Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dallas Film has announced dates for its inaugural Dallas International Film Festival Spring Preview Weekend, April 29 to May 1, at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars. The preview weekend, which organizers say “sets the stage for the full Dallas International Film Festival this fall,” will kick off with the buzzy-as-heck Cha Cha Real Smooth, a flick whose neighborhood ties are pretty tight. Native of the Preston Hollow area and Greenhill School graduate Cooper Raiff wrote and directed the film, and he stars in it alongside powerhouse woman including Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann.

Attendees will be able to catch the dramatic comedy Cha Cha Friday night, April 29, at 7:30. Raiff’s first film, a semi-autobiographical sentimental coming-of-ager called Shithouse, was set to debut at DIFF in 2020, according to the festival organizers, but that was all derailed due to coronavirus.

Earlier in 2020, Shithouse won the top prize at the SXSW Film Festival.

Raiff had made an early version of the movie with his college buddies and tweeted a link to one of the famous Duplass brothers, Jay (the one in Transparent), who loved it and helped Raiff launch a career that is going very very well these days. Apple TV a few months ago purchased Cha Cha Real Smooth for $15 million.

Organizers of the spring event say the weekend will offer a chance to return to theaters and experience how we have changed our movie viewing habits over the past couple years.

“This is a precursor to our full celebration of film this fall when we’ll get to share art North Texans might not otherwise be exposed to, and to do so with illuminating context and participation from the filmmakers themselves. It’s the popcorn, it’s the people, and it’s the perfect complement – great programming,” says Scott Eustace, chairman of the Dallas Film Board of Directors.  “We’re excited to give movie lovers a reason to get out to the theater.”

Other movies in the lineup include Happening, Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story, Corsicana and Bad Axe.

Added DIFF artistic director James Faust, “The Spring Preview films run the gamut of genres from independent filmmakers, some of them Dallas’ own. The artistic process involved in creating a compelling film event is rewarding as we go beyond the box office to understand and explore the artistic process poured into each film. It’s going to be a moving movie weekend.”


Tickets for individual film screenings for the 2022 DIFF Spring Preview Weekend are available at or the box office at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars. Additionally, Dallas film fans can purchase early bird DIFF Star Passes and DIFF Passes at a special price during the Spring Preview. Information on participating in, sponsoring, or submitting for the Dallas International Film Festival this fall is also available at

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