The Early Years
Before we get to the festival, let's go back a bit further. It began in 2004 with a small group of us organizing in our community around the idea of a film support organization. We incorporated our small non-profit on June 3, 2004 and set off to build an organization that would meet several 'needs' in our community. Our most ambitious goal was to organize an annual film festival within three years.
2004 - 2006
The next couple years were spent focusing on all of the smaller activities performed by the non-profit. We screened dozens of films at various venues around town. We granted thousands of dollars to small independent film projects. We awarded an annual $1,000 scholarship. We made our presence felt not only in our local community of Denton but also in the larger metropolitan area of Dallas / Fort Worth. We built strong relationships with industry and community leaders that ultimately laid the foundation of support needed to create something as large as a film festival.
2006 - 2007
Festival planning actually began in 2006. At that time we all assummed we were creating a general film festival, or one that accepts and screens any type of film. Some of us had recently completed work on a feature-length documentay about Bay St. Louis, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. That documentary, and our view of the genre at that time, was influenced heavily by films that began to blur the line between documentary and narrative film (Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus). We had many heated debates about what characteritics defined a documentary; some of us even questioning the 'realness' of any documentary. Out of this experience came the vision of creating a festival which celebrated and explored this 'thin line' between fact and fiction. As you can tell... our name quickly followed. Other contributing factors included an established MFA program in documentary production at the local Univeristy of North Texas and the small fact that we would be the only documentary film festival in the entire State of Texas! And in case you didn't know, its a big state.
Aug 30 - Sep 2, 2007
Our motto was "go big or go home." We decided early on that we needed to distinguish ourselves as a major event. That included seven venues, four parties, nearly 60 films, an educational conference, and a trade show! It was an intense few days. Several dozen filmmakers came from around the world to participate in their screenings and they were joined by industry professionals from around the state imparting their wisdom at the conference. We received quite a bit of attention throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex including a major spread in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
Sep 24 - 28, 2008
Round 2 saw a stronger focus on quality over quantity with fewer films but stronger titles such as More Shoes, Nerdore Rising, and Girl 27. The festival also saw bigger crowds and even more attention from area media outlest. We were lucky enough to screen the World Premiere of Interrogate This: Psychologists Take on Terror; and the festival welcomed dozens of filmmakers from around the country to celebrate documentaries with our growing local fanbase.
Feb 17 - 21, 2010
Afer two years in September we realized there was too much local/regional competition. We settled on February - a bold move. This would make us one of the first festivals of the year in Texas; before SXSW, and before Dallas International. 2010 turned out to be a huge year for Thin Line with record attendance and record sales. The festival opened with the Texas Premiere of Gas Land with Director Josh Fox in attendance. Also at that screening were the EPA Regional Director Dr. Al Armendariz, several gas industry representatives, and many frustrated regional land owners. It was a lively event! Other big screenings included the Texas Premiere of the Oscar-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America, as well as Oscar-nominated Burma VJ and the Oscar-winning The Cove.
Feb 15 - 20, 2011
In 2011 we opened on Wednesday instead of Thursday giving us an extra day of programming. We also reduced our number of venues so that every attendee could see every screening. We opened the festival with the Texas Premiere of Troubadours, a music doc fresh from its Sundance World Premiere. The screening was attended by Director Morgan Neville and Producer Eddie Schmidt. Also this year we welcomed comedian and actor Harry Shearer and his documentary The Big Uneasy. Other notable screenings included the Texas Premieres of Enemies of the People and This Way of Life.
Feb 10 - 20, 2012
The biggest change in 2012 was the expanded schedule. We added the previous weekend to our schedule and included Monday Presidents Day for an eleven day festival! That meant we could screen more documentaries than ever before; a total of 75! We also added a smaller and more intimate venue as well as four more parties. Another special edition for 2012 was the DocuDenton 7K - a five-day documentary video race in which teams must create a short documentary on a random topic in under five days. All of this excitement surrounded many big films such as the Texas Premiere of Battle for Brooklyn attended by Director/Producer Suki Hawley, as well as Buck, Jane's Journey, and Nostalgia for the Light.