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Dallas Film Premiered at EarthX Film Festival

City, Featured, Lifestyle

An ocelot stalking with "Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story" captioned, promoting a Dallas documentary film. | Image from Deep in the Heart Facebook

On May 12, a documentary showcasing the natural beauty of Texas premiered at the EarthX Film Festival in Dallas. The film, Deep in the Heart, will be shown in theaters across the state starting June 3. It showcases the wilderness of Texas, from rivers to mountains, through the eyes of the wildlife calling these habitats home. Mathew McConaughey narrates the film. 

Ben Masters, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a master’s in wildlife biology, directed Deep in the Heart in hopes that it will inspire people to conserve the natural habitats and wildlife of Texas and work on beautifying Dallas. 

Ben Masters sat down in an interview with Dallas Culture Map to talk about the film and the inspiration behind it. 

“Growing up, I was always fascinated with the BBC, and National Geographic shows of wildlife in Africa or Antarctica,” Masters shared. “It wasn’t until I studied wildlife biology at Texas A&M did I realize that Texas also has incredible wildlife spectacles and diversity. I started making movies ten years ago with this film as a dream, and four years ago decided to go for it. It’s been an amazing experience and a huge challenge to make Texas’ first wildlife movie. Lots of pressure to make it as good as possible and really show off our state.”

Filming for Deep in the Heart started in 2018, and editing was finished in 2022. According to Masters, showcasing the state through the eyes of native wildlife allowed him to create a unique perspective not captured before. Some of the shots required hundreds of days of filming to perfect. 

“Many of the animals and behaviors are super fascinating and have never been filmed,” Masters told Dallas Culture Map. “Take ocelots, for example, they’re our most beautiful cat, and there’s never been quality videos ever taken of them in the wild in Texas. Or alligator gar and their fascinating life strategy of spawning during floods. Texans love Texas, and we have amazing wildlife that a lot of folks care about — so it made sense to produce a film like this.”

The Deep in the Heart film website features a “Take Action” tab where viewers can learn how to get involved in conservation efforts in the state. 

“In Texas, conservation organizations are doing important work to ensure that we live in a world with a vibrant wildlife population, water for a sustainable environment and economy, and wild and beautiful places that are essential to our collective identity,” the website states. 

Masters told Dallas Culture Map that one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of working on the documentary was getting to film the rare animals found in the state. He also shared how exciting it was to hear Matthew McConaughey would be the narrator. 

“A big standout memory was getting the news that Matthew McConaughey would narrate,” Masters said. “He has such a unique voice that fits perfectly for the film, which will definitely help launch the conservation messaging for the general public.”

Texans can watch Deep in the Heart in theaters across the state on June 3. 

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