A record-setting crowd of more than 400 people turned out Wednesday for the opening night of Thin Line, a five-day documentary film and music festival in downtown Denton that kicked off with a film about the city.
The crowd hooted and shouted at the screening of the documentary film, When We Were All Broncos, made by Denton native David Barrow about the 1972 Denton High School football team, which played an important role in the racial desegregation of the city.
A number of audience members wore DHS letter jackets, and many clapped as they recognized themselves or others on the screen. The crowd also cheered at the mention of former teachers at the school.
Among those in attendance was Denton High graduate Susan Carol Davis, a producer of the documentary who spent time in California appearing in television shows, films and theater productions.
“I live here now,” Davis said. “It really is a great city.”
Festival founder and director Joshua Butler opened the event by thanking the sponsors and urging the audience to support the businesses that make the city’s cultural enrichment a priority.
This year’s opening was held in a special Thin Line Tent set up especially for the event and drew a larger crowd than in previous years, when the Campus Theatre’s seating restricted opening-night crowds to fewer than 300 people, Butler said.
Butler, who owns a production company in Illinois, has said he expects the documentary to attract new patrons to the festival and perhaps bring a record number of opening night patrons.
Festival officials sweetened the deal even more this year by booking the popular, Grammy-winning Denton band Brave Combo to kick off the inaugural music fest portion of Thin Line. The six previous festivals have been dedicated solely to documentary films.
Audience members said they were curious about how a football team paved the way for social change in Denton, while others recalled the era and said they still feel pride that their city desegregated its schools without a lawsuit. Dallas, though close in proximity, experienced more unrest when it desegregated.
“This is great,” said Denton native Mike Barrow, who is the managing director of Denton Community Theatre and David Barrow’s brother. “I’m so thrilled for David.”
Butler said the growth of the festival outpaced volunteer bodies.
“We’re still accepting people,” Butler said.
For more information, visit www.thinlinefilmfest.com.
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.