The news I neglected


Boy, have I been neglecting poor Slackerwood! I'm surprised I remembered the password to login. I've missed telling you all kinds of news: that the locally filmed feature Chalk has found distribution from Morgan Spulock's new company; that Austin filmmaker Bryan Poyser is now working for Austin Film Society as the Director of Artist Services (that reminds me of the "artist" bit in Swimming to Cambodia and I imagine Bryan issuing directions in that same tone); that Idiocracy will be released on DVD in January; and that all kinds of cool film events have been occurring in Austin, nearly all of which I've missed.

Except one. I did manage, by using up all my good luck for the next year, to get in on standby to the Butt-Numb-a-Thon last weekend. You can read the story about how I got into the event on Celluloid Eyes. But if you want all the news on the movies and the fun during BNAT, go read the feature I wrote for Cinematical. I am now hopelessly behind on any type of holiday shopping, preparation, or giftmaking (not to mention posting to various websites like this one), but it was definitely worthwhile.

Congrats to Chalk!

The Indie Spirit Award nominations were announced today. I found one Austin-related surprise: Chalk is nominated for the John Cassavetes award, which is given to the best feature made for under $500K. Chalk, a feature film about an average school year from the point of view of the teachers, was shot in Austin. The movie was directed by Mike Akel and co-written by Akel and Chris Mass. It's been winning awards left and right at film festivals this year, including the narrative feature audience award at Austin Film Festival. I saw Chalk at AFF this year (review here) and thought it was a lot of fun to watch, especially in an audience full of teachers. Let's hope this nomination helps the film secure distribution.

Doing anything tonight?

Yeah, I should have done a Movies This Week on Friday and given you a bit of notice about some of the great film-related events going on tonight (Monday) in Austin. But that didn't happen ... and I didn't know about at least one of these until today. Take your pick:

  • Letters from the Other Side—I reviewed this documentary at SXSW, about families in Mexico who struggle to survive when the husbands/fathers cross the border to find better-paying work in the U.S. If you haven't seen this yet, tonight's the night, because director Heather Courtney has finally succeeded in obtaining visas for the women featured in the documentary to visit the U.S. and attend this screening. Reception at 5:30, free screening at 6:30, following by a Q&A with the women from the documentary.
  • Mouchette—Austin Cinematheque is hosting a free screening of Robert Bresson's 1967 film, tonight at 7:30 pm at UT's Texas Union Theater. Austin Cinematheque prides themselves on obtaining first-class 35mm prints of classic films. If you miss tonight's film, they're also showing Love Streams on Nov. 27, and ooooh! The Conformist on Dec. 4.
  • Two at Alamo—Over at Alamo Downtown, you can catch Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple tonight at 7 pm ... or Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:45 pm. (I'm tempted to make it a double-feature on Tuesday with Porco Rosso.) I've heard good things about this documentary, although I'm not sure it's in the best taste for Alamo to serve free Kool-Aid with every admission. At 9:45 tonight, the Music Monday selection at Alamo is All Kindsa Girls, a documentary about the band The Real Kids, with $2 admission.

New AFS series devoted to anime


Porco RossoI missed the recent Austin Film Society series of Gene Tierney films. It was very sad. Every week, I said I was determined to see one, but something always happened. Admittedly, the movies I wanted to see were also available on DVD and I wasn't sure it was that much of a benefit to see them on the big screen. I promised myself I would rent the DVDs later and watch the movies, although if you've seen my inactive Netflix queue, you probably find that improbable.

However, the latest Austin Film Society series is going to look fabulous on the Alamo Downtown screen, and I intend to be there this time. The series is called "Subtle Lines: Japanese Anime". It starts tomorrow night -- Tuesday, Nov. 21 -- with a Hayao Miyazaki film I have long wanted to see, Porco Rosso. The following week's film is also courtesy of Miyazaki: Spirited Away. I've seen Spirited Away in a theater, but dubbed in English, whereas the AFS films are all in the original Japanese with subtitles. I don't know much about the rest of the films in the series but they look fascinating.

So don't try to persuade me to do anything else on a Tuesday night from now until the end of December. I'm going to Alamo Downtown as often as I can to catch some of these gorgeous animated films in a theater. The movies are free for AFS members, and a very affordable $4 for non-members, so feel free to join me.

Update: I can't believe Chris and I just posted about the same thing at the same time. That's beautiful.

Austin Film Society presents "Sublime Lines: Japanese Anime"


Some great anime on display at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown on Tuesday nights through December, including a couple of favorites from Hayao Miyazaki.

- Porco Rosso (Kurenai No Buta)
Tuesday, November 21 @ 7 p.m.

- Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi)
Tuesday, November 28 @ 7 p.m.

- Millennium Actress (Sennen Joyu)
Tuesday, December 5 @ 7 p.m.

- Metropolis (Metoroporisu)
Tuesday, December 12 @ 7 p.m.

- Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence (Inosensu: Kokaku Kidotai)
Tuesday, December 19 @ 7 p.m.

Visit the AFS page for more info on the films and the series.

AGLIFF Presents "Tupperware" and the "My Gay Movie" Challenge


Coupla news bites from the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival . . .

First up, aGLIFF presents the documentary Tupperware! at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown on December 10th, complete with a demo of the latest and greatest from Tupperware presented by a local T-ware rep. For a synopsis and more info check the Tupperware page on AGLIFF's site.

aGLIFF also presents the "My Gay Movie" (MGM) challenge, which not only throws down the gauntlet to filmmakers with a "queer sensibility," but also provides inexpensive "filmmaking workshops and access to cameras, computers, and editing software" in order to do so. There's no word (yet) on their site about what they're offering in the way of prizes, but even just the bragging rights are worth entering, especially if you already have a short produced. See the MGM Challenge page.

Austin Film Festival announces Audience Award winners


If you've been to the Austin Film Festival, you're familiar with the little ballots they hand out after each screening. Those ballots get counted up by hand when the Festival's done, and the result is the AFF Audience Awards. (Sponsored this year by Time Warner/IFC, yo. I worked for the Festival this year so I feel obligated to shout out to the sponsors.)

I'll list them after the jump, but you can also click straight over to the AFF site to see a nice list with links to the individual film pages.

Borat scaled back - where to see it in Austin


BoratIf you've been champing at the bit to see Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, you probably bought advance tickets to one of the Alamo Drafthouse's screenings. You will also need to get a refund for those tickets from the Drafthouse South Lamar and Village.

Due to an unexpected rollback from Borat's distributor, Twentieth Century Fox, screenings all over Austin were cancelled as the film's release at some venues has been postponed until next week. Included are Austin's cinema mainstays like the Alamo Lamar and Village though not, apparently, the Alamo Lake Creek. (I assume this is because the Lake Creek Alamo is under different ownership and management than the others, though why Fox would choose to keep the screenings at the Lake Creek and not the others is a complete mystery.)

Austin Film Festival wrap-up


Opening night at AFFAustin Film Festival's closing night was on Thursday, although to be honest, I didn't get to see any films after Tuesday night. I had a conflicting event on Wednesday, and then on Thursday I decided I would wait and see the Tenacious D movie with my husband, because this seems to be a time of the year when we have difficulty finding light-hearted movies we'd both like to see in theaters.

A couple of notes on this year's festival:

  • Film festival in-house ads can be terribly annoying -- if not on the first day, than certainly by the end of the festival. However, the "Script Cops" shorts at AFF were pretty funny, and there were enough of them that I never got irritated ... except for one thing. The tagline of the ads was "Write good." Any writer who knows her grammar had to find that a little grating.
  • I just realized I had a postcard for "Script Cops" in my purse, which a nice man dressed as a police officer gave me while I was waiting in line for Catch and Release. Turns out the trailers were co-written and directed by Scott Rice, whose shorts The Adventures of Mad Matt, Pillowtalk, and Perils of Nude Modeling I've thoroughly enjoyed. Also, you can watch all the "Script Cops" trailers online.
  • While the "Script Cops" trailers were fun, AFF made the mistake of using the same sponsor reel background images and music from last year. That music is a terrible earworm and it showed up in my dreams on multiple nights. Please, guys, find a way to create a new sponsor reel next year. I don't think I can stand to hear it one more time (and now that I'm writing about it, it's stuck in my head again ... gaaaaah).
  • Question for Austin filmgoers: Where do you go to eat before seeing an evening movie at the Paramount (or for that matter, The Hideout)? Many of the restaurants along that section of Congress close at 6 pm. I can only eat Wiki Wiki Teriyaki so many times. Some friends have recommended the bar at McCormick and Schmick's, which has a cheap happy-hour menu, but that doesn't work well if you're eating alone. If you've got other suggestions, please post them in the comments.

Looking for fun today? Try Seguin!


I forgot to mention in Movies This Week that the Seguin Film and Arts Festival takes place this weekend. In fact, the fun started last night with a screening of Rear Window (for some weird reason, they weren't allowed to announce the title, but I assume that I've guessed the correct "Hitchcock thriller starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly"). If you're looking for some alternative film choices today, you might want to make the drive (it's about the same distance as San Antonio).

Here's the film schedule: Today (Saturday), you can enjoy a number of short films during the day -- I haven't seen any of them myself but they sound entertaining. Most were shot in Texas. Tonight at 9 pm, the festival will screen several classic horror movies: Night of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness (more of a cult film really), and House on Haunted Hill, which will be accompanied by a few locally made horror shorts. The evening event is a fundraiser for a proposed festival award to be given in memory of the late art director and Seguin resident Robert A. Burns (the 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Re-Animator). On Sunday, the festival will show more short films, including a Spanish-language lineup. You can buy a festival pass for $15, which is about as cheap as it gets.

The Seguin festival sounds like fun, and I kind of regret that this year it takes place right at the end of Austin Fall Film Fest Madness, because otherwise it might have been a nice getaway weekend for us. Maybe next year, since I noticed that Austin Film Festival's 2007 dates are a week earlier than 2006 (and I'm wondering how that will affect aGLIFF and other fests ... guess we'll find out next summer).

Syndicate content