Thin Line Fest wrapped up its 11th year this past Sunday night. What originated as Texas’ only all- documentary festival has morphed into a Film, Music and Photo festival that continues to push us toward other avenues where we can hear or see stories unfold.
While the volunteers that brought Thin Line to life these past five days are probably rejoicing that the festival is behind them, I’m positive they are also beaming with pride realizing that this was a super successful festival. I recall dragging anyone and everyone I could to sit through countless docs during the first year of Thin Line. As the festival continues to expand its palate, I continue to find a lot more on my list that I can’t get to than ever before. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just more opportunities to enlighten and introduce new experiences and connect with more people.
Here a few insights from the festing I had a chance to experience and the reason I’m still smiling so large. I was pleasantly surprised in many instances as I walked in with a set of expectations and walked out with new ideas and perspectives.
Stepping in to help with a few DentonRadio.com interviews exposed me to some new music, allowing me to meet a soaring artist and gain some insight into this very talented, high energy entertainer. While he lives in New York now, Dezi returns to the DFW area often bringing his electronic beats back for us to move to and enjoy. That was the energy that was present while Dezi 5 headlined during Thin Line this past Saturday night.
The New True Texas Travel Category
Thin Line partnered with Texas Highways and AJR Media group to add a new category within the festival’s lineup. The new category was open to amateurs and established filmmakers alike and its purpose was to give us a travel experience through the people and places of the Lone Star State. Traditional documentaries made up most of the entries that were viewed during the festival though there were a few mockumentaries and travelogues.
Many of the films served the purpose of highlighting some true Texas places to explore such as Georgetown, Texas and The Historic Downtown Tomato Bowl. Others, such as The Ancient Forest and Highway 100, took an artistic approach while Echoes in the Night and Looking Back were true documentary forms of teaching and spreading awareness while presenting genuine Texas spots. Prada Marfa started the healthy conversation again, “Is it art or is it a billboard?” And Mineola Portraits was a perfect example of small-town Texas life and the way we entertain ourselves, right down to spotting an armadillo crossing the road at night.
But Texas Highways walked away the true winner as they announced the category favorite and top prize to A Piece of Texas: A Travel Documentary. Was it a travel doc or music video? Or does it really matter? It takes you to many wonderful Texas spots while introducing us to a tune that we will all sing along to as we describe our beautiful Lone Star State.
When the topic of a wall comes up, for me, it can get personal real quick. This is one that I walked in with a preconceived expectation of how it would make me feel. I expected to feel anger or maybe even heartbreak. And while I surprised even myself for not getting all worked up, I was also surprised to receive a history lesson of the area and the people affected. Realizing I’m not as knowledgeable about the history or the people of the area has awakened a strong desire to dig into my own background and history.
I had the opportunity to interview director and producer, Lisa Eismen on DentonRadio.com before the second screening of the world premiere of this film at Thin Line. Her film followed female blues musicians and performers as they struggle to break out in a male-dominated industry. The unexpected here is that it’s not a melancholy story but one of empowerment.
Taking a Break
While I enjoyed the super comfy DCTA/Thin Line shuttle which helped us connect between the Campus Theatre and the Movie Tavern, where films were screened, I was still logging in some steps. We continue to taut our walkable downtown and walk I did as I dined around town often. But there was a moment where I just needed to sit and kick my feet up. Maybe a beer moment? So I headed to Bearded Monk where I can always count on the staff to offer a suggestion based on what I like, have tried and enjoyed. On this occasion, I enjoyed The Woofus, a limited release from Pegasus City Brewery. It was a light, crisp golden beer. Just like its namesake, it’s a cross between a Cream and Kolsch-style beer with a touch of wheat.
After my break, I moved on to Harvest House for Thin Line’s Sunday evening finale. I had actually honed in on the final concert but, luckily, upon arrival, I discovered that the concerts were running behind. It was a great opportunity to hear Salt Petal whose diverse sound included cumbia and disco but then they also busted out an accordion. I’m still hopeful the video of me dancing doesn’t surface any time soon.
Ceramos con Broche de Oro (Our “The Grand Finale”)
There is a very talented young woman on our staff that continually explores and expands her music knowledge. I live vicariously through Isabel Deniz and sometimes see via social the many concert experiences she shares like a recent Flor de Toloache concert. Having the 2017 Latin Grammy Winners on her radar for a while, she suggested them on a whim to Thin Line. (Isabel also happens to be the Associate Music Director for Thin Line.) She was both surprised and excited to hear the group had accepted the invitation to perform.
I was too because what Mexicana doesn’t like Mariachi music much less an all-woman power band? And power they brought. From the stage, their strong vocals went straight for your heart as their fingers strummed musical magic. I couldn’t help but feel pride and a lot of emotion as I looked around Harvest House and took in how many people were smiling as large as I was. At that moment we were just people enjoying the magic of music that brought us together, without barriers.
This what Thin Line does. It connects us to culture.
Kim Phillips, Discover Denton’s VP, said it best in a past blog describing Thin Line, “We walk in the shoes of people we do not know in situations we will likely never find ourselves.” Even while staying within my comfort zone, Thin Line schooled me. That’s when you know the festival is a success.
If you are sad you missed the festival, there is still good news. Thin Line likes to stay active so be sure to follow them on social to stay informed of additional special events they offer throughout the year. Visit www.ThinLine.us or look for them as Thin Line Fest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.