#dentonbucketlist: Thin Line Fest

Published on: Sun, Feb 14, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, this column talked about the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) effort to build a Denton Bucket List.  Thanks to the many of you who have submitted ideas.  Here are some of your additions:

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Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. Picture by: Ed Steele Photography

Go to the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.

Participate in the Sunset Toast at LSA Burger.

Tour the Courthouse-on-the-Square – including the tower.

Go on a Horse Country Tour.

Ride in the Wandervan.

Go on a Denton Ghost Tour.

These are just some, and we are still collecting.  Keep those ideas coming.  This is the list of #dentoning at its finest!

I have a new addition today.  See a documentary at Thin Line Fest.  You can knock this one off your bucket list this week.  Thin Line Fest opens Wednesday, February 17 and runs through Sunday night, February 21.  Check out the full schedule including film descriptions, concerts and photography exhibits at thinlinefest.com.

Why Thin Line Fest?  For starters, Thin Line Fest is the only all-documentary film festival in Texas.   Secondly, some 55 documentary films will screen over the five days, so there are plenty of story topics by filmmakers from all over the world from which to choose.  Thirdly, enjoy films in the historic Campus Theatre.  I’m sure most of you are aware the Campus Theatre was originally a film cinema.  I hear folks talk about the old Denton days when a quarter in the pocket and a film at the Campus were the makings of the best kind of Saturday.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Thin Line Fest will stretch you, and it’s a good kind of stretch.

I’ve shared the story in this column before about my documentary conversion.  When Thin Line Fest opened in Denton for the first time nine years ago, I had never watched a documentary.  Hold on before you gasp!  Of course I sat through hundreds of documentary and educational films in school.  I’m old enough that my academic life spanned that of film’s from flickering 8mm to high-def.   So, I’ve watched my share of docs.  What I mean to say is that it had never occurred to me to watch a doc for the fun of it.  Since our job at the CVB is to promote Denton and all of her happenings, I went that first year, and let’s just say I got it.

Thin Line Fest 2015 Photo by Kristen Watson

Thin Line Fest 2015 Photo by Kristen Watson

What I’ve learned to love about documentaries is that they surprise.  I love that.  What I expect by its title that a film may convey is based on my personal expectation.  I read a bit about the topic and anticipate the film will unfold in a certain way.  But that is rarely how it happens.  The doc unfolds according to the filmmaker’s experience.  We see the story through his lens, his feelings and his original, independent interpretation about why the story should be told at all.  You know the old adage “perception is reality?”  Line up 10 people and ask them to view the exact same scene, and each one will perceive unique nuances the other 9 didn’t see at all.  This is the documentary magic of Thin Line Fest.

People often speculate about the festival’s name, Thin Line Fest.  What does it mean?  Consider how the term “thin line” is used in everyday conversation.  There is a thin line between love and hate, humor and sarcasm, genius and madness.  According to thinlinefest.com, “’Thin Line refers to the space between two conflicting ideas…There are two sides to every issue, and the thin line represents the conflict between the two. Therein lies the drama.  Life is full of thin lines, and we celebrate them.”

Through Thin Line’s storytellers, we encounter.  We don’t just “take in a film.”  We walk in the shoes of people we do not know in situations we will likely never find ourselves.  And we are more complete, stretched, because of it.  Our world is enlarged and our understanding of it broadened.  You will leave each film, concert, and photograph exhibit with you own original, independent perceptions.  Did you like it or not?  Did it touch you or turn you off?  Did it validate what you know or teach you something new?  Did you laugh, cry or leave indifferent?  Likely, you will feel some of all of these opposites, perhaps even in the same film.  And that is the thin line.

As for the bucket list, you either do it or you don’t.  There is no thin line in tackling it, no sort-of or half-way approaches to it.  So, if you haven’t started yours yet, be your own Valentine, love yourself a little and #dentonbucketlist this week at Thin Line Fest.

See you at the movies!

Our bloggers wrote many words on several films showing at Thin Line this week. Check them all out here!

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