Adventures in Red Carpet: Grindhouse at the Paramount (Part 1)

I've waited so long to write about the Grindhouse red carpet here (not to mention that I wrote the above phrase a whole month ago -- I'm such a procrastinator) that the film has its allure ... however, what goes around comes around. With the upcoming premiere at Cannes of Quentin Tarantino's segment Death Proof as a stand-alone film, perhaps people will be interested in seeing the film's celebrities all glitzed-out at the Paramount back in late March. As a tribute to the original double-feature cut of Grindhouse, I've split this entry into two parts. (Or maybe because the entry was too long.)

First, you should read my Cinematical article about the Austin red carpet to see the best photos I took, including a fabulous one of Tarantino. He finally stood still long enough for me to take a photo that didn't look like a blur! I was thrilled. However, I took so many photos that I have plenty to share here too.

Adventures in Red Carpet: Grindhouse at the Paramount (Part 2)

In Part 1 of the Grindhouse Adventures in Red Carpet (which you should read before this entry), I had just managed to take non-blurry photos of Quentin Tarantino and was very pleased. One thing I didn't mention in Part 1 was the zombie invasion. For some reason, the crowd of fans at the Paramount included zombies ... or people dressed as zombies, I couldn't be sure, except they seemed not to be eating brains. Some were just watching the fun, but some obviously wanted to join the media:

The next celebrity on the red carpet was Jordan Ladd, who played one of the first group of women in Death Proof (aka "the one in the Alamo Drafthouse t-shirt"). I didn't realize, until I looked her up on IMDb, that she's Cheryl Ladd's daughter. I like this photo because first of all, I'm wondering what someone said to cause her to make that face; and second of all, well, just look in the background on the left:­

Texas Film Production Fund offers even more money this year


The Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF) annually gives grants to filmmakers around the state, and this year, the total amount to be awarded has doubled. $150,000 in cash awards is budgeted for this ­year, up from $75,000 in 2006. The awards include a new $10,000 travel grant that will be given (not all at once) to filmmakers year-round, which will be handy for Texas filmmakers whose movies are accepted at remote film festivals.

If you're a filmmaker and wondering how to get some of this money for your own specific film or video project, you can attend one of the TFPF workshops taking place in the next couple of months. The Austin Film Society website has all the details, including the application. The deadline for submission is June 1.

Here's a list of last year's TFPF winners if you're curious. I looked at grants from earlier years to see if anyone sounded familiar: previous local or locally connected recipients include Kat Candler for Jumping off Bridges, Emily Hagins (then 12 years old) for Pathogen, Bradley Beesley for Summercamp! (SXSW 2006), Heather Courtney for Letters from the Other Side (SXSW 2006), Nancy Higgins for Viva Les Amis (SXSW Presents 2006), Kyle Henry for Room (Cannes 2005), Jacob Vaughan for Dear Pillow (SXSW 2004) ... and many many more.

Scenes from Hot Fuzztival

A couple of weeks ago, Alamo Drafthouse Downtown decided to hold a cop-movie marathon, the Hot Fuzztival -- that name ought to give you a big hint as to what the centerpiece movie of the marathon would be. (I noticed that other cities also did Hot Fuzztivals in preparation for this particular movie.) I have a confession to make: I went to the Hot Fuzztival not because I was psyched about Hot Fuzz, although I was looking forward to the cop-movie spoof from the Shaun of the Dead guys. I figured I'd have plenty of chances to see Hot Fuzz.

I went to the Hot Fuzztival primarily to see one of my guilty pleasure movies, which isn't available on DVD and which is very hard to get to see: Freebie and the Bean. I was amazed that Alamo was able to find a print. I rented the VHS copy at Vulcan Video last year (right before Alamo's Richard Rush double-feature, in fact -- Rush also directed this film) and the video quality was poor, but the film was still hilarious. The storyline is sexist and homophobic and some scenes don't make any sense to me, but James Caan and Alan Arkin are so wonderful together that it makes up for everything.

I did not mean for this article to be a love letter about Freebie and the Bean, but the point is that I spent nearly $40 to see that particular movie, and considered the other films to be lagniappe, if top-notch lagniappe. I was also looking forward to seeing the Hot Fuzz filmmakers/stars in person at the Alamo -- they were scheduled to appear right before Hot Fuzz, which was the last film to be shown in the five-movie marathon.­

aGLIFF is hiring


Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) is in need of a new Executive Director and a Programming Director. I'm not sure how they're going to find anyone as good as Lonny and Mo, but the festival board is certainly trying. I've seen ads posted for both these positions on Craigslist multiple times. Paid film festival positions in Austin? I'm surprised there isn't a stampede. If you're interested in either position, full job descriptions are available on the aGLIFF website.

I did some volunteer work for aGLIFF last year while I was between full-time jobs, and enjoyed the overall atmosphere as well as the board members and other volunteers I worked with. It's the most social film festival I've attended in Austin -- you've got to love a festival where before every movie, someone stands up in front to tell you about all the after-parties. The deadlines aren't posted for these jobs, so apply now if you're thinking about it.

A brief note from Alamo's "Hot Fuzztival"

I am at the Alamo Drafthouse cop-movie marathon, taking a brief break during Sudden Impact and waiting eagerly for Freebie and the Bean, which will be followed by Hot Fuzz, and I would like to take a minute to note something in a way that is uncharacteristic of me. But I can't resist: That Edgar Wright is HOT. There may be a photo coming soon, which will not do him justice. Now back to Dirty Harry.

AFS panel about film blogging (including me)


Austin Film Society has just announced an upcoming session in its Moviemaker Dialogues series called "Film Bloggers are Your Friends." And we are! I swear. The session is aimed at filmmakers who want to know more about using the web to promote their movies, whether they develop their own sites or provide material that online reviewers and film blogs can use.

The session will take place on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 pm in the AFS screening room. Matt Dentler of SXSW (who has his own blog) will moderate. Panelists include Aaron Hillis (Cinephiliac), Joel Heller (Docs that Inspire), Mike Curtis (HD for Indies), and Jette Kernion ... hey, that would be me. I haven't met all the other panelists in person but I do read their blogs and it sounds like it'll be a useful and fun evening.

You must be a Filmmaker-level AFS member to attend the session, and you have to register on the AFS site. The session is free. You know I have plenty of issuesto rant about on this topic, so if you're an Austin filmmaker, I hope you'll be there.

Alamo Downtown, meet the Ritz Theater


Alamo DowntownI'm still surprised by the news, which was posted to Alamo Drafthouse's blog this morning: Alamo Downtown will move into the old Ritz Theater building this summer. This will ease all our worries about what would happen to the theater when its lease was up -- rumors abounded that it would be prohibitively expensive for the theater to remain in the now-trendy warehouse district, and that perhaps it would have to close entirely, with its programming moving to Alamo on South Lamar.

I've only been to the Ritz once, about 8 years ago. I worked on a short Super 8 film called Cold Turkey, written and directed by my friend Tom Chamberlain, that was a Thanksgiving-themed Tarantino-esque scene shot with hand puppets. (We were doing gory Thanksgiving before Eli Roth ever thought of such a thing.) So I have nothing but fond memories of the Ritz. As Tim Trentham points out on Metroblogging Austin, the Ritz has its own long history in Austin -- it's been around since 1929 -- and I'm happy that it will be able to remain open as a theater. In its original incarnation, the theater could seat nearly 800 people, so there's plenty of room for Alamo there.

My one concern is that the Ritz is on Sixth Street. You know, Sixth Street, where the drunken frat boys love to party. I haven't felt unsafe walking alone from Alamo Downtown to a parking spot after a late movie, but Sixth Street is another matter entirely. I've never been comfortable around Sixth Street alone at night, and of course it's insane down there on weekend nights. However, if I have to start bugging various guys to walk me to my car, it's a small price to pay to keep an Alamo Downtown.

I'll miss the old Alamo Downtown -- I've been going there for nearly 10 years. My first movie there was the first Austin Powers movie (that would have been June 2007), and I was delighted that I could watch a movie and have a beer for the price of watching the movie at night at a multiplex. I'm looking forward to seeing the new combination of the Ritz and the Alamo.

Updated, 5:30 pm: The entry on Alamo's blog has been removed. Was it intended to be posted later this month ... or even April 1? But it's not outrageous enough for April Fool's. If you've got some light to shed on this mystery (Tim League, are you out there?), feel free to post a comment.

Update #2, March 21: The Alamo blog entry is live again. Apparently it wasn't supposed to be published until today. AICN has more details on the new theater sizes, etc.

Update #3, March 21: Check out Micah's photo at Reel Distraction showing what the Alamo Ritz might look like.

More SXSW resources

Here's a list of helpful blog entries and articles about SXSW 2007, either generally or for the film festival:
  • The Austin Chronicle has a huge section devoted to SXSW film, as they do every year. One article I particularly liked is good for anyone attending SXSW: "So, Basically, Tacos and Free Beer: Enjoying Good Food and Drink at SXSW for $10 a Day During SXSW" by musician Kathy McCarty.
  • Metroblogging Austin has "advice for daytime" for out-of-towners unused to Texas weather. I'd add that I bring bottled water everywhere -- I get those teeny Ozarka bottles and stick them in my purse, I keep cold bottles in my car, etc.
  • Austinist is full of SXSW interviews, info, and giveaways right now -- most of it's related to the music festival but you can also find good film fest content.
  • SXSW Baby is blogging about all aspects of the festival. They have a film category if you just want to read the film fest stuff. They have some good food guides if you're an out-of-towner. (What I personally need is a good guide to downtown-area food for someone who lives in Austin -- I don't need to be continually steered toward Tex-Mex, I just need to know where I can get a bite running between ACC and the Paramount. Anyone?)
  • Keep an eye on Matt Dentler's blog, because you never know when he might post something about SXSW that you'll want to know. After all, he's the source.

Alamo Drafthouse unveils "beta" of new web site


The Alamo Drafthouse has been harboring a secret -- a secret web site that takes the ol' red, yellow, and black color scheme to new places.

Dig for a peek at the Alamo Drafthouse web site of the future!

Personally I like the trailers page, where you can check out the wacky homegrown pre-show trailers that the Alamo staff creates for its specialty programming.

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