From movies and music to photography and celebrity appearances, Denton's Thin Line Fest has it all.
From Feb. 17 to 21 the festival, now in its ninth-year, takes over the college town's downtown square, inviting locals to take in a documentary, concert, artsy workshop or all of the above.
Thin Line began as strictly a film festival, but opened its parameters to include live music in 2014 when the city's annual spring festival 35 Denton went on hiatus. In 2015, event organizers added photography to the mix to represent nearly every corner of Denton's artistic community.
Photography has taken a bigger role in this year's fest, too, says director Joshua Butler. Thin Line has expanded to include about 300 different works from artists around town, which will be displayed at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center, in an effort to make photography a pillar of the fest for years to come.
"We want to grow all three branches of this festival equally," Bulter says.
But just because the vibe is inherently Denton doesn't mean the fest itself is hyperlocal. Films are sourced worldwide and spotlight a variety of topics, from personal profiles to social issues. The fest will even debut some of those films, such as Busking Turf Wars, which celebrates its world premiere in Little D Feb. 19. This year's performance roster features mostly local bands, but includes established headliners like rapper Quentin Miller.
Still not convinced? Here are five reasons you should check it out.
Find your niche
With more than 50 documentary screenings, Thin Line attendees are bound to find a flick that resonates with one of their personal passions. So you're a history buff? Voyagers Without Trace chronicles three men's 1938 journey through the American West. More of a social activist? Follow How to Let Go of the World in a exploration of what climate change can and cannot destroy. Love music? Busking Turf Wars, The Festifull Summer, and Dare to Drum are sure to satisfy.
Viewers don't even have to commit to a full movie. Thin Line offers a variety of short films, too. Even cooler, organizers added a shorts category specifically for Denton filmmakers this year. See the full lineup here.
See industry celebrities
Following many of the screenings, Thin Line hosts Q&A sessions with directors, producers and sometimes even the film stars. Last year, fans flocked to see bodybuilding icon Phil Heath, who discussed the documentary Gifted after it showed.
Butler anticipates Josh Fox, director of How to Let Go of the World, will be the biggest draw in 2016. That film kicks off the festival Wednesday night.
Rock out Denton style
Nearly 40 bands will grace stages around Denton throughout the festival, so even if you're not a "movie person" there's still reason to hit the town. On Feb. 19, Drake collaborator Quentin Miller will headline a hip-hop showcase at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, while country band Micky and the Motorcars headlines an evening of Americana at Dan's Silverleaf. And there's funk, jazz, rock and pop music to be had at venues Harvest House and Andy's Bar. See the full schedule here.
Learn a new skill ... for free
Learn how to shoot using the revived art of instant film or get a crash course in documentary filmmaking thanks to Thin Line's workshop lineup. There's an all-level dance class, cinematography 101 and a community drum line walk from Campus Theatre to Dan's Silverleaf. The best part? All workshops are free and open to the public.
"People can watch a film anywhere, but when it comes to a festival, it's more about creating a three-dimensional experience," Butler says.
In addition to sessions, Thin Line is also "adding layers of awesome," as Butler put it, by bringing some of the productions to life. To rally excitement around Busking Turf Wars, for example, Thin Line will be hosting its own busking competition before the screening. After The Jones Family Will Make a Way, a gospel choir will serenade the audience as they leave the theater.
Customize your festival
With so much to do, you're likely wondering how to get involved. Tickets to Thin Line are sliced a variety of ways. Those looking to go all in can purchase an All-Access Festival pass ($150), which includes five days worth of film and music. A Music Festival Pass ($75) includes entry to every music event while a Film Festival Pass ($75) includes entry to all film events. (Note: These pass prices will decrease as the weekend progresses.)
As if that weren't enough options, Thin Line also sells daily passes, which include access to film and music, and individual tickets for each film screening and concert (prices vary). Phew, enough options for you? Check out the online box office for more details.