The Big Screen

The Big Screen looks in-depth at the most interesting new release in theaters each week. We also have a weekly conversation with a major movie star or mover-and-shaker in the North Texas film scene and we highlight movies and DVDs to watch this weekend. The Big Screen is hosted by Chris Vognar, movie critic for The Dallas Morning News ( and Stephen Becker, reporter for Art and Seek, from KERA (
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The Big Screen



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Oct 19, 2016

In the early 1970s, the Up Stairs Lounge was one of the centers of gay life in New Orleans. That was before an arsonist set fire to the club, killing 32 people in what was the largest mass murder of gay people in the U.S. until June’s shooting in Orlando. This week, we talk with the Dallas director of "Upstairs Inferno," a new documentary about the tragedy.

Oct 12, 2016

This year’s Dallas VideoFest features D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film “The Birth of a Nation.” There is a twist, though: The movie, which is known for championing the Ku Klux Klan, has been re-cut and re-scored by an internationally known African-American DJ.  This week, we talk with DJ Spooky about putting his own stamp on one of history’s most notorious films

Oct 5, 2016

“The Birth of a Nation” looks at the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. The film is generating serious awards buzz, as well as controversy. This week, we focus on the historical events that inspired the movie with Edward Countryman, an SMU professor who specializes in American history.

Sep 28, 2016

Michael Nesmith spent his formative years in Dallas before joining the Monkees and becoming an international star. On Saturday, he returns to his hometown to accept an award not for his musical accomplishments, but for his work in television and film. This week, we speak with him from his home in California.

Sep 21, 2016

Mike Judge is known these days as the creator of the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley.” It was another workplace comedy, though, that solidified his place in Hollywood. This week, our Big Screen team looks back at "Office Space" – a film Judge developed while living in North Texas. It kicks off the Mike Judge Film Series that begins Thursday at the Texas Theatre.

Sep 14, 2016

A new film festival debuts in Arlington this weekend. This week, we talk with the founder of the Frame4Frame festival about highlighting culture in North Texas’ sportiest town.

Sep 7, 2016

Many of the films we’ll be talking about through the end of the year debut at this week’s Venice Film Festival. One half of our Big Screen team is at the festival and calls in from across the pond with a report from the field.

Aug 24, 2016

A new movie out Friday takes place on a summer day in 1989, following the first date between Barack Obama and his future wife, Michelle.

Aug 17, 2016

A new film festival highlighting movies made by female filmmakers will play in Dallas this weekend. This week, we talk with Justina Walford, founder of the Women in Texas Film Festival, about her mission to shatter some stereotypes about the kinds of movies women can make.

Aug 10, 2016

Reviews for Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” are overwhelmingly positive – the Associated Press calls it “one of the best of the year.” Much of the credit goes to Dallas’ David Lowery, who directed the movie. This week, we talk with him about making his first film for a major studio.

Aug 3, 2016

A North Texas company called Funimation handles a significant amount of the English dubbing of Japanese anime. And that provides a lot of work for local voice actors. This week, we talk with Bryn Apprill, a Plano actress, about finding a cartoon character’s voice. Apprill will take part in a discussion about all things anime on Saturday after an 11 a.m. screening of "The Boy and The Beast" at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Jul 27, 2016

In Haskell Wexler’s film “Medium Cool,” an ambitious television news cameraman documents the social unrest in Chicago ahead of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. As this year’s convention wraps up tonight, we talk about how many of the same social issues explored in the movie remain relevant today.

Jun 22, 2016

Fifty years ago this summer, one of the most influential art-house films ever was released: Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona.” The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will show “Persona” on Tuesday, and so this week we have a conversation about its enduring influence on the world of movies

Jun 15, 2016

The Oak Cliff Film Festival begins its four-day run tonight at the Texas Theatre and other venues in the neighborhood. It’s the fifth installment of the annual event, and this week we get a preview from two of its programmers, Barak Epstein and Jason Reimer.

Jun 8, 2016

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" hit movie theaters 35 years ago this week. Indiana Jones and his trusty bullwhip captured the imagination of kids – including a group of super fans who began an ambitious project that summer. This week, we talk about a documentary that looks at their quest to remake their favorite movie using a video camera and lots of ingenuity. On Tuesday, the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson will show the fan film and the documentary "Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made."

Jun 1, 2016

Howl’s Moving Castle,” “My Neighbor Totoro" and “Spirited Away” are all classics of Japanese animation. And they were all made by the same production company – Tokyo’s Studio Ghibli. This week, our Big Screen team talks with an anime expert about the legendary studio ahead of a summer-long screening series of its films.

May 27, 2016

Would you dress up in a ball gown or tuxedo just to watch a movie? That’s exactly what the crowds did at the recently wrapped Cannes Film Festival. This week, we talk about the world’s fanciest film fest with John Wildman, a Dallas filmmaker and journalist, who was there.

May 18, 2016
This week, we talk about a new film that revisits a dark period in Texas history.
May 4, 2016
This week, we talk with a Dallas music producer about a new score he’s written for one of the most gripping sci-fi movies of all time – 1979’s "Alien."
Apr 28, 2016
This week, we talk with Mondello at NPR Headquarters in Washington about 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'Harold and Maude' and other films that made him the critic he is today.
Apr 20, 2016
This week, we talk to the film's director ahead of its debut at the USA Film Festival.
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