Austin Film Society's terrific Godard vs. Truffaut series closes out this weekend with a 35mm print of Love On The Run. It plays tonight and again on Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. Also playing Sunday is an collection of The Films Of Vincent Grenier. Co-presented with Experimental Response Cinema and the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, this presentation will feature the filmmaker in person. There's more Avant Cinema scheduled for Monday night with the rarely screened Anti-Clock from 1979. On Wednesday night, Richard Linklater is bringing us a 35mm print of Warren Beatty's Reds, which he says is on his all-time personal Top 10 list. Finally, Essential Cinema has the 2012 documentary Uprising on Thursday night.
Women In Cinema will be hosting a "Casting and Directing Actors" panel on Monday night. Kat Candler (Hellion) will be moderating the panel, which is expected to feature Casting Director Vicky Boone (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, The Tree Of Life), Director Katie Graham (Zero Charisma), Director Emily Hagins (Grow Up Tony Phillips) and Actress Katherine Wilis (Friday Night Lights). This special event happens from 7-9pm on Monday night in the CMB Building, Studio 4D on the UT Austin campus.
Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has special screenings this week of John Waters' Cry-Baby (in 35mm on Sunday night), Jess Franco's Succubus (in 35mm on Monday night) and Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (in 35mm on Wednesday night). The Alamo Village is down to their last Miyazaki retrospective title before The Wind Rises opens next weekend. You can see Spirited Away in 35mm daily through next Thursday.
Attendees at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival will finally have an opportunity to watch the coming-of-age family drama Boyhood, written and directed by local writer and director Richard Linklater over a period of a dozen years. Shot for a total of 143 scenes in intermittent 39 days, Boyhood was well received at Sundance Film Festival last month where it debuted even before the credits were completed. Linklater -- seen above with Boyhood stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette -- seemed quite pleased that the movie had reached its own maturity.
Filmed from 2002 to 2013, Boyhood covers 12 years in the life of a family with a focus on the young Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). They must deal with the impact of their divorced parents' decisions and actions while maturing into their own individuals who can determine the course of own lives. Read my Sundance review here.
This month's TAMI Flashback installment features three short films for children. But grown-ups may find them entertaining also, because they're so wonderfully odd.
For TAMI fans of a certain age -- middle age, that is -- Mission Possible: Bike Safety may evoke childhood memories of cruising the neighborhood on a way-cool Schwinn Sting-Ray. Actually, cruising is the wrong word -- in that era, any self-respecting kid rode like a bat out of hell. Traffic laws were for cars, right? And bicycle helmets were 20 years away. It's a wonder any of us survived into adulthood.
A goofy imitation of the Mission: Impossible TV series, Mission Possible: Bike Safety is a well intentioned but probably pointless attempt to teach kids about bicycle safety. Shot in Austin in 1975, the film features a Mission: Impossible-style team of careful, law-abiding kids who must teach bike safety to two reckless children, Dirty Larry and Careless Carol. Larry (whose face is actually dirty) and Carol are the terrors of Austin's Allandale Neighborhood and the Village Shopping Center on Anderson Lane, running stop signs on their battered bikes and nearly mowing down pedestrians.
Awards season is in full swing, and the Austin Film Festival, known for its recognition of screenwriters, announced last week that Academy Award-winning writer/director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) will receive this year's Distinguished Screenwriter Award, joining past award recipients Harold Ramis and Robert Altman, among others. Sheridan will accept the award at the fest's annual awards luncheon on Oct. 25 and will also speak on panels during the 2014 conference.
Other confirmed panelists at the 21st annual AFF and Screenwriters Conference, which will take place Oct. 23-30, 2014, include writers and producers from such television series as Breaking Bad, Girls and Seinfeld and movies like Fight Club and Donnie Darko. Some of these industry insiders will be present for meet and greets and roundtables during the conference, as well. Read the full list of 2014 panelists at the bottom of this article.
But you don't have to wait until October to stay up to date on the movie industry. This Saturday, Beau Willimon -- creator of the Netflix Original Series House of Cards -- will discuss the show's creative process at 2 pm at the Harry Ransom Center through AFF's Conversation in Film Series.
Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.
Several local film projects that ran successful crowdfunding campaigns are making their regional premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival including the experimental documentary Yakona from San Marcos-based filmmakers Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins, Thank You A Lot from Matt Muir and Chris Ohlson, Jeffrey Radice's No No: A Dockumentary, and Todd Rohal's Rat Pack Rat (pictured above). Yakona also received two Austin Film Society Grants (formerly known as the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund), as did local filmmaker Kat Candler for her feature-length version of Hellion, which also makes its Texas debut at SXSW.
The SXSW Film Conference will feature several sessions that should be of interest to filmmakers who want to learn more about achieving funding for their projects.
"Meet the Insiders: Funding and Special Organizations" will feature several speakers from the nonprofit film world and they'll speak about "what NOT to do in your proposals to grants, fiscal sponsors, film labs, and other programs." Independent Film Project Producer and Program Manager Rose Vincelli Gustine will moderate this panel, which includes industry experts such as Sundance Film Fund Director Rahdi Taylor, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer Lois Vossen and Chicken and Egg Pictures Operation and Programs Manager Iyabo Boyd.
Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.
- Local filmmaker Richard Linklater won the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear award for best director for his long-awaited feature Boyhood, which chronicles the life of a child from age six to 18 and stars native Texan Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, Indiewire reports. University alumnus Wes Anderson's movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, slated to hit U.S. theaters March 7, also won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize (a kind of runner-up to the Golden Bear for Best Picture).
- Drafthouse Films-distributed documentary The Act of Killing (Elizabeth's review) took home the Best Documentary Feature award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony on Sunday. The Best British Film award went to the movie Gravity, which stars Austin-based actress Sandra Bullock.
- Variance Films has partnered with filmmaker Chris Eska to bring his feature The Retrieval (Don's review) to theaters this spring, according to Variety. The Civil War drama tells the story of a boy who is sent north by his bounty-hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man.
- The Austin Film Society will host a special screening of From Dusk Till Dawn, about a duo of criminals and their hostages who unknowingly seek refuge in a bar populated by vampires, on Wednesday, March 5 at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre. Tickets go on sale Feb. 26. Actor Fred Williamson, who played Frost in the movie, will speak at AFS's Moviemaker Dialogue before the screening.
I have to be honest, I initially thought Winter's Tale was an adaptation of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, The Winter's Tale -- I hadn't heard of author Mark Helprin's 1983 novel, adapted into the new movie, until watching the trailer.
It's no coincidence that the movie made its U.S. theatrical debut on Valentine's Day -- a marketing ploy, of course, to get couples to hunker down in the dark for two-ish hours to watch actor Colin Farrell make love look even more confusing than it already is. This says something about Farrell, a chap whose real-life romantic mishaps have made headlines and had heads shaking (lest we forget his public outings with Britney Spears).
And its hard to forget this in the aptly named Winter's Tale because Farrell plays the burglar-with-a-heart-of-gold, Peter Lake, so much like his public persona: greasy, strangely-cut hair and all... with an Irish accent.
There really is no need for Peter to have an Irish accent because he was raised in New York City. The same can be said for the movie's female lead, Beverly Penn (Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay), whose convenient English accent is only briefly explained as a byproduct of her birth across the pond, despite her newspaper tycoon father's (William Hurt) American accent.
But this is just the tip of the unexplained plot point iceberg in Winter's Tale.
This trans-century romance begins on Ellis Island, where baby Peter is left in a model boat and sent afloat into New York Harbor by his parents, who are refused entrance into the country because of his father's supposed illness. Somehow, someway Peter becomes the unwilling scion of the Devil's (Will Smith) minion, Pearly (an over-earnest Russell Crowe). When Peter rejects Pearly as a father figure, he is hunted by even lesser minions and stumbles across a Pegasus-like horse, which he names Horse. How original.
Oh, that's right, writer/director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) is trying to shove theological and philosophical metaphors down audiences' throats. Of course, Horse acts as both spirit guide and guardian angel to Peter, and according to a Google search, there is a difference between the two terms.
With a sprawling and often dreamlike narrative that examines grand themes of life, death and art, The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) is novelistic in its storytelling and enthrallingly ambitious.
Directed and written by Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty was Italy's submission for this year's Best Foreign Film Academy Award and it has made the cut to compete for the Oscar alongside four other films. Mirroring the scope of other lofty Italian films (Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita certainly come to mind) as well as the work of revered writers like Marcel Proust, Sorrentino is passionate and audacious in his approach to a story that is classically familiar in its basic framework and often surprising as well.
At the story's center is Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo). He wrote a moderately successful novel as a young man, and following that chose to veer into a life of partying, carousing with beautiful people and rarely making it to bed before dawn. As the film opens he has just turned 65, and after hearing some painful news that reminds him of his younger days and the great love he lost, this well-dressed, smarter-than-average socialite is beginning to tire a bit.
The Austin Film Society's Godard Vs. Truffaut series continues on this weekend with a 35mm print of Godard's A Woman Is A Woman tonight and Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. There's also an austin premiere on tap Sunday afternoon for The Big Shootout with director Mike Looney, Edith Royal and members of the 1969 UT football team in attendance. The Q&A will be moderated by KLBJ's Ed Clements.
On Monday night, you can head back over to the Marchesa for "An Austinite's Guide To The 2014 SXSW Film Festival." It will feature a Q&A with festival programmers Janet Pierson, Jarod Neece and Claudette Godfrey as well as a happy hour and a filmmakers' chat about how to make the most of the fest. On Wednesday, Richard Linklater will be hanging out with a 35mm print of Sam Fuller's White Dog and Essential Cinema is bringing you a newly restored DCP of the 2002's Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark on Thursday.
If you're looking for Valentine's Day ideas, we already covered the special romantic events going on this weekend at the Blue Starlite. There will also be Casablanca feasts happening at the Alamo Ritz and the Alamo Slaughter Lane tonight. If you want to save some dough, Casablanca will continue to screen in 35mm at the Ritz from Sunday-Thursday afternoons. If romance isn't your thing, the Ritz is going to be paying tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman with a 35mm screening of Synecdoche, New York on Saturday afternoon. Proceeds from the event will be going to Hoffman's Labyrinth Theater Company in New York. A Cinema Cocktails presentation of Billy Wilder's Sabrina on Sunday at the Ritz not only has drink specials, but also includes free mini macarons from la patisserie. The movie plays again on Tuesday at Lakeline, sans free sweet treats.
Part-time Texan Justin Arnold credits his role as Levi in the indie drama 5 Time Champion as the reason why he had the opportunity to audition for former Austin Film Society staffer Bryan Poyser's latest movie Love & Air Sex, formerly called The Bounceback (Don's review), which opens a weeklong run tonight at Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter during the movie's nationwide roadshow.
Poyser enjoyed 5 Time Champion, winner of the Texas Filmmaker Award at the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival, Arnold said. This and the friendship between Poyser and the movie's director, Berndt Mader, led to Arnold being cast in Poyser's comedy short The Fickle.
"Bryan, he's the man," Arnold said.
But that doesn't mean Arnold wasn't put through a rigorous audition process for Love & Air Sex.
"(Poyser) put me on the hot seat for about two hours," he said.
Arnold plays Tim in the Austin-shot comedy that premiered at SXSW 2013. It follows a group of twentysomethings looking for love during a weekend in the Live Music Capital of the World (and the soundtrack includes some toe-tappin' ditties by artists like Austinite Shakey Graves).
And Arnold can relate to some extent to the movie's lead, an actor-turned-pizza-delivery-guy in Los Angeles. Not to say that he's struggling -- he has a number of movie's in post-production -- but he admits it took some time for him to find a day job, working for a veterinary clinic, when he moved to L.A. about a year ago.
"L.A. is what you make of it," Arnold said optimistically. He recently moved into a new apartment with another actor not too far away from his Love & Air Sex costars Sara Paxton and Zach Cregger. Although Arnold didn't know any of the movie's cast prior to his 15 days on set, he said it eventually felt like home.