Slackery News Tidbits
Here's the latest Austin film news.
- Drafthouse Films, the distribution company associated with Alamo Drafthouse, has announced its latest acquisition: The FP, which premiered at SXSW 2011 in the Midnighters section. It's about gang wars that take place using a dance-fight video game. Film critic Scott Weinberg reviewed the movie for Twitch and essentially says it's a one-joke movie, but a good joke it manages to sustain throughout its 78-minute running time. Drafthouse Films plans a limited theatrical release in the first quarter of 2012. In addition, Drafthouse Films now has a new company director, Evan Husney.
- More distribution news, Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission has landed a distribution deal with First Run Features. According to the film's director, Mike Woolf, the locally made documentary has an expected theatrical release date in January 2012. Read Debbie's SXSW 2010 review for more info about the film.
- The winner of an Austin Film Festival audience award for comedies in 2009, Herpes Boy, is finally available for us to see again. You can stream it on Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon or iTunes, or check your cable VOD listings. Debbie reviewed it at AFF and found it funny and poignant; I believe my comment was that it was like Napoleon Dynamite, except actually funny and not annoying. Definitely a must if you're a fan of Beth Grant.
- Traverse City Film Festival really does love Austin filmmakers -- local films seem to win awards there every year and Austin may need its own category in 2012. This time, the winner was Heather Courtney's documentary Where Soldiers Come From, which took home the Founders Prize for Best U.S. Documentary Film. Read my review from SXSW. Drafthouse Films' previous acquisition, Four Lions, won Best Screenplay in a Foreign Narrative Film.
Here's the latest Austin film news.
- Filmmaker Magazine has named this year's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," and a couple of those faces are very familiar here in Austin. Local filmmaker Joe Nicolosi is the mastermind behind the very funny bumpers at this year's SXSW Film Festival, and DFW-area filmmaker David Lowery was also at SXSW 2011 this year with his short film Pioneer.
- Speaking of SXSW 2011, local feature Natural Selection (Debbie's review), which won several awards at the fest, has been picked up for U.S. theatrical and DVD distribution by Cinema Guild. The release date is set as "this fall," and I'll let you know when more info is available about an Austin release date.
- And have we mentioned yet that Richard Linklater's latest film, Bernie, has found distribution? Millenium Films picked up the dark comedy, which was shot in Central Texas and stars Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. No word yet on a release date -- so far, the film has only officially screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
- If you're fond of chess and want to see it on the big screen, you'll be happy to hear that filmmaker Andrew Bujalski (SXSW 2010 selection Beeswax) is working on a feature called Computer Chess, which he wants to start shooting in Austin next month. It's about chess players and computer programmers in the 1980s. Bujalski still needs money to use for equipment rental and post-production costs, and has set up a fundraising project. The accompanying video is amusing, especially if you know which local filmmaker is playing the "Hollywood executive."
Here's the latest Austin film news, as well as some other bits of news you might have missed earlier.
- Rolling Roadshow has added one last Texas movie to its summer tour: Bottle Rocket. The Wes Anderson movie will be shown on Saturday night at the hotel in which it was partially filmed: the Days Inn in Hillsboro. It's part of an event to save the hotel from being closed down. Road trip, anyone?
- For an excellent and thorough summary of many upcoming Austin films, check out Matthew Odam's write-up for the Austin American-Statesman ... as well as his follow-up on Paul Stekler's latest project.
- The latest local filmmaker running a fundraising campaign for his film project is Paul Gordon, whose film The Happy Poet premiered at SXSW last year and has been making the festival rounds. Gordon is looking for pre-production research funding for Mexico Carpenter, a feature film he plans to shoot in Mexico later this year. Visit his page on the United States Artists website for more information and to chip in -- matching funds are available right now, and there are various thank-you gifts for different donation levels.
- I'm worried about what's happening to the old Varsity Theater mural on the side of what I always think of as the Tower Records building (since that's what it was when I started UT in 1991). The Austin Chronicle reports that the mural has been damaged and partially removed to make room for some national fast-food chains that will occupy the space, which The Drag certainly needs more of, right? The architect says they're not going to renovate the mural but will instead provide "a reasonable facsimile." If we were promised a reasonable facsimile of the Daniel Johnston frog on The Drag, people would have been outraged. This is at least as iconic if not more so.
Here's the latest Austin movie news.
- The Austin/Texas films at Los Angeles Film Festival are gathering plenty of attention and critical acclaim. The opening-night film on Thursday was Richard Linklater's latest feature, Bernie, starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, and based on a Texas Monthly article. Austin Movie Blog has a good roundup of reviews and responses, plus photos.
- Also at LAFF, former Austinite Steve Collins' film You Hurt My Feelings premiered over the weekend. The cast includes Collins regulars John Merriman, Courtney Davis and Macon Blair. IndieWIRE has an email interview with Collins about the movie. Check out Paul Sbrizzi's thoughtful review at Hammer to Nail.
- And last night, LAFF screened An Ordinary Family, from local filmmaker Mike Akel (Chalk), which has a local cast/crew including a brief appearance from Merriman. It's still early for reactions, but Moving Pictures Network has a review.
- Speaking of film fests, congrats to the filmmakers and crew of local film Sushi: The Global Catch, which won the Documentary Special Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival last week. The doc about the effects of sushi popularity on the environment was directed by Mark Hall, edited by Sandra Adair and Catie Cacci, and had a score composed by Brian Satterwhite. Looking forward to seeing it in Austin (and hoping it doesn't make me feel guilty about my sushi love).
Here's the latest Austin movie news -- a lot of which is interconnected in a way that reminds me the Austin film community can be a small world sometimes.
- Austin Film Festival is gearing up for its October conference and fest, and has just announced the 2011 Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking honoree: John Lasseter. This means that Lasseter, Disney/Pixar Chief Creative Officer, will be in Austin this fall to receive his award and possibly host an interesting screening of some sort. In case I hadn't mentioned it earlier, AFF is also honoring Caroline Thompson with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award and Hart Hanson with the Outstanding Television Writer Award.
- AFF is also hosting excellent screenings throughout the summer. On Sunday, June 26, AFF and Ballet Austin are co-sponsoring a screening of Robert Altman's The Company at Ballet Austin, and your ticket gets you into not only the movie but a free Ballet Fit class right after the movie. I like the idea of pairing movies and athletic endeavors. (Can you guys do something similar next with Boxing Gym or even The Fighter? Thank you.)
- One of the highlights of AFF 2010 for me was a script reading of Maggie Carey's The Hand Job, which was on The Black List of unproduced screenplays. Gordon and the Whale reports that inevitably, the script now has a new title: The To-Do List (which, if you've seen my photos from the reading, is quite apt). The article also has an update on casting for the production, which I hope means we'll get to see this movie sooner rather than later.
Here's the latest Austin film news, plus an Austin-shot short film at the end.
- Ain't It Cool News reports that Austin producer/TXMPA rep Paul Alvarado-Dykstra and local animator/actress Samantha Inoue-Harte have formed a new production company called Animetropolis. Their first project will be producing an animated feature adaptation of Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. Check out the AICN link above for some interesting concept art for the movie.
- The Boston Globe and Roger Ebert have both been publicizing the fact that many theaters are now projecting 2D movies using 3D lenses, making the movies look darker and murkier. On some digital projectors, the 3D lenses are very difficult to remove, so theaters don't bother. Now Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League has stepped in to talk about how the Drafthouse theaters, which use the Sony projectors under discussion, deal with the problem. I'm hoping that his article inspires other theaters to do the same things (because I'm cynical enough to believe that very few chains are doing the same things Alamo is doing, sadly).
- Local production company Arts + Labor is profiled in the Austin American-Statesman. You'll find a lot of familiar names in the article, from founder Alan Berg (Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW) to former Alamo programmer Brad Parrett (so that's where he is now!) to local filmmakers Kat Candler (who has been tweeting lately about some intriguing-sounding film projects) and Joe Nicolosi (the guy behind the SXSW 2011 bumpers).
Here's the latest Austin film-related news.
- Texas Monthly is teaming up with Alamo Drafthouse for this year's Rolling Roadshow tour, which will take place all around the Lone Star State. The magazine recently published an article in which a panel of five (including Tim League) picked the "ten greatest Texas films," which are the basis for this tour. I'd argue the films, but of course that's the point ... debate is fun. The tour starts on June 3 in Fort Parker with The Searchers, will hit Austin on June 5 with Blood Simple and ends on July 1 with The Last Picture Show in Archer. Did I mention admission is free for all these movies? And that I wish I could just cancel everything I had to do in June and follow the movies around the state?
- If you're looking for some off-the-beaten-path films to watch this weekend, Lunafest will take place in Austin this Sunday, May 22. Reel Women is hosting this year's collection of ten short films by/for women at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar from 11 am to 2 pm (perfect brunch hours); admission is $10 if you're not a Reel Women member, $8 if you are.
- The Austin American-Statesman reports that Barton Creek Square Cinema (the one in the mall) is upgrading one of its theaters to include an "IMAX screen" that will show 3D and 2D movies. Why did I put that in quotes? Because Barton Creek is an AMC theater and their "IMAX screens" are not true IMAX -- they're smaller screens that are often called mini-IMAX or IMAX-lite. The screen is still bigger than regular theater screens, AMC says the projection quality is superior, and of course ticket prices will be higher to see movies in that theater. Look for it around the end of summer movie season.
Here's a recap of last week's Austin film news, as well as some more recent news.
- Local filmmaker and Austin Film Society staffer Bryan Poyser (Lovers of Hate) has made a short film that will be available online later this week as part of the USA Network Character Project. The short film project is part of USA's new "Characters welcome" theme, the idea being that all eight shorts are character-based. Poyser's short is called The Fickle and stars Katie Aselton (The Freebie); it was shot earlier this year at Austin Studios.
- Do you like movie marathons? Really, really long movie marathons? If so, you may be spending a lot of time at Alamo Drafthouse this summer. On Sunday, May 29, Alamo Ritz is showing all five Planet of the Apes movies -- al in 35mm -- starting at 10 am.They also promise "ape-centric menu specials." In addition, Alamo is dropping hints on their Twitter feed of an upcoming marathon of all eight Harry Potter movies when the final film is released in mid-July. I think that would just about kill me, especially if I had to watch the last one in 3D.
- As part of the Slacker 2011 project I mentioned last week, Austin Film Society is looking for remakes of the final scene of the original movie. You can submit your version of the scene to AFS for consideration in the film -- deadline is May 30.
Here's the latest Austin film news, along with some special screenings and events.
- Last week, I wrote about the Austin films that will screen at Cannes, some of which have screened here already. Now you can see Kyle Henry and Carlos Trevino's short film Fourplay: Tampa here in Austin before it plays the Cannes Film Festival. aGLIFF and Austin Film Society are sponsoring a benefit screening to raise completion funds for the film. Catch Fourplay: Tampa on Saturday, April 30 at 1 pm at Alamo Ritz.
- Austin is also getting some representation at Ebertfest in Champaign, Illinois this weekend. Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater will be at Roger Ebert's film festival on Friday to screen his delightful 2009 movie Me and Orson Welles. In addition, Natural Selection, the Smithville-shot film that swept the SXSW Narrative Feature awards this year (Ebert was on the jury), will play the festival.
- If you're here in Austin this weekend, don't forget the Hill Country Film Festival, which takes place Thursday through Saturday at the Stagecoach Theater in Fredericksburg. Sounds like a great opportunity for a short road trip.
Here's the latest Austin movie news and a few upcoming special events:
- Violet Crown Cinema downtown is gearing up to open April 29. If you can't wait that long, Austin Film Society is holding a fundraiser preview at the new theater on Wednesday, April 27. AFS founder Richard Linklater has selected eight titles from the Criterion Collection to screen in the theaters that night; you can pick a single or double-feature ... and the ticket prices include garage parking downtown. I'm very tempted to slip down there for Paris, Texas myself. Look for my interview with VCC manager Elizabeth Skerrett next week.
- Speaking of Linklater, local actor/artist Wiley Wiggins will be drinking and live-tweeting during a broadcast of Dazed and Confused tonight at 6 pm on cable TV network Current. Read this A.V. Club interview with Wiggins for all the details.
- If you prefer your movies in a theater and Twitter-free, you can always head over to the AFS Screening Room for a special screening of The Whole Shootin' Match at 7:30 pm with Sonny Carl Davis in attendance.
- Since the Dobie Theater closed last year, Austin no longer has a Landmark-owned theater in town, but it's still interesting to hear that Mark Cuban is putting the theater chain up for sale, along with Magnolia Pictures. Also interesting and slightly related: One of Magnolia's co-founders was Bill Banowsky, owner of Violet Crown Cinema here in Austin.