By Jessica Pugh
Because Fourplay is such a unique film and could potentially appeal to only a select audience, I wasn't sure if there would be a full house at the Alamo Village the night I planned to see it. I could not have been more wrong. We were at full capacity, and there was excitement in the air to see what former Austinite Kyle Henry's movie would present.
After talking to producer Jason Wehling before the Fourplay screening, I asked him what someone should expect from Fourplay. He casually stated, "You might be offended, you definitely will be challenged." The audience didn't seem to be as anxious about the film as I was. Several people ordered a few drinks, and were casually chatting.
When the film ended, cast and crew gathered at the front of the theater for a Q&A and discussion about the film. The movie is an anthology of four shorts each set in a different city. Overall, "Tampa" stood out as far as sexual explicitness. Viewers seemed impressed with Henry and writer Carlos Trevino's boldness to not hold back, and construct a homosexual orgy experience where literally anything goes! However, it was "San Francisco" that seemed to complete Henry's desire to make sex a meaningful central part of a character's existence. It was a heartfelt experience, and I think it was a fantastic ending to the Fourplay series.
By Mariana Mora
School is all about learning, and sometimes it can get tiring and boring. In afterschool programs like ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) though, it’s about having fun while learning new and exciting things. AFS Film Club is an ACE program where we at the Austin Film Society teach children from 17 different elementary, middle and high schools some basic skills in moviemaking, from script to screen.
The AFS Film Club Winter Festival 2013 took place in February at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. AFS screened dozens of student films made in ACE Film Club during the fall semester of 2012. Students from at least 10 of the 17 schools made it to this amazing event where we screened their movies.
By Barbara Cigarroa
It was a packed house at the Paramount Theatre. Sitting in the uppermost row of the balcony, I looked down and watched as hundreds of people took their seats below me, waiting for the Captain himself, William Shatner, to appear on stage and take them for a ride. Minutes later, the lights dimmed and there he was doing just that, a rolling chair with him as his sole prop for life -- toilet, ship, bus, table, and, coffin. From where I sat, the 81-year-old actor looked tiny, but as the words rolled out of him and as his gestures became grander and grander, the distance between us disappeared and I was right there with him. The title of the show suggested it and Bad Billy delivered: he transported me right into his world, "Shatner's World."
I went into the Paramount Theatre that night expecting to be entertained by an entertainment icon; I came out of there having experienced, yes, a hilarious, but also, a heartfelt look back at this man's thrilling, legendary and sometimes lonely career as an actor.
Shatner began his professional trajectory in a Shakespearean theatre ensemble – no, not as the lead, but as the lead's understudy. Even though he probably would not be but an extra on stage, he took it upon himself to study every syllable and inflection of that other William's iambic pentameter, memorizing and rehearsing those 16th century lines in the one place he ever felt truly confortable: the toilet.
By Raven Patton
The Austin Film Society was honored late last year by the visit of Ted Hope, who was there to discuss an important matter concerning the creation of a sustainable film community. Ted Hope is an award winning film producer who has had widespread success with several production companies including Good Machine, which went on to become Focus Features, one of the most forward thinking production companies around, and his most recent production company, Double Hope, that he founded with his wife Vanessa Hope. Hope is also the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society.
What exactly does it mean to create a sustainable film community and why is it so important? According to Hope, we are a society that is oversaturated and distracted. At the dawn of the film industry, movies were scarce and controlled. Hope, a self-proclaimed chronic listmaker, says he made a list of four and five-star films that he wants to see before he dies. He stated that if he watched roughly 250 films per year, the list of films would actually reach 8.5 years past his life expectancy. This is a fantastic way of driving home the oversaturation issue. He warned about taking a cue from the music industry, which faced their struggles with sustainability first and urged that we restructure the film industry now before the problem persists.
By Raven Parks
Early in December, the Austin Film Society was joined by nearly a thousand of its members and creative media people for the Make Watch Love Austin event. The event was designed as a creative industries expo, where Austin's film, music and videogame lovers and companies came to network and celebrate the expansion of Austin Studios by way of the old National Guard Armory. The recent acquisition of the old Armory, plus the bond Proposition 18 that voters approved in November, will allow Austin Studios to expand the organization and create a seventh production studio along with plenty of space that will house the offices of local creative companies.
By Katie Ormsbee
The setting: a grade-school classroom.
The players: eight obscure but promising up-and-comers.
The theme: treachery, unjust punishment, redemption, and reconciliation.
It's the first day of filming, and all is quiet on the set. What this picture's visionary 4'5" director lacks in height, she more than makes up for in a set of pipes that could raise the dead.
"ACTION!" she bellows.
The air is thick with the palpable anxiety of both crew and cast. This is the third take of the film's most pivotal and emotionally charged scene: an inciting incident of brutal betrayal. While sitting only inches away from their victim, our two antagonists -- the victim's purported best friends -- clandestinely plot the tragic heroine's downfall.
By Susan LaMarca
The documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling screened at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on December 4 with Houston filmmakers Brett Whitcomb and Brad Thomason in attendance. Alongside an 80s commercial featuring Hulk Hogan in his most terrifying prime, pre-screening bumpers featured a clip of classic women's wrestling from the 1950s: Blond Ballerina vs June Adair with commentary from two male announcers who "sure do love to see a ladies' wrestling match." Then an Alamo programmer took the stage and asked the audience: "Who is your favorite GLOW lady?"
GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was the first ever all-female wrestling show, recorded in Las Vegas and airing for four seasons in the late 80s. Aspiring actresses, stuntwomen and models went face-to-face in wrestling matches staged before a live audience and remained in character to perform sketch comedy throughout the show. Although some of the participants speculate that the show was originally conceived as a vehicle for product placement and Vegas spectacle, GLOW became wildly popular among adults and children all over the world. The audience response to GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling proved many of the characters of GLOW continue to be very revered.
Longtime GLOW fans, director Whitcomb and writer Thomason were inspired to make the documentary by "childhood memories, idle time at work and YouTube." Their film celebrates the wrestlers of the television show. For many of the Ladies, being part of GLOW was an unexpected experience that they are proud to have been a part of.
During the Q&A portion of the evening, Whitcomb and Thomason discussed how almost all the performers were thrilled to be a part of the documentary. The Ladies remembered the sisterhood that developed backstage and felt regret that many of them lost touch since the show was cancelled. Former GLOW Lady Little Egypt was even inspired to organize a reunion that the filmmakers were able to capture for the documentary.
By Aaron Malzahn
Welcome to Holiday Favorites, a series in which Slackerwood contributors and our friends talk about the movies we watch during the holiday season, holiday-related or otherwise.
They don't make movies like Gremlins anymore. It is one of those rare holiday films that manages to successfully combine the warm, fuzzy holiday feeling of family togetherness with the strange, bizarre and gruesome humor of cheesy horror flicks. It does this so well in fact that most people, just like Die Hard, forget that Gremlins is a Christmas film. But it is, and the first time I ever saw this loveable gem of a movie was wrapped up next to a roaring fire when I was a kid and sipping a big glass of egg nog witnessing a gremlin explode in the microwave. This movie, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have the PG-13 rating.
Produced by Steven Spielberg and his company Amblin entertainment back in 1984 hot off the heels of his blockbuster film ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Gremlins opened on the same day as Ghostbusters, and came in second in the box-office draws. Originally written as a spec script by Chris Columbus, Spielberg bought it when it came across his desk and hired Joe Dante (coming off of a hiatus after The Howling) to direct. It was a critical and commercial hit during its lifetime in the theatre and went on to spawn a sequel and a massive marketing campaign.
By Kaliska Ross
It’s Thursday night and Theater #2 at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar is filled to the brim with eager moviegoers and a palpable excitement over the special guest, Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, arriving at any moment, for the sneak peak of Rick Alverson’s latest film. While we waited for the lights to dim and the film to begin, clips of Tim and Eric were playing in the theater to set the mood. After a bit, the director Rick Alverson took the stage to briefly introduce his film, The Comedy.
The Comedy is about Swanson, played by Heidecker, a 30-something well-to-do Williamsburg hipster, and his group of friends, grappling with their privileged lives and ultimately trying to make meaning where seemingly none exists. Rick describes the main character as having a creative desire to reclaim language from banality. While a positive goal, Swanson’s methods -- berating those around him and completely ignoring political correctness -- often leave the more open-minded audience member feeling uncomfortable and the easily offended patron possibly even angry.
By Kaliska Ross
Walking into the Central Market Cooking School for a Chef du Cinema class felt like walking into a French café. Well, sort of. There was wine and French bistro music was playing. I guess the similarities end there.
Unlike a French café, the cooking class had bright lights, a televised demonstration table, and an effervescent instructor who was very personable and greeted us when we walked in. You certainly won't find that in a French café. He made small talk while the participants trickled in. I took that time to look over the menu. Tonight we'd be making Artichoke and Tomato Tartlets, Warm French Green Lentil Salad, French Style Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Endives au Gratin, and Maple-Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. Naturally, I was starting to get excited.
Next came a brief introduction of the chef, Ron Deutsch, and his assistants. He then went on to explain the dishes being prepared and how they related to the evening's movie, Amélie. The appetizer (Tartelette d'artichauts et tomates) appeared on the menu because a line in the movie is "At least you'll never be a vegetable -- even artichokes have hearts." The dish was a puff pastry topped with artichoke hearts, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, shallots and melted Gruyère. Let me tell you, those little pastries were good!