Despite the oil recession and a $30,000 deficit, the 8th Houston International Film Festival is alive and well--with founder-producer Hunter Todd personally guaranteeing a bank loan to keep it alive and viable. But Todd was far from happy about the weekend overlap (last weekend) with the USA Film Festival in Dallas.

"They transgressed the unwritten law of film festivals," Todd griped. "It was a point of incredible arrogant stupidity (on the part of a former USA official). He was advised of the overlap by everyone. It's cost us a few films and stars."

Such as Texas gal Sissy Spacek, who skipped Houston and instead hit Dallas for the premiere of her "Violets Are Blue." At least Alan Alda is scheduled for tonight's closer in Houston--screening his "Sweet Liberty."

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