For Immediate release
May 9th, 2019

Award Winning Oak Cliff-Shot LGBT Feature Film, Jules of Light and Dark Returns to Dallas

2019 Oak Cliff Film Festival to Host the Dallas Premiere with Cast and Crew In Attendance

May 9th, 2019 – After an international festival run and winning the Grand Jury Prize at NewFest: NYC’s LGBT Film Festival Daniel Laabs’ debut feature film will return to the neighborhood where it was shot playing in the Spotlight Features section of the Oak Cliff Film Festival. The screening will be held at the historic Texas Theatre on June 9th in Dallas, TX. This is the first screening of the film in Dallas since its completion in September 2018.

Long in the works, the film received its first funding in 2011 from the Austin Film Society and was later a participant in their inaugural Artist Intensive presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There, the script and production was mentored by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Loving), Michael Tully (Don’t Leave Home, Ping Pong Summer) and Amy Hobby (What Happened, Miss Simone?, Executive Director Tribeca Film Institute). The film was then selected to participate in the Independent Film Project’s Narrative Feature Completion Lab after it went wrapped production in 2017. Later that year it was announced that the film’s post-production funding would come entirely from the San Francisco Film Society’s Kenneth Rainin Foundation & SFFILM Grant which supports films that address social justice issues-the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges-in a positive and meaningful way through plot, character, theme or setting.

Director Daniel Laabs said of the long development of the film, “This was the small film that could, we came from nothing. I wrote a character drama about pain and I was not very well known, and still am not. A film needs the right team behind it that could deliver and I believe it was worth waiting for that group to come together. I am proud that the producing team consisted of old and new collaborators alike. In the end, we were financed 70% grants and kickstarter and 30% investors. That model was something we learned during the AFS Artist Intensive and our mentor Amy Hobby, they gave us a producing blueprint.”

In 2018, Jules of Light and Dark bowed in competition at the New Orleans Film Festival and played five film festivals within seven days in what the team called their “world premiere week.” The film garnered several rave reviews: “Director Daniel Laabs’ bracing, borderline ethereal tale of broken hearts and busted lives in a Lone Star State small town could easily be pegged as a paean to LGBTQ outsiderness, but that’s selling one helluva good movie short shrift,” – THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE. “The criminally under-appreciated [Robert Longstreet] gets a welcome showcase in this moody drama […] as Freddy, a lovelorn middle-aged gay Texan whose often wordless articulation of loneliness and regret for false turns gives this quiet character study a soulful resonance,” – INDIEWIRE. “With such an introspective lens, the story allows us to sit with the complexities of unrequited love and unlikely friendship. We’re officially waiting for both Laabs and Medrano to make their next one,” – FILMMAKER MAGAZINE. At the end of the seven days, the film was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at NewFest: NYC’s LGBT Film Festival. All of this effort culminated in signing a distribution deal with Wolfe Releasing in early 2019 and digital release expected in early 2020.

On screening at OCFF, Laabs said, “Having our Dallas premiere at Oak Cliff Film Festival feels like I am bringing the film home, we shot the entire film in this neighborhood with a crew of Oak Cliff dwellers, we wrote the final draft of the script while officing out of Commondesk on Davis St, we edited the film almost entirely out of my producer’s house on Sixth St. We had our wrap party at the Foundry. OCFF and Texas Theatre genuinely mean something to Dallas-based filmmakers, they exist to serve them and to build up the community. I know what their goals are, having spent three years at Oak Cliff Film Festival as a programmer and a year at the Texas Theatre. It is pure passion for them, and that means everything to me.”

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Daniel Laabs Bio

Daniel Laabs’s short film work has screened at film festivals around the world and received a Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in 2011. His debut feature “Jules of Light and Dark” World Premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at NewFest in 2018. Daniel has received support from the La Biennale di Venezia College – Cinema, Austin Film Society, the Independent Film Project, the San Francisco Film Society & Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Cannes Producer’s Network, USinProgress – Wrocław and US & French Connection.

Daniel currently lives in Dallas, TX where he works as an editor and a festival programmer for the Dallas International Film Festival and previously the Oak Cliff Film Festival. In 2014 he co-founded Dallas’s first monthly LGBT film series at the historic Texas Theatre. He currently serves on the Austin Film Society Filmmaker Advisory Council.

Director Filmography

Jules of Light and Dark, 2018, Grand Jury Prize/NewFest: New York’s LGBT Film Festival

Easy, 2014, Special Jury Prize/Dallas International Film Festival

8, 2011, Grand Jury Prize/SXSW

Start a Band, 2010, Grand Jury Prize/Dallas Videofest

sleet/snow, 2009, Grand Jury Prize/Dallas Videofest


Tallie Medel – Maya

Betsy Holt – Jules

Robert Longstreet – Freddy

Jonathan Miles Howard – David

Liz Cardenas – Andrea


Daniel Laabs – Writer, Director, Producer, Co-Editor

Judd Myers – Producer, Co-Editor

Noe Medrano Jr. – Director of Photography

Jonathan Rudak – Production Designer

Jessica Schmidt – Costume Designer

Brent Sluder – Composer

Liz Cardenas, Cameron Nelson, Russell Sheaffer, Adrian Testolin, Jeff Walker – Producers