A Guide to Thin Line Fest 2018

In its 11th year, Thin Line Fest has expanded into a stalwart festival that brings in documentaries of social impact, mixes in national and local music acts, and curates an exhibition of both professional and young photographers. Somehow, this is all put together with a free admission when one would expect tickets to cost at least $40. 

Even though it's free, attendees still need to register online. Premium and VIP registration options are available with a few perks for those who'd like to give a little extra to support funding the festivities. 

With so many offerings, it can be intimidating to make a plan for the festival Which films have been at Sundance? Which short films have a dramatic impact with run-times shorter than an episode of Robot Chicken? Which band has been deservedly hyped up after performing a NPR tiny desk concert? What panels will there be to educate the public on photography? The Dentonite is here to answer some questions with our guide to Thin Line Fest 2018


Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable
Wednesday, April 18 | 6:30PM | Campus Theatre | North Texas Premiere
Thursday, April 19 | 5PM | Movie Tavern

Photo by Gary Winogrand

Photo by Gary Winogrand

Garry Winogrand was a master at capturing the unplanned shot, and he's a worthy idol for lovers of snapshot photography. Being attentive to fleeting moments as a photographer is a skill that's simultaneously below and above the head of auteur-style image takers. It's a fitting opening night selection for a festival that's included an exhibition for fellow compulsive photographers such as Winogrand.


W.A.S.P. - A Wartime Experiment in Womanpower
Thursday, April 19 | 5:30PM | Movie Tavern

A common thread of World War 2 storytelling is that a swarm of Rosie the Riveter inspired women worked in ammunition factories while the men went off to war. This doc tells the story of women who proved they're just as fit to serve in the military, but men in power sought to downplay the fact the utility of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. The W.A.S.P archives are stored in the Texas Woman University Library for those wishing to dig deeper beyond the film's storytelling.

Elk River Sessions
Thursday, April 19 | 7PM | Campus Theatre
Sunday, April 22 | 7:30PM | Movie Tavern 1

Elk River Sessions is in consideration for being called the coolest music project ever done in Denton. 20 musicians went into a secluded cabin Henry David Thoreau style, and it was done for the love of music and the love of a Dentonite in need. This experiment in creation was for the benefit of Traci Batson's medical needs after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Now Dentonites can see the film that captured what would it be like if The Manhattan Project created music instead of bombs. 

The Cleaners
Friday, April 20 | 6:15PM | Movie Tavern 1
Sunday, April 22 | 8PM | Movie Tavern 2

The Cleaners is an engrossing film hot off its Sundance selection in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. As social media intertwines the world to a nearly suffocating point, this movie tells a parallel story between social media censors and those who suffer the consequences of limited speech.


Sex and Broadcasting
Friday, April 20 | 9PM | Campus Theatre

Of course a documentary about a New Jersey community radio station known for a rebellious nature is presented by Denton's own eclectic station KUZU. What to take note from this documentary is the challenge of keeping people willing to work for an alternative cause.

Shake Sister Shake
Saturday, April 21 | 12:45PM | Movie Tavern
Sunday, April 22 | 2:45PM | Movie Tavern

Current society continues to place upheaval on creative and business industries dominated by men while talented women have to fight for a recognized standing. Shake Sister Shake turns its focus on blues music and shares stories of sisterhood rapt in empowerment.

Texas Places Program
Saturday, April 21 | 4PM | Campus Theatre

Take pride in the diversity of Texas as this program includes short documentaries that venture through Big Bend National Park, San Antonio, Waco, and the Burnet bar crawl. Those with a VIP pass can attend the True Texas Travel Reception beforehand at 2:30 p.m. in the HSO Gallery located across the street from Campus Theatre. The reception will be attended by Texas Places filmmakers as well as representatives from Texas Highway magazine and the Texas Film commission. 

Sickies Making Films
Saturday, April 21 | 8PM | Campus Theatre
Sunday, April 22 | 12:30PM | Movie Tavern 3

Filmmaking, like any other form of creative expression, has endured a history of battling against censorship. This film uses the Maryland Board of Censors to explore why the powers that be have sought to make determinations on what's appropriate to be put in cinema.

Short Films Program 5
Saturday, April 21 | 8:15PM | Movie Tavern 2

Short film programs are great because attendees can get 5-6 different stories of high impact in the time it takes to watch one feature-length movie. This particular program is stocked with films making their Texas premiere. Stories include a concert held inside a volcano in Poland, a doctor with conflicting feelings about his role in lethal injections, a homosexual and Mormon couple living in rural Utah, and an examination on the controversy of leaving decommissioned oil rigs in the ocean to serve as reefs.

El Muro | The Wall
Sunday, April 22 | 12:15PM | Movie Tavern 2

It's a new chapter in the same story as Lipan Apache/Nde' land was seized with eminent domain by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Eloisa G. Tamez fights against a continuing imperialist attitude in order to protect sacred land.


Rosegarden Funeral Party
Wednesday, April 18 | 10:30PM | Dan’s Silverleaf

Rosegarden Funeral Party is a post-punk band that has deservedly gained buzz since releasing "Horror Music" last fall. Fronted by the dominant Leah Lane, this Dallas-based band should not be missed anytime they make a visit to Denton. With Felt & Fur opening the show for them this is hands down the best Wednesday night activity for lovers of music with a little bit of oddity.  


Jessie Frye
Friday, April 20 | 9PM | Andy’s

One of Denton's queens return and she may blow out the space at Andy's Bar. Jessie Frye continues to refine her brand of pop rock with a song on embracing sexual power called "Honey." Listen to "Honey" on Soundcloud and then brace yourself for one of the best live performers to grace North Texas.

88 Killa
Friday, April 20 | 10:30PM | Andy’s

88 Killa was asked to close out the 2018 DAM Awards and he hyped up the crowd that remained to see an award ceremony all the way through the end. 88 Killa has a history with Denton extending back to his days with Brain Gang, and he's a rapper with a message. Plus, he'll make you laugh with his banter in between songs. 

Mother Tongues
Friday, April 20 | Midnight | Dan’s Silverleaf

Mother Tongues went through a short hiatus, a word I've hated to see ever since I went through At the Drive In splitting into two different bands. Now they're back with the Spears brothers ready to deliver trippy psych-rock music with force.

Saturday, April 21 | 7PM | Mulberry Street Cantina

Lately, violin virtuoso Leoncarlo has been bringing in talented friends of his to play along with his atmosphere-building music. As a solo act he's one of the most enchanting artists of Denton, but a collaboration with others is a once in a lifetime experience to witness.

Dezi 5 performing at Backyard on Bell

Dezi 5 performing at Backyard on Bell

Dezi 5
Saturday, April 21 | 10PM | Harvest House

Dezi 5 continues our recommendations theme by including performers with a dynamic stage presence. His last appearance in Denton he commanded the attention of several hundred people while performing at We Denton Drag It with Sharon Needles. Expect the same dance atmosphere as he takes the Harvest House stage on Saturday night. For a bonus, get there early enough to see OG Garden at 8 p.m. for some neo-soul/pop.

Flor de Toloache
Sunday, April 22 | 7PM | Harvest House

Flor de Toloache is an all-women mariachi band showing that their genre of music doesn't have to be dominated by men. The group members themselves hail from diverse origins to form a unique cultural blend that finesses the line between traditional and new-age music. They've won a Grammy for best ranchero album, they've appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, and now they're bringing stellar latin music to Denton.


KUZU Social Hour
Friday, April 20th | 7:30PM | HSO Gallery

Engage with members of the KUZU community before heading across the street to see Sex & Broadcasting play at the Campus Theatre. KUZU is a low-power FM station with volunteer producers banding together to provide Denton an alternative source for music curation.

Instant Film Photography Talk
Saturday, April 21 | 12PM | PA Arts Center

Daniel Rodrigue and Armand Kohandani from the Instant Film Society will give tips and a brief history lesson on instant film photography. Yes, digital cameras provide instant gratification on viewing, but it's not magical like film photography can be. The IFS' traveling instant film museum will also be on display.

Photography Portfolio Reviews
Thursday, April 19th | 2PM | PA Arts Center

Artists may sweat the stress of going through a critique, but I have a fond memory of the time a classmate stormed out of class defending my own photography project against the constructive criticism of my teacher. Anyway, photographers who would like to hear critiques can sign up for an appointment at this session. For more info visit the Facebook event. Appointment sign-ups can be done here.


Thin Line has amassed a photography exhibition across three locations. Included are a selection of professional photographers and the Young Artist Series, which features high school photographers. Here are the three locations where the exhibitions are held. Viewings times are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. On Sunday, viewings are open from noon to 6 p.m.

PA Arts Center
400 E. Hickory

HSO Gallery (Hickory Street Office)
207 W. Hickory

Golden Triangle Mall
2201 S I-35E

Header image courtesy of Shake Sister Shake