DIFF 2010 – The Lone Star Connections

23 04 2010


A stellar Texas Competition lineup, Bill Paxton, Lou Diamond Phillips  and John Lee Hancock made for a wonderful feeling of Texas pride at the Dallas IFF 2010.

Opening night was highlighted by the energetic scene that followed the always fun Bill Paxton.   Mayor Tom and Laura Leppert accompanied Bill on the opening night event as well.  Bill’s connection to the festival stems from his long friendship to fellow Texan and long time friend turned filmmaker Tom Huckabee, who had his film CARRIED AWAY involved in the Texas Competition.   This year’s Texas Competition had a wide variety of plots and themes.  MPS Studios’ handed out the Texas Filmmaker Award this past Friday night.  I was able to see 4 of the 7 films, including the eventual winner, during the festival itself.  Huckabee’s CARRIED AWAY, Chris Howell’s SWEET SCIENCE: A BOXING DOCUMENTARY, Clay Liford’s EARTHLING and British directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas’ AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY were the films I saw.  And yes indeed the BRITS took home the MPS Studios’ Texas Filmmaker Award (ironic yes indeed, but well deserved).   The other films in the category were DANCE WITH THE ONE by Michael Dolan, Frank Mosley’s HOLD and Robert Byington’s HARMONY AND ME which won a special jury prize.


Top talent behind the camera and in front shared time on numerous film sets in the Texas Competition.  We already covered Cinematographer Ron Gonzalez shooting both CARRIED AWAY and HOLD.  Also add on Austin based Bryan Poyser and his dark comedy LOVERS OF HATE and DIFF had a very local feel.

Will Canon’s gripping Audience Award winning film BROTHERHOOD was shot in Arlington.  Producer Jason Croft talks about bringing the film home.

Jason went on about how all the talent and crew came together.

Dan Marocco, Will Canon, Jason Croft, Trevor Morgan, Doug Simon, Lou Pucci, and Jon Foster

BROTHERHOOD was a whirlwind of a crazy night gone wrong for a fraternity and fully deserved the love from an aware audience.


Every night the Palomar packed the 9th floor with a bevy of talented local directors, writers, actors, and busy-bodies (and PSD on a few occasions).  Local products like Lou Diamond Phillips and John Lee Hancock were in town.  Lou to promote his film Transparency.  John Lee was given a Star Award as well as held a special Q & A session that was moderated by WFAA’s Gary Cogill.

John Lee a native Texan who graduated with a Law degree from Baylor (same school where his father and one of his brothers were multi-year lettermen in football) and even was part of a Houston firm before he went out to Los Angeles.  Theater was the first passion for John Lee when he ventured to Hollywood.

John parlayed his scene writing into full screenplays and his first major finished work, A PERFECT WORLD, just happened to catch the eye of Clint Eastwood.  The film starred Kevin Costner and it brought Hancock’s name into many producer’s minds.  John Lee’s tale of how that film got picked up is utterly FASCINATING!!!!

O John you had me hooked at Steven Spielberg.  PLEASE GO ON!


Freaking goosebumps over here buddy.  So yeah John Lee Hancock = Bad Ass.  He went on to write another film with Clint as director, MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.  He went on to direct THE ROOKIE, which starred Dennis Quaid and won the 2002 ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie. He also directed and co-wrote the historical drama THE ALAMO, starring Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton.  Then of course he directed THE BLINDSIDE, starring Oscar-Winning Sandra Bullock.

Ok enough of me babbling – I’m going to let John Lee tell us stories – FREAKING ENJOY THIS – CUZ IT WAS AMAZING!!  Lets start with Midnight, a John Lee Hancock adaptation of record setting book (same name folks) written by John Berednt.


John can you tell us a tale about THE ROOKIE.  OOwww Ow, tell us how you famously pitched the film.


Jim Morris and Dennis Quaid

Tell us about the wonderful casting of Rachel Griffiths in THE ROOKIE, she was great.


Ok I wouldn’t fill right if I didn’t point out one of the best questions of the night from Gary was about the actual baseball scenes in the film.  More accurately how realistic the film looks to baseball fans.

How about the zinger from the Cogill.  Coldblooded.  And now lets talk about Sandra Bullock.


John Lee went on for another hour or so.  I don’t want to take up anymore of your work day…wink wink.

And always remember – WE TEXANS KICK ASS!

Hey if you want to here more of any of the interviews, Q & A’s, Star award presentations or just Mark and I giggling at pictures of road kill shot by Guillermo Arriaga (huh?), just ask if you want any of that.  I MEAN YOU.





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