Meet the USA Film Festival May 28, 2020

On March 30, 2020, we announced the 46 recipients of our annual TACA Arts General Operating (AGO) Grants. The AGO Grant program is our largest granting program and it provides annual, unrestricted grants to nonprofit performing and visual arts organizations in Dallas County. Organizations can use this unrestricted funding as they see fit on an array of expenses, including program costs, salaries, administration, office expenses, technology or to meet other operational needs.

Of the 46 organizations we funded, five of them are new TACA grant recipients – including the USA Film Festival!

We had the opportunity to chat via email with Managing Director Ann Alexander to learn more about the organization, what makes them special, and how folks might get involved!

Can you tell us a little bit about the USA Film Festival? 

The USA Film Festival (USAFF) is one of the oldest festivals in the U.S. and was the first festival in the world to exclusively recognize and celebrate The American Filmmaker, which brought international recognition to Dallas. Now in our 50th year, the USAFF has evolved into a year-round film arts organization presenting a wide variety of cultural, educational and entertaining programs for audiences of all ages.

Sally Field participating in a program by USA Film Festival

There are quite a few different film organizations festivals in Dallas – what sets USAFF apart? 

USAFF’s decision 25 years ago to restructure the annual festival event into a year-round program enabled us to better serve the community with an expanded and wider range of programs. Today, we are a 50-day film festival! Our programs include the annual Spring USA Film Festival, now in its 50th year; the annual KidFilm Festival which is the oldest and largest family film festival in the world; Monthly Film Series such as our “Meet the Filmmakers” series; Tributes to Master Artists and retrospectives; and more – all with filmmaker guests in attendance. To create the important “live cinema” experience, the USAFF brings dozens of artists to Dallas every year to speak with our audiences.

We also believe that a great city should have high quality arts and educational programs available and accessible for the entire community. As such, over half of all of our programs are presented as free admission.

Master Artists Peri Gilpin, Margo Martindale & Stephen Tobolowsky at USA Film Festival

Why do you think USAFF is important? Why should people pay attention to your work? 

Our entire society is media-driven making media literacy more important than ever to encourage and develop critical thinking, judgement and understanding in both adults and children. Our film programs offer a variety of ideas and points of view, as well as cultural, historical and contemporary subjects, to facilitate conversation with artists and experts.

We know that most children and young adults receive virtually all of their information and entertainment via the visual medium. The USAFF’s landmark KidFilm program was developed in response to this reality. KidFilm utilizes the power and popularity of the medium to reach-and-teach young people using the method they most readily understand. Over 5,000 DISD students and teachers attend the popular KidFilm arts-in-education field trips every year.

Dallas Independent School District students attending KidFilm

The KidFilm public program is presented as all-free admission for the community and free books are also distributed to all families as part of the USAFF’s “Meet the Authors” program which encourages love of reading at a young age.

What should people do if they want to learn more about USAFF?

We welcome everyone to visit our website at to learn more about the USAFF’s programs, history, mission and purpose – and they can request Membership information and join us for free movies!

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