Hellion Sundance Chronicles #4 and #5: The Premiere


The Hellion filmmakers have sent us another pair of web episodes from their escapades in Park City. Specifically, we're getting videos from E.J. Enriquez, who's actually shooting and editing them -- he also did some camera work on Hellion itself.

Episode 4 -- no, it's not titled A New Hope and you know I don't want to hear that kind of thing -- was shot at the world premiere of the short film at Sundance earlier this week. This video is a departure from the other chronicles in the sense that it's genuine and sweet and a little touching, as opposed to merely silly. I just want to give Kat Candler a big hug. It's the longest of the videos so far but still moves quickly.

Review: Albert Nobbs


Albert Nobbs

Academy Award nominations were announced earlier this week, and the gender-bending period film Albert Nobbs garnered multiple nominations including the Best Actress category for Glenn Close. Close won an Obie in 1982 for her off-Broadway performance as Albert Nobbs, and had worked since then to bring the character to life onscreen. She was so passionate about this role that she also co-produced, co-wrote the screenplay, and wrote the lyrics for the movie's main theme music, an Irish lullaby "Lay Your Head Down."

In one of the most challenging roles of her career, Close plays a woman who for 30 years represented herself as a man in order to have a "life of decency" in 19th-century Ireland. Albert Nobbs survives by working as a servant in a hotel, nearly invisible to the upper-class guests and thought of as an odd and curious fellow by co-workers. Albert is so distanced from others in her attempt to fade into the woodwork, that she lacks intimate contact with others.

Albert finally decides to marry and settle down, setting her dreams on opening a tobacconist shop with chambermaid Helen (Mia Wasikowska) as counter-girl and "wife." However, Helen has her heart set on another, the handsome but rough boilerman Joe Macken (Aaron Johnson). Joe has intentions for Albert as well -- as the means to escape to America when he realizes that Albert must have a small fortune tucked away. Joe convinces Helen to go along with the courtship to pilfer money from Albert, but complications occur that thwart everyone's well-laid plans.

Breaking News: Slackerwood and Austin Film Society Join Forces


Slackerwood and Austin Film Society

I've always wanted to use "Breaking News" in a Slackerwood headline, and now I can, although of course the work behind this announcement has been going on for months. I'm so pleased to announce that Slackerwood will now be published by The Austin Film Society. The press release is reprinted in full after the jump.

Lone Star Cinema: Paris, Texas


Paris, Texas

In a career spanning more than four decades, director Wim Wenders has delivered an eclectic mix of feature films, shorts and documentaries for the big screen and television. With Wenders's latest documentary, Pina, opening in Austin soon, it's a good time to look back at what may be his most celebrated movie, the inimitable Paris, Texas.

Released in 1984 to wide critical acclaim, Paris, Texas is the story of reticent oddball Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton), who wanders deliriously out of the desert into Terlingua, Texas as the film opens. A local doctor treats him and contacts his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell), who travels from Los Angeles to reunite with Travis, a lonely and damaged soul who has been estranged from the family for years.

On a difficult road trip back to Los Angeles -- Travis refuses to speak at first and has a penchant for disappearing if left alone -- the two brothers gradually warm up to each other again. We learn that Walt and his wife, Anne (Aurore Clément), have been raising Travis's 7-year-old son, Hunter (Hunter Carson). Travis's wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), is also estranged; beyond making monthly deposits from an unknown location into a bank account set up for Hunter, she has no contact with the family.

Ready, Set, Fund: Festival Time


Jump Cut Film Festival

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

The 2012 film festival season has officially kicked off with Sundance going strong and reports flowing in from local filmmakers making the rounds in Park City, Utah. Meanwhile, preparations for SXSW Film Festival in March are also going strong. New to the festival circuit this year is ATX: A Television Festival, organized by film and television industry professionals Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson. The pair are raising funds through February 21 for this nonprofit event through a Kickstarter project featuring levels that act as badge pre-sales. Funds raised will go towards programming and other needs.

Another local festival seeking funds is the Jump Cut Film Festival, which showcases works by student filmmakers along with Q&A panels with industry professionals who will help judge this year's competition. Funds raised through the IndieGoGo flexible fundraising campaign will cover this year's submissions fees as well as improvements for the festival, which takes place April 21.

Find out about more Austin film-related projects after the jump.

'Rewind This!' and a Love of VHS


VHS Memorial By Tim Doyle

Right before I moved to Austin, I broke off a long-term romance. The romance was rather tepid by then, so I used my move as an opportunity to simply end it. I had no idea that just a few months later, that romance would be rekindled. What is this romance and why is it relevant to a movie website? Well, that romance was with my VCR and right before I moved I took crates of VHS and two VCRs to Goodwill.

Little did I know that I was moving to a hive of movie fandom. I knew Austin had a cool film scene but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned about quote-a-longs, I mastered the pancake, I heard all about people with numb butts and I soon learned about VHS fandom. There are lots of subgenres of film fandom and one of these subgenres is the lover of films and videos available only on VHS. Little did I know I was one of these lovers as well, and my feelings were simply repressed.

Hellion Sundance Chronicles #2 and #3: Filmmakers Just Want to Have Fun


When local producer Kelly Williams asked me about sending Slackerwood some links to video episodes the Hellion crew would shoot for the Austin film's Sundance premiere, I thought this would be a wonderful way to share tips for filmmakers about the smartest, savviest ways to bring your movie to a film festival. I thought we'd get a glimpse of the real fest experience from the filmmakers' perspective.

And it turns out that yes, we are getting a glimpse of the fest experience from the filmmakers' perspective, and it is unbelievably goofy. In a good way. Here are the second and third episodes in the "Hellion Sundance Chronicles," and while one of them might be a What Not To Do lesson, they're definitely fun to watch. And short, which is what I like best in online videos.

In episode #2, Hellion executive producer Farah White arrives in Park City and, er, is introduced to the fest environment by director Kat Candler.

Hecho En Cine Productions Blends Argentina and Texas


Hecho en CineA murder mystery unravels in the middle of the Patagonian Steppe in the short film Sobre la Estepa, loosely translated from Spanish as These Wild Plains. Hecho en Cine, a production company based both in Texas and Patagonia, Argentina, produced the 12-minute movie, which will tentatively have its U.S. premiere in Austin this April at the 15th Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.

Sobre la Estepa was funded through Kickstarter, and was shot in San Carlos de Bariloche, a city situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the province of Rio Negro, Argentina.

Ty Roberts, Hecho en Cine co-founder and Sobre la Estepa writer and director, said the idea for the movie came to him after meeting "interesting" people on a location scout in Patagonia.

"They immediately caught my eye," Roberts said. "It was just a really odd and interesting combination of characters."

During his research for Sobre la Estepa, Roberts came across the 2008 short film Sikumi (On The Ice), which was shot entirely in the Inupiaq language, spoken by the people of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope. Sikumi, about an Inuit hunter who inadvertently  witnesses a murder, became Roberts's model for Sobre la Estepa, which was shot in Spanish and Mapuche, the language of the indigenous peoples of Southwestern Argentina.

Slackery Booze Tidbits, January 23


Blood Sweat Beer posterA few more film-and-alcoholic-beverage news items and upcoming events came to my attention after this month's Film on Tap feature, so I thought I'd share them:

  • The Alamo Drafthouse announced last week that the grand opening date for "Alamo Slaughter," their newest theater located at Mopac and Slaughter Lane, will be Thursday, March 22. The eight-screen theater will feature an adjacent stand-alone cocktail lounge named 400 Rabbits, which along with their full selection of fine spirits will offer a plethora of tequila-centric drinks and Latin American-inspired food creations. Alamo Drafthouse is offering an advance taste of the menu with a special tequila-paired five-course dinner Saturday, February 4, at The Highball, that has already sold out. Stay tuned for other preview events.
  • Alamo Drafthouse also announced last week that the fifth annual Off-Centered Film Fest will take place April 19-21, 2012. Co-hosted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, this annual event is a three-day festival for beer and film lovers. Submissions are being accepted for the short film competition, and the theme this year is "Western, Off-Centered." Rules and submissions instructions are available here, and the deadline is Monday, March 5. New to the fest this year is an audience award, with film submissions available for viewing and voting prior to the awards ceremony.
  • The Paramount Theatre is hosting a Shaun of the Dead Pub Run + Screening on Tuesday, January 31, with a pub run at 6 pm and screening at 7:30 pm. The 1.1 mile jog from the Paramount to the Texas State Cemetery and back shouldn't be too tiring, but if you're dying of thirst Hops & Grain will be available at the pit and final stop. Proceeds benefit Team Spiridon and the Paramount Theatre. A $15 ticket will get you film admission, complimentary Hops & Grain beer, a limited edition Austin Marathon messenger bag, small popcorn -- plus a BLOOD SWEAT BEERS specialty t-shirt for the first 50 people to arrive. Register online here.

Hellion Sundance Chronicles #1: Local Filmmakers Prep for Fest


As Don mentioned last week, one of the Austin shorts going to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival is Hellion, directed by Kat Candler. Candler and producer Kelly Williams are at Sundance right now (Williams is also on a Slamdance jury). They've decided to shoot an episodic series of short videos about their adventures in Park City, which they'll be sending us this week to share with you.

Here's "Hellion Sundance Chronicles #1," in which the filmmakers are still in Austin, preparing to bring Hellion to a major film festival. It's less than two minutes long ... enjoy!

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