DIFF 2018: Day 5

The Iron Orchard is a surprisingly well-done low-budget Texas independent narrative film based on a popular semi-autobiographical novel at the time of its publication in 1966 about the rise and fall of a wildcatter oilman over three decades around the time of World War II in West Texas. On a shoestring budget shot on location in West Texas, the movie tells a strikingly compelling story that follows the main protagonist as he starts out working on pipeline outside Midland and eventually moving his way up to becoming a millionaire because of his good fortune in striking oil on his own. However, his great success in the petroleum industry catches up to his ego and begins a rapid decline in his personal life amidst a string of bad luck in discovering more oil. The most fascinating part of the film production is that big-time Hollywood talent, including the likes of Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Elvis Presley, and Robert Redford, have attempted to make a movie based on the now out-of-print book. It is only fitting that a film about an up-and-coming Texas oilman finally came to fruition as a small Texas-produced indie that is making its debut at the Dallas International Film Festival.

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