The Dallas Film Society is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting film, filmmakers and film education through our annual events, the Dallas International Film Festival and The Art of Film, our members’ events and screenings, and our educational programs, such as Summer Film Camp, High School Roundtables and High School Day.



Liener Temelin

In 2006, Liener Temerlin and Michael Cain formed the vision for the the Dallas Film Society. Temerlin, an advertising and consulting guru has always been a champion of creativity and passionate about his love of movies. Mr. Cain is a film producer with more than 50 commercials and music videos to his credit, including Director of the award winning documentary, TV JUNKIE.

With Temerlin’s ties to the American Film Institute and Cain having graduated with a Masters Degree from the AFI Conservatory, the two men felt it only natural to bring the organization’s name to the table to help create the largest international film festival in the southwest. Thus, the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival was born with the Dallas Film Society as the overarching non-profit entity.

Mr. Temerlin is recognized as the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Dallas Film Society and Mr. Cain as its Founding Artistic Director.

Since the establishment of the Film Society, the organization has hosted seven film festivals—three under the AFI Dallas name (2007–2009) and now four under the Dallas International Film Festival header (2010–2013). Occurring each spring, the Festival has grown in stature and is now one of Dallas’ signature events. Since 2007, the Dallas International Film Festival has:

  • Received more than 9,000 film submissions
  • Screened 73 world premieres and 23 U.S. premieres
  • Shown 647 features and 703 shorts
  • Hosted more than 1,230 filmmakers in Dallas
  • Awarded more than $600,000 in cash/pro-bono prizes
  • Screened award winning films, including Academy Award® nominees and winners

Dallas Star Award Honorees and special guests at the annual DIFF have included: William Friedkin, Sherry Lansing, Laura Linney, Glen Keane, Bernie Pollack, Gabourey Sidibe, Pete Docter, Wally Pfister, Frank Darabont, Peter Bogdanovich, Steve James, Kathryn Bigelow, Adrien Brody, Robert Towne, Henry Selick, Helen Hunt, Todd Wagner, Eric Pleskow, Chris Wedge, Charlize Theron, Lauren Bacall, David Lynch, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Guillermo Arriaga, John Lee Hancock, Ann-Margret, Sydney Pollack, Marvin Hamlish, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Peter Fonda, Josh Brolin, Bill Paxton, John Hawkes, Simon Pegg, America Ferrera, Dennis Quaid, David Gordon Green, Jeremy Renner and Val Kilmer.

As a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, the Dallas Film Society strives year round to champion the art of film. To accomplish this, the Society not only hosts the film festival, but also coordinates a high school education program and summer film camp, offers internships to area college students, regularly hosts premiere movie screenings, plans a celebrity filled benefit gala, promotes the film industry as an economic engine and brings the film world to the citizens of North Texas.


The Art of Film, a benefit gala held annually each fall, shines a spotlight on the art of cinema and the filmmaker’s craft with an intimate conversation with the honoree. This conversation about filmmaking, moderated by Elvis Mitchell, continues the next day with screenings and a Q&A session of the honoree’s films. Past Art of Film Honorees include Robert Duvall, John Lithgow and Val Kilmer.


Education programs are a vital component of the Dallas Film Society. During DIFF, more than 400 teenagers from around North Texas attend High School Day where they hear from various industry speakers and learn about different aspects of filmmaking. High school film camp workshops are held each summer to teach various topics, including storytelling and screenwriting, production techniques and stop-motion animation. The High School Roundtables program meets bi-monthly and offers students hands-on experience into what goes on in the film industry. Students visit and interact with production and music facilities, live sets and companies associated with film and video production located in Dallas. In addition, the Society offers area college students internships in our marketing, sponsorship, and programming departments throughout the fall, spring, and summer.


Other highlights of Dallas Film Society’s programming include many membership and free screenings. For three years, DFS has hosted The Screening Room, a series of classic film screenings and discussions led by The Dallas Morning News film critic, Chris Vognar. DFS Membership Premiere Series invites local audiences to catch the best in independent cinema before its release with screenings and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. Recent screenings include UPSTREAM COLOR with director Shane Carruth, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER with director Lynn Shelton, and EPIC with screenwriters James V. Hart and William Joyce. DFS also partners year round with many of the local arts district organizations to host free outdoor screenings at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Museum of Art and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

DFS Leadership

The organization is overseen by a 21-member volunteer Board of Directors, the President & C.E.O and the Artistic Director.

Don Stokes
Chairman of
the Board

Don Stokes began his career processing prints in the family dark room at the tender age of four and his professional career includes work as a grip, animation cell painter and camera operator, still photographer, projectionist, editor, sound recordist, production manager, post supervisor, director, writer, and producer.

Don has produced award-winning films and videos in the commercial, corporate, and documentary sectors for more than 30 years. His involvement has been inclusive of script and project development, supervision and selection of production teams, in addition to budgeting and cost control.

In 2006 Don acted as Co-Producer on the theatrical documentary TV JUNKIE, winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and it premiered on HBO in 2007. Currently through his post-production company Post Asylum, Don has several documentary and narrative features in various stages of completion. Don was one of the founders of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and served as a board member from its creation and as its President from 2008-2012.  He currently serves on the boards of the Dallas Producers Association, The Movie Institute and is the current Chairman of the Dallas Film Society.


Lee Papert
President & CEO
Dallas Film Society

Lee Papert is the President and CEO of the Dallas Film Society.

Papert formerly served the Trinity River and Dogwood Canyon Audubon Centers as director of marketing and development. For the 10 years prior to joining the Audubon Centers, Papert was a constant presence in the development of the burgeoning Dallas Arts District. He served as executive director of the Arts District Friends, a marketing and membership organization charged with supporting and creating awareness of Dallas’ truly unique downtown Arts District. He then joined the staff of the Dallas Wind Symphony as their first ever director of development. During his tenure, the nation’s only professional wind band saw an elimination of their ongoing operational deficit, multiple years of a bottom-line surplus, and three successful CD recording projects.

Papert has volunteered extensively throughout Dallas and is a past board member of the Dallas Architecture Foundation/Dallas Center for Architecture, the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association and the advisory boards of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He is a past president of the Shakespeare Dallas Board of Directors and a past member of the St. Mark’s School of Texas Alumni Board. Additionally, Papert is a graduate of the Dallas Chamber’s Leadership Dallas program and the Business Council for the Arts’ Leadership Arts program.


James Faust
Artistic Director

James Faust Loves his family. Loves film. Loves Dallas. Wants you to stay in school.




DFS Members receive invitations to year-round films and events, reserved seats at screenings with our cultural partners and exclusive benefits at the Dallas International Film Festival.

Your support helps the DFS bring filmmakers to Dallas, offer year-round programming and provide educational events for future filmmakers.

We have a membership level for every budget. JOIN NOW! »

2015 DIFF

The 9th annual Dallas International Film Festival is scheduled for April 9-19, 2015. Festival Passes are available now! We will update the site with information on Festival venues and screenings in March 2015.

Revisit the films and events of the 2014 Festival here! »

2015 DIFF

The 9th annual Dallas International Film Festival is scheduled for April 9-19, 2015. Festival Passes and Vouchers are available now!


Your support helps the Dallas Film Society bring independent films and filmmakers to Dallas, and educate the next generation of filmmakers.


JAWS-Cinemark Classic Series Sponsored by the Dallas Film Society

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