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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 (dallasnews.com) and Stephen Becker, reporter for Art and Seek, from KERA (artandseek.org).
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Nov 15, 2017

In the new film “Last Flag Flying,” Steve Carell plays a Vietnam veteran whose son – a Marine – is killed in Iraq. On his way to retrieve his son’s remains, he pays a visit to a couple of old military buddies in hopes that they might offer support on the trip. The film is the latest from Richard Linklater, who we talked with recently about patriotism and the timing of war movies.

Nov 7, 2017

The Lone Star Film Festival opens Thursday in Fort Worth. And this year’s event includes several films with Fort Worth ties. This week, we look at the lineup with the festival’s executive director, Chad Matthews.

Nov 1, 2017

In years past, Dallas VideoFest featured more than a hundred movies stretched out over a week. This year’s slate, though, includes only a few dozen shown over this weekend. This week, we talk with VideoFest artistic director Bart Weiss about creating a leaner, more focused fest.

Oct 12, 2017

The first feature-length film of the sound era was 1927’s “The Jazz Singer.” And ever since, Hollywood has produced a steady stream of musicals. This week, we talk with SMU film professor Sean Griffin about the enduring popularity of musical films. His new book is called "Free and Easy?: A Defining History of the American Film Musical Genre" (Wiley-Blackwell).

Oct 11, 2017

Short films offer budding directors a chance to learn their craft and established filmmakers an opportunity to play. This week, we talk about this under-appreciated segment of movies with a creator of The Eyeslicer Roadshow, a short film program coming to the Texas Theatre.

Oct 4, 2017

DocuFest - the documentary wing of VideoFest - opens Thursday night in Dallas. To get you ready, we preview a pair of films that focus on the arts. "Dare to be Different" (Thursday at 9:15 p.m.) looks at an influential radio station that helped to popularize Depeche Mode, Blondie, Pet Shop Boys and other early '80s acts. And "Ex Libris: New York Public Library" (Saturday at 11 a.m.) is legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman's look at one of the world's largest library systems.

Sep 27, 2017

A conference in Fort Worth this weekend is getting filmmakers from across the world together to share tips on everything from how to light a set to how to use music in a movie. This week, we talk with the founder of the Film + Music Conference about how the event came together - and about showcasing Fort Worth to people who might film there.

Sep 20, 2017

Richardson native David Gordon Green is best known for directing "Pineapple Express" and other broad comedies. With his new film, “Stronger,” he returns to his more dramatic roots in telling the story of a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. This week, we talk about the film - and about Green’s evolution as a director. "Stronger" opens on Friday.

Sep 13, 2017

Dallasites Cynthia and Allen Mondell have been married for nearly 48 years. And for most of that time, they’ve made films together. A retrospective of their documentaries airs tonight on KERA-TV, and they sit down to talk about their partnership on this week’s edition of The Big Screen.

Sep 6, 2017

The crowds at the Venice Film Festival are getting the first look at some of the most important films of 2017. One half of our Big Screen team -Chris Vognar - is taking in the scene, and he takes a break from the glitz and glamour to check in.

Aug 30, 2017

This fall, a pair of high-profile Texas directors - David Gordon Green and Richard Linklater - will release new films that could get the attention of Oscar voters. Green's up first with "Stronger," starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both of his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing. Meanwhile, Linklater gathers Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburn and Bryan Cranston for "Last Flag Flying." It tells the story of a grieving father (Carell) who goes on a road trip to retrieve the remains of his killed in action in Iraq. This week, we preview those films and take a sneak peek at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, which one of our team members will be attending.

Aug 23, 2017

In 1998, Carter High School’s football team dominated the competition on the way to a state title. And then, that title was taken away. This week, we talk about Carter’s fall from grace with Adam Hootnick, director of 'What Carter Lost,' the new ESPN documentary about the team. The film airs Thursday night at 8:30.

Aug 16, 2017

In his 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee captured a day in the life in a historically black Brooklyn neighborhood. And his story of racial tension and gentrification is just as relevant nearly 30 years after its debut. This week, we talk about the movie with Brandon Harris, author of "Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make It in New York City." He's showing the film and talking about his book this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Texas Theatre.

Aug 10, 2017

A new series is bringing some of Hollywood’s scariest movies back for one-night-only screenings. And it's hosted by our own Chris Vognar! This week, we talk about the movies and why they’re worth visiting the theater – even if we’re afraid of the dark.

Aug 2, 2017

The highest-grossing films of the summer - Wonder Woman – was made by a woman – Patty Jenkins. And this month, an entire festival of movies made by women is coming to Dallas. This week we preview the Women Texas Film Festival with its artistic director, Justin Walford. The Women Texas Film Festival runs August 16-20 at Studio Movie Grill in Dallas. Details are at artandseek.org.

Jul 26, 2017

Big wave surfers are athletic, have incredible balance and practice for years to reach the top of their sport. Those traits are also common among dancers. This week, we talk with Emilie Skinner, artistic director of Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, whose latest work is inspired by surf culture and classic movies that tap into that culture. The company performs a pair of pieces before a screening of the seminal surf documentary "The Endless Summer" on Sunday at the Texas Theat

Jul 19, 2017

A new web series follows a young woman struggling to re-enter society after prison. This week, we talk with Ya'Ke Smith about the many real-life sources he pulled from to make "The Beginning and Ending of Everything." You can stream the first two episodes of on the show’s Facebook page. Episode 3 is out Friday.

Jul 12, 2017

The Asian Film Festival of Dallas begins its weeklong run Thursday night. And the 70 films on this year’s schedule are the most it’s ever had. This week, we get a preview from the event’s programmer, David Gibson.

Jun 29, 2017

Dallas director David Lowery broke big last summer with his remake of the Disney classic “Pete’s Dragon.” For his new film, he returns to his indie roots to tell a story of a ghost revisiting his former life. This week, we talk with him about that film, called “A Ghost Story."

Jun 27, 2017

This weekend’s African Film Festival will show films from nearly 20 countries. This week, we preview the Dallas event with its executive director.

Jun 21, 2017

A new documentary looks at the coal industry’s role as both job provider and air polluter. This week, we talk with a pair of Dallas women featured in the film “From the Ashes,” which screens Thursday night at 6 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas and will also air Sunday on National Geographic Channel.

Jun 14, 2017

Fifty years ago this weekend, some of the biggest names in music - including Janis Joplin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix - gathered for a three-day concert in Monterey, Calif. This week, we look back at the influential documentary that captured some of the most memorable performances in rock history.

Jun 7, 2017

More than 60 feature films and shorts will play this week’s Oak Cliff Film Festival. This week, we preview the event with one of its founders and North Texas director David Lowery, who's showing his newest film this weekend. Visit artandseek.org for picks for this year's fest.

May 31, 2017

When the calendar turns to June, the action on movie screens heats up. This week, we talk about a pair of high-brow directors who should be making big splashes this summer.

May 24, 2017

John Coltrane is arguably the most revered saxophone player who ever lived. A new documentary called "Chasing Trane" looks at the jazz innovator’s short but inspired life. This week, we talk about the film with Brad Leali, who teaches jazz saxophone at the University of North Texas.

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