Dallas International Film Festival features works by SMU Faculty, Alumni and Students, April 14 - 19

Event features premieres of "Jasmine" and "Dare to Drum," college shorts and more

SMU faculty, alumni and students all have films being featured this week at the ninth annual Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). The largest cinematic event in North Texas, DIFF presents 11 days of independent and studio films each spring, along with panel discussions, conversations with award-winning filmmakers, galas and more. This year’s festival runs through April 19, and all films are shown at the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station.

Jasmine by Dax Phelan (’07)
April 14 at 9:45 p.m.
April 16 at 7:15 p.m.

The festival will present the U.S. premiere of Jasmine, the feature film directorial debut of Meadows alum Dax Phelan, on April 14 and 16. Phelan wrote, produced and directed the thrilling whodunit that “brings film noir to the streets of present day Hong Kong.” The story revolves around Leonard To, a once-successful Hong Kong businessman still reeling from the murder of his wife the year before. Having lost “his job, friends, and all sense of order in his life, Leonard becomes interested in a mysterious stranger he sees at his wife’s grave, believing him to be responsible for her death.”

Phelan will also visit campus to meet with current students in the Film and Media Arts Division on Wednesday, April 15 in room 3531 in the Greer Garson building as part of Professor Rick Worland’s “Art of Film & Media” class.

Phelan graduated from SMU in 1997 with degrees in cinema and English literature and earned an M.F.A. in screenwriting from the American Film Institute in 2000. His other films include Crash Where You Land (1998) and The Canyons (2013). For tickets and more information, visit here.

Dare to Drum – with music faculty members John Bryant, Doug Howard, Jamal Mohamed and Ed Smith
April 16 at 7 p.m.
April 18 at 3 p.m.

Written, edited, produced and directed by music faculty member John Bryant, Dare to Drum is “the story of what happens when five accomplished percussionists and a rock star composer come together with a major American orchestra to create groundbreaking work both on and off the screen.” D’Drum, a Dallas-based world percussion group, teamed up with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police to create Gamelan D’Drum, a new 35-minute work commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Three years in the making, the work combined a range of world percussion instruments - from Africa, the Middle East, and Indonesian gamelan ensembles - with Western classical instruments. The exotic instruments were specially tuned to play with a Western orchestra in the first such collaboration known. Led by conductor Jaap Van Zweden, the DSO and D’Drum premiered the work in February 2011, in spite of being nearly derailed by icy weather.

Four of the five founding members of D’Drum are SMU music faculty members: John Bryant, Jamal Mohamed, Ed Smith and Doug Howard, who is also principal percussionist for the DSO. Launched in 1992, the group blends the sounds of Indonesia, Africa and Persia with Western classical and jazz forms. They have been featured in an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary of their travels, in the score for the National Geographic film Lions of Darkness, and on the PBS children’s show Wishbone.

Dare To Drum “follows this eclectic group of musicians on their multicultural, musical journey from the beginning stages to the final note.” For tickets and more information, visit here.

North Texas College Shorts Showcase
April 17 at 10 p.m.

The showcase will include Exciting Times by alumnus Scott Bolton (B.A. Film and Media Arts ’14) and Fish Out of Water by current student Trevor Thrall (B.F.A. Film and Media Arts ’16). For tickets and more information, visit here.

Divine Access by executive producers Clay Glendenning (B.A. Political Science ’08)) and Jeffrey Way (B.S. Mechanical Engineering ’08)
April 14 at 4 p.m.

Divine Access is “a humorous, heartfelt spiritual road trip with pit stops for beer, fishing and fun on the way to examining truth, friendship, family and faith.” The cast includes Patrick Warburton, Adrienne Barbeau and Gary Cole. For tickets and more information, visit here.