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Oak Cliff Film Festival promises colorful variety of documentaries, features and live music

Oak Cliff Film Festival
"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" is one of the animated feature films showing at Oak Cliff Film Festival about a tiny talking shell whose search for his family goes viral.

The Oak Cliff Film Festival kicks off today for its 11th year showcasing local talent and independent films, many of which aren’t yet available to watch online.

Just as in previous years, the festival features an assorted mix of quality films ranging from family-friendly features to oddball documentaries.

What's different? Festival co-director Ashton Campbell said this year’s festival has more documentaries.

“It’s been kind of a joke running through our staff meetings into the fest, is that, that we're very doc-heavy. We're like the ‘Oak Cliff Documentary Film Festival’ in a kind of funny way,” Campbell said.

Oak Cliff Film Festival
The Texas Theatre is one of the venues by where the Oak Cliff Film Festival is showcasing feature films and documentaries. Other venues incldue The Kessler Theater and Wild Detectives.

“Butterfly in the Sky” is the festival’s opening film. Campbell calls it a “powerful” documentary about the inspirational PBS kids’ show “The Reading Rainbow” and host LeVar Burton’s journey to get the show on the air.

Many films are holding their Texas or regional premiere during the festival, including “Meet Me in the Bathroom” about the eclectic music scene in New York City’s Lower East Side during the early 2000’s that incubated musical acts like The Strokes, Interpol and The Moldy Peaches.

“32 Sounds” is an immersive feature documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green which Campbell calls a “cinematic meditation.”

Feature film showings include the quirky animated full-length “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” about a talking shell that became a viral YouTube sensation and “Three Headed Beast” by Texas-based filmmakers Fernando Andrés and Tyler Rugh about a couple navigating an open relationship.

The festival is also showcasing new local talent with its showing of student-made films during “Texas Shorts” segment. There will also be a live performance by Oak Cliff native Jacks Haupt, one of the subjects of the documentary “Mija” on Friday night.

Campbell said this year’s festival promises to be one of the premiere hyperlocal events of the summer.

“I think we have a pretty decent reputation about being a film festival that like doesn't doesn't worry about the boundaries and is okay with pushing them in order to get the things out there that we think need to be seen,” Campbell said.

The Oak Cliff Film Festival runs Thursday through Sunday.

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the breaking news reporter for KERA News.