Jette Kernion's blog
I received a very nice email from local filmmaker/instructor Steve Mims last week, letting me know about his upcoming filmmaking classes at Austin FilmWorks and also complimenting Slackerwood. He introduced himself briefly, as though we hadn't met before.
I stopped and laughed aloud, because I am actually in one of Steve Mims' movies. He didn't make the connection ... admittedly, I was using a different first name at the time. And it was a very small role, thankfully for all of us.
My friend Tom Chamberlain was a producer on this film called One Eye Peeled ... this would have been around 2001, maybe? I can't recall the year. He asked me if I wanted to audition for a minor role that he thought was perfect for me. He gave me the relevant section of the script, at which point I found out I was "perfect" to play a character listed as Frumpy Housewife. I auditioned anyway -- it was a two-line role -- and got one night's work on the film.
One Eye Peeled was a series of comedy sketches strung together by a loose narrative, kind of like Kentucky Fried Movie. The sketch I was in was about Death holding a book signing for his autobiography. It was shot in BookPeople. I hadn't ever worked as an actor on a film before, except for a long cold night in grad school when I ran around in a Jimmy Carter mask for a brief appearance in someone's thesis film. (Or was it Richard Nixon? My memory sucks sometimes.)
A couple of quick news items about Fantastic Fest, which starts in less than a week:
- If you're not in Austin, or if you live here but aren't able to attend Fantastic Fest, you can still watch 10 of the festival movies, online, for free. You have to register online with B-side (if you've been to a local film fest, you may already have a B-side account), but that's free too. The movies -- five features and five shorts -- are all eligible for an online audience award, so rate them after you watch them.
- If you are actually attending Fantastic Fest in person, easy-to-understand guidelines about this year's ticketing/badge system are now available on the Fantastic Fest blog. Badge pickup starts this year on Wednesday, the day before the fest starts.
A quick note for filmmakers who have movies showing at Fantastic Fest: If you're from Austin, shot your film in Austin, or your film is about Austin in some way, would you please post a comment or contact me? I haven't been able to find a list yet of Austin-related films at the fest and I would love to compile such a list myself. So far, the only Austin-related film at Fantastic Fest that I know about is Zombie Girl, a documentary about local horror filmmaker Emily Hagins.
A couple of weeks ago, Chris Holland suggested that we might want to start doing a podcast for Slackerwood. We could set up a regularly scheduled time to record the podcast, talk about as much Austin film stuff as we liked in 20 minutes, and have a lot of fun.
We recorded the first podcast last week, and here it is for your listening pleasure. We're planning to do this around every two weeks, more or less, and we're hoping to include some guests -- filmmakers, local festival organizers, maybe even other film writers. Chris does the audio editing and other heavy lifting -- my job is to chat with Chris about movies in coherent if not witty ways, and try not to babble.
Special thanks should go to my husband Chip, who worked Drupal magic to set up a separate RSS feed for the podcast, and tinkered with other behind-the-scenes things to the website to make it easy for me to upload and post the podcasts.
Let us know what you think about the podcast, and if there are topics you'd like to see covered in future podcasts. Austin's fall film-festival season is nearly upon us, so I expect we'll cover a lot of that in the next month or two.
[Photo credit: Blake Ethridge of Cinema Is Dope ... the only photo I could find of Chris and me together, and also taken after one of the few times I've been able to go to Weird Wednesday. Thanks, Blake!]
I have great photos and amusing tales from last night's Hellboy 2 screening at Alamo to share with you, but I'm on deadline with a review of that same movie right now. So for the moment, I'll leave you one of my favorite images of the evening. In the middle of the post-screening Q&A, someone brought milkshakes to all the special guests. Doug Jones, Guillermo del Toro, and Mike Mignola continued answering questions from the audience while sipping their frosty non-alcoholic (I think ...) beverages.
The miracle was not that the milkshakes materialized mid-discussion, nor that the speakers appeared to enjoy them (Alamo shakes are universally beloved, I believe), but that not a single person in the packed audience or up at the front of the room made an "I drink your milkshake!" comment, despite the fact that we were in the very Austin theater where There Will Be Blood unofficially had its world premiere during Fantastic Fest last year, and the audience consisted primarily of Fantastic Fest 2008 badgeholders. I was tempted to make reference to the quote in the title, but I think that line's days are behind us, and will simply conclude by wishing I had one of those Alamo shakes right-damn-now, to enjoy while I struggle with finishing my review of Hellboy 2.
You know, if I wait around long enough, eventually my laziness saves me time and energy. I attended John Pierson's Master Classes at UT earlier this year -- you remember me sharing photos from the Steve Buscemi class. I had an entry started here on Slackerwood about the last class of the year, with South Park co-creator Matt Stone. But I never had time to write up my notes on the actual session -- all I had were links to the photos. (Procrastinator. Yep. That's me.)
Now KUT is saving my butt and letting me share my favorite photo (above) from the class with Matt Stone. The local radio station will start airing the show "Master Class with John Pierson," in which each class is pared down to its best 30 minutes and aired for your enjoyment. The shows will air monthly on Sundays at 11 am as part of KUT's "Best of Public Radio" programming, starting on June 29.
Here's the schedule:
June 29: Steve Buscemi, David Simon
July 27: Lauren Zalaznick, Matt Stone
August 31: Charles Burnett, Chris Smith
The Austin Chronicle has an article with additional info about the show, and the Statesman has more details too. But I think I've got the best photo of John Pierson and Matt Stone. On the other hand, I wish I took notes like Austin Kleon, because his doodles and observations from the Matt Stone class are amazing.
One more photo after the jump, because I love taking pictures in the ACL studio and will be sad when it moves off-campus (I used to work as an intern for ACL, but that's a story for another day).
I want to try a new format for quick links to Austin screenings and news, because I'm lazy. Let me know how you like it, maybe it can become a regular Friday thing. And next time there may be a photo or two.
- Alamo Drafthouse posted a Flickr set from their recent Incredible Hulk premiere event.
- It's not too late to zip over to Arbor tonight to see Z: A Zombie Musical at 7:30 pm. If you miss it, several Austin video stores have the DVD (Encore and I think Vulcan or Waterloo, I'll have to find out and get back to you).
- Lars has started a blog for Weird Wednesday, which is fun to read even if you never go to the midnight WW screenings because you have to get up at the crack of dawn on weekdays (like me).
- The Paramount has a cool new website for its Summer Classic Film Series.
- Austin Film Festival is bringing in Polly Platt on July 13 to chat with Tom Schatz as part of a special screening of The Last Picture Show. I've heard her speak and I can't recommend this enough.
- Alamo's July/August schedule is now available to view as a PDF. I have GOT to get into that Hellboy 2 screening to see Guillermo del Toro. (I've had a crush on him since I saw him at Austin Film Festival in 1999, so all you Hobbit lovers get the hell outta my way and let me in.)
This format doesn't look all that different from the old Movies This Week, does it? The big difference is that I'd rather link to news and screening times than write it all out for you. But you don't mind, do you?
Last week, for the first time, I used the term "neener-neener-neener" in the title of something I'd written. My inner six-year-old was too excited that instead of an NYC premiere, and Austin getting the movie a month later (which you know is the unfortunate norm), Baghead was going to start its limited run right here in Austin, and New Yorkers would just have to wait to see the Duplass brothers' latest film. You can read the details of the release strategy in my "Neener" article for Cinematical. I am sure that Jay and Mark Duplass would be pleased to hear that they were an indirect cause of juvenile glee for Austinites.
Baghead also gives Austin the pleasure of hosting the kind of premiere you don't normally see in Manhattan -- out in the woods, with free s'mores for audience members. Austin Film Society and Alamo's Rolling Roadshow have cooked up Thursday night's screening out at Star Hill Ranch, where parts of the movie were shot. Tickets are still available through the AFS site. If you really want to get fancy, you can pay extra for a multi-course feast before the film. Jay and Mark Duplass will be there too ... with bags on their heads? Who knows?
Check out the email interview I did with the Duplass brothers before SXSW this year, in which they offer deep and meaningful insight into the inspirations for Baghead. The photo above is from the Q&A after the Baghead screening at SXSW and while it's far from the best photo I took, it captures the attitude of cast and crew at the time. I have to say, I saw the official trailer for the film this weekend, and it doesn't quite capture the fact that this is a funny movie, poking fun at what people have called "mumblecore" as well as adding a splash of horror.
If you can't make it to Thursday night's screening, you can catch Baghead in Austin at Alamo on South Lamar and the Arbor. You can enjoy not only the movie itself, but the satisfaction of seeing it before the rest of the country. Neener!
Austin Film Society sent me the best mini-poster last week, on the back of a schedule for its latest film series, Making the World Laugh: Global Comedy. I put it right by my computer, and whenever someone starts bugging me, or tries to strong-arm me into doing something, I look over at that image and think, "What would The Landlady do?" And then I kick butt.
If you want your own image of The Landlady to gaze upon during difficult moments, you should head on over to one of the great comedy films in the AFS series, which starts tonight with Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places. Next week, you can see The Landlady herself in Kung Fu Hustle, and the rest of the lineup is equally stellar. The movies are all screening on Tuesday nights at Alamo on South Lamar. Admission is free if you're an AFS member and cheap ($4) if you're not. Consider getting tickets in advance on the AFS website, because their series films often sell out in advance.
Now, if someone would just find me a "WWTLD" bracelet, I'd be able to handle any situation.
Update: I've now heard that anyone is welcome to attend the meeting -- it's just that you have to be a paid TXMPA member if you want to vote on any of the meeting issues/elections.
I just received a press release about the Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA) meeting that's taking place tonight. This is a meeting of the TXMPA Central Region Caucus, and it will be held at Mother Egan's (on 715 6th Street) from 6:15 to 8 pm. Admission is for dues-paying TXMPA members only and tonight's agenda is focused on nominations and elections. If this interests you, visit the TXMPA website to join online. (They won't be able to take credit cards at the venue tonight.)
If you don't know why TXMPA is important right now, check out the cover story in this week's Austin Chronicle, about the dismal lack of film productions shooting in Texas these days. Or you can read last Sunday's Austin American-Statesman article about how Shreveport, Louisiana -- of all places -- is surpassing Austin in film production.
I've posted the rest of the press release after the jump. (Thanks to Janet Pierson for the heads-up on this.)
The Paramount's Summer Film Series begins tonight with, as is traditional at the Paramount, Casablanca. This year, the film is paired with Key Largo for a Bogie double-feature.
The summer film series' schedule runs through early September, with the usual Gone with the Wind on Labor Day weekend and Lawrence of Arabia the weekend after. Other perennial faves include Breakfast at Tiffany's (how all of you can get past that awful Mickey Rooney character is beyond me, but I know tons of people adore this film); 2001: A Space Odyssey, because it looks so cool on a big screen; and the 70mm visual extravaganza Baraka. Many of the films are paired with Warner Brothers cartoons this year, which I usually enjoy (and prefer to the live-action serials Paramount has sometimes included in the past).
The schedule has few surprises, but that's what the Paramount's summer films are all about. For cultural diversity, you go to Austin Film Society screenings. For edgy culty programming, you go to Alamo Drafthouse. If you want to see a beloved Hollywood film with an audience that loves that film as much as you do, you go to the Paramount.