing the brutal murder of his mother, a young Brooklyn boy grows up obsessed with finding her killer. BOY WONDER challenges morality by exploring distorted perceptions of what is right and what is justified. The film stars James Russo, Zulay Henao and Tracy Middendorf.

Director: Clay Jeter
A series of vignettes involving memories of companionship and sexual awakening shared by two second cousins, JESS + MOSS captures the evocative and haunting character of the dark fire tobacco fields of rural Western Kentucky. Cast includes Sarah Hagan, Austin Vickers and Haley Strode

Director: Darragh Byrne
A proud man living in his car decides to become a better person after being inspired by a young drug addict. Byrne’s PARKED is a moving, uplifting film about friendship, trust and the need to feel truly at home. Stars Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan and Milka Ahlroth.

Director: Tom Provost
Provost’s stunning directorial debut, THE PRESENCE, is a darkly romantic ghost story that follows a woman’s (Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino) relationship with an apparition in her isolated cabin in Oregon.  With the unexpected arrival of the woman’s boyfriend, the spirit’s haunting becomes more obsessive. Starring Mira Sorvino, Shane West and Justin Kirk.

Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life.  Stars Martha Plimpton, Peter Stormare and Jill Hennessy.

Director: Dave Boyle
Directed by Dave Boyle, SURROGATE VALENTINE is about a San Francisco indie musician who lives a life on the road, navigating friendships and relationships. The film stars Goh Nakamura, Chadd Stoops and Lynn Chen.

Target Documentary Feature Competition

Director: Constance Marks
The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Constance Marks’ BEING ELMO uncovers the unlikely man behind the puppet – the heart and soul of Elmo – Kevin Clash. Featuring interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Carroll Spinney, Joan Ganz Cooney, Marty Robinson, Fran Brill, and Bill Barretta

Director: Anne Buford
From rural Senegal to American Prep schools, ELEVATE documents the basketball journey of four particularly tall African teenagers with NBA dreams.

Directors: Chris Pilaro, Kendall Nelson
Pilaro and Nelson’s THE GREATER GOOD looks behind the fear, hype and politics that polarize people into emotionally charged pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine camps.

Director: Joseph Mantegna
Mantegna documents the life and times of controversial, celebrated post-WWII American writer Norman Mailer as told through the people who knew him personally.  Interviews include Muhammad Ali, Beverly Bentley and William F. Buckley.

Director: Barry Stevens
A fascinating story with extraordinary inside access, PROSECUTORfollows the Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo through the first trials of the newly formed International Criminal Court. He’s a hero to genocide survivors, but has bitter enemies on both the right and the left.  Featured interviews include Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Mahmood Mamdani, Ben Ferencz, Silas Chekera, Sir Geoffrey Nice.

Director: Alex Dawson, Greg Gricus
WILD HORSE, WILD RIDEfollows a handful of unforgettable characters who set out on a 100-day quest to tame a totally wild mustang for a Texas competition. This stunning documentary highlights the profound bond between people and animals.   

Director: Timothy Skousen
Skousen gives his audience rare access within the walls of the Sing Sing Correctional facility.  The inmates experience the power of education while going through a rigorous college program called Hudson Link – with astounding statistical results.

source: DALLAS International Film Festival

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