Dallas Police Drama screens at Cap City Black Film Fest

The Cliff, a gritty new crime drama written and directed by a former Dallas Police Department officer and based on his experiences in Oak Cliff, will show at the Capital City Black Film Festival this week.

Dennis Dotson, who wrote and directed The Cliff, retired from the Dallas Police Department (DPD) in February of this year, after 8 years of service. Dotson is the CEO of Dottie Nation, a holding company that now includes film production and talent management. He funded, cast, and produced the film during his last two years with the department.

Director Dennis Dotson. Photo courtesy of Be Great Magazine
Director Dennis Dotson. Photo courtesy of Be Great Magazine

“Police officers don’t make a lot of money. They struggle,” says Dotson. “It’s not even middle class. Before the shootings [in which five Dallas law enforcement officers were recently shot and killed during a protest in Dallas], it was all over the news that they don’t receive adequate pay and they go out and risk their lives every day for $40,000 a year.”

You’ll see that these officers are humans; they are not robots.

Both visually and in audio quality, the film’s high production value is an achievement for Dotson, who is a first-time director and chose to bypass short films and make his first production full feature length. Inspired by directors Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer), and John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), Dotson’s first film aims for realism and a multidimensional portrayal of an officer’s life.

“Officers, we’re human,” says Dotson. “There’s a lot of mistakes that they make. There’s a lot going on in their personal lives, and just like with you, there’s only a certain amount of things I can say to you before you get offended. You’ll see that these officers are humans; they are not robots. And this officer in the film, he has real things in his life, and these are real problems he’s having.”


The Cliff screens at the Cap City Black Film Fest this Saturday, Aug. 27 at 2:30 p.m. Festival passes and more details are available online.

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