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‘Texas Heart’ premieres at ABQ Film Festival

Writer and producer Dan Smith discusses a scene with Erik Fellows and Daniella Bobadilla. (Courtesy of Texas Heart Film)

Writer and producer Dan Smith discusses a scene with Erik Fellows and Daniella Bobadilla. (Courtesy of Texas Heart Film)

Daniel Smith can’t wait to get to Albuquerque for the world premiere of his film “Texas Heart.”

The film will screen at 8 p.m. next Friday at The Guild Cinema as part of the Albuquerque Film Festival.

“It’s an appropriate place to showcase our story,” he says. “We can’t wait for an audience to see the film.”

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Smith and Nick Feild grew up together and reconnected a few years ago.

Both were interested in writing a book. What turned out was the script for “Texas Heart.”

“We grew up in a small town and wanted to show what life is like in a small town,” he says.

“Texas Heart” tells the story of Peter Franklin, played by Erik Fellows, a crooked lawyer who’s caught up in a loveless existence and runs off to hide out in a backwoods Texas town.

Johnny Dowers interrogates Kam Dabrowski in a scene from “Texas Heart.” (Courtesy of Texas Heart Film)

Johnny Dowers interrogates Kam Dabrowski in a scene from “Texas Heart.” (Courtesy of Texas Heart Film)

There, after changing his name to Frank Stephens, he quickly encounters a compelling story involving a young man who’s falsely accused of killing a beautiful girl. Stephens soon faces an agonizing choice – ignore the case to remain anonymous and far from the prying eyes of the mob that are still looking for him or reach out and try to save the young man.

After a shocking twist in the case, Stephens makes a choice that changes everything – for the young man and for himself.

“This story has heart,” Fellows says. “That’s what drew me to the character. There’s a transformation that Frank undergoes throughout the film. He finds the right way.”

Smith spent just over a year writing the script and wanted to shoot the film in Texas.

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He even took a look at New Mexico, before taking production to Mississippi and then California for a couple of days.

Smith says having talented cast members attach themselves to the film really helped in the overall execution of the film.

“We didn’t have such a big budget,” he says. “Many of these actors took a cut in pay to be in the film. This was humbling for us, because they also felt the same way we did about the film. Everyone was passionate.”

Smith, who’s also a historian, says being able to tell a compelling story is what drives him to make film.

“Texas Heart” is his first foray into fictional film.

“The best thing about this is finding a place with the audience,” he says. “It’s important for me to make a film that has some heart and transitions through different emotions.”

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