Slackery News Tidbits
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.
Here's the latest Austin movie news:
- Local movie Five Time Champion was a big winner at the Dallas International Film Festival last weekend, taking home the Texas Filmmaker Award ($20K in cash/goods/services). Read Don's review of the movie from SXSW and you may understand why. In addition, now-Austin filmmaker Clay Liford won a special jury prize for Wuss, the Dallas-shot film that premiered at SXSW last month (my review). For more about Austin movies at Dallas IFF, don't forget to read Peter Martin's column from yesterday.
- Austin Film Festival has teamed up with KLRU-TV for a dozen episodes of a new series called On Story: Presented by Austin Film Festival. Each episode will include a short film by a Texas filmmaker that has screened at AFF, plus clips of panels, interviews, etc. from past fests. You can watch the show on Saturday nights at 7:30 on KLRU-Q, and the shows will be available online on klru.org. The opening show on Saturday will include the short Frente Noreste as well as footage of Lawrence Kasdan, Shane Black and Randall Wallace.
- Cannes will have some Central Texas representation this year. Katrina's Son, the short feature from UT alum Ya'Ke Smith, is included in the Short Film Corner (Court Metrage) at Cannes. You may remember that Katrina's Son screened at Austin Film Festival, where it won the Narrative Short Jury Award. Visit the short film's website for more info and a trailer.
- Austin Movies in the Park has cranked back up again for free screenings in Republic Square Park this month and next. Another series, Eastside Movies in the Park, will run through August at Fiesta Gardens. Austin Movie Blog has the details.
Here's the latest Austin film-related news.
- Austin Film Festival has announced that its 2011 Distinguished Screenwriter Award will go to Caroline Thompson, perhaps best known for writing Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. She will be attending AFF this year, which is scheduled from Oct. 20-27.
- Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World has qualified for $1.2 million in film incentives ... in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that Robert Rodriguez's Austin-shot movie will move its post-production from Troublemaker Studios to a Michigan facility for post-production work, including the conversion to 3D.
- The Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund is now accepting applications for 2011. Filmmakers have until June 1. If you are interested in TFPF grants, Austin Film Society has set up several workshops around the state, starting tonight in San Antonio.
Here's the latest Austin film-related news:
- IndieWIRE's The Playlist reports that Saturday Night Live actor Bill Hader is working on a movie called Henchman, in which he'll star. The Henchman script was originally drafted by Austin writers Chris Mass (Chalk) and Owen Egerton, as well as UT grad Russell Leigh Sharman. You may remember Hader was here last October for Austin Film Festival, where he participated in a staged reading of The Hand Job, a script written by his wife, Maggie Carey. (via Joe M. O'Connell and this blog)
- Cine Las Americas is looking for volunteers for this year's festival, which takes place April 21-28 here in Austin. They're holding a volunteer sign-up meeting this Thursday, March 31, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Mexican American Cultural Center. They've also posted a list of festival volunteer opportunities and a form for you to fill out if you're interested.
- Next week, UT grad student Robert Lemon's short film ¿Tacos or Tacos? will have its world theatrical premiere at the Sonoma International Film Festival. The short documentary compares Austin's fancy new food trailers with traditional taco trucks. I hope we'll see the film in Austin soon. In the meantime, this SFWeekly article has the trailer and details about Lemon and his movie.
Roger Ebert has said that it is unprofessional for film critics to have their photos taken with celebrities. I've decided this means "human celebrities" and not Muppets, so I caved in and posed with Elmo (and Kevin Clash) after the first SXSW screening of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey. See the movie if you like Muppets, it's very nice. (And if you miss it at SXSW, it's just been announced that Being Elmo is the opening-night film at next month's Dallas International Film Festival.)
Anyway, here are some of my observations from the fest so far, as well as bits of news.
- SXSW has now become a fest where distribution deals are made. So far, several deals have been announced: Conan O'Brien Can't Stop in a multi-platform release deal involving AT&T; food doc A Matter of Taste to HBO; and Kill List (from the Down Terrace director) to IFC Midnighters. No word yet on any Austin films, but we'll keep you posted.
- Parking in pay garages was no problem for me on the weekend, but I heard yesterday that once afternoon started, it was challenging even to find a pay lot or garage that wasn't full. (I was at Alamo Lamar on Monday and can't say for myself.) Anyone have any info on this? I'm heading down there early today and hope that won't be an issue.
- I caught Wuss at Westgate on Sunday, and enjoyed it very much. Westgate is a nice SXSW venue if you have a car. Plenty of parking, and the theater is quite spacious, with comfy stadium seating. The projection and sound quality were both good.
Here's the latest Austin movie-related news for your enjoyment.
- The Texas Film Hall of Fame has announced even more special guests and award nominees for the March 10 event. John Hawkes, nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in Winter's Bone, will receive the Rising Star Award. The Austin band Spoon will receive the Soundtrack Award, presented to them by local filmmaker Jeff Nichols. And journalist Liz Smith will be presenting Renee Zellweger with her award. I suspect we haven't heard the last talent announcement from them yet, so stay tuned.
- Over at YNN (formerly known as News 8 Austin), Victor Diaz profiles the Austin-shot film Lovers of Hate (my review) and its filmmakers, who are preparing for the upcoming Independent Spirit Award ceremony. The movie is up for the John Cassavetes Award, for indie films with a budget of less than $500K.
- Last year, Austin filmmaker Bob Ray took a road trip around the country to show his documentaries Hell on Wheels (my review) and Total Badass. Now he's decided that the U.S. is not enough. He's got a Kickstarter campaign going to fund a tour of Europe with the pair of documentaries. And as part of that campaign, he created a pretty damn funny video you don't want to miss. (The pledge incentives are amusing too ... not just stickers or DVDs but Indian leg wrestling and one of Bob's spare USB cables.) (And I just realized the Cinematical quote from the Hell on Wheels trailer is mine. Cool!)
It's been a very busy, newsworthy week for Austin film. Here are a few of the highlights:
- My favorite news of the week: Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson is going into the moviemaking business himself. Carlson and Brian Connolly, who co-wrote the book Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punk Film, have also worked on a feature film script called Destroy, about vampire hunters in a world where vampires don't exist. The movie will be directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, who brought us Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2 fandom that was partially shot in Austin and has screened here many times. Can't wait to see the finished film.
- The Texas Film Hall of Fame has announced their first 2011 award recipients: Rip Torn (a UT Austin alum) and Renee Zellweger (from Katy). The Star of Texas ensemble award will go to the TV show Friday Night Lights. And this year's emcee will be Wyatt Cenac. You may know Cenac from The Daily Show (or the amazing SXSW 2008 film Medicine for Melancholy), but he also has Texas ties: he's from Dallas and used to write for King of the Hill. Other special guests include Catherine Hardwicke, Luke Wilson, Richard Linklater and previous emcee Thomas Haden Church. Yes, of course we will be there with cameras.
- SXSW Film Festival posted its 2011 conference and film schedules this week. So start planning now. The fest also announced some key panelists for the Film Conference, including Paul Reubens, Ellen Page, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rainn Wilson, and filmmakers Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and Todd Phillips (The Hangover).
- More from SXSW Film: Two videos are available to help you with your festgoing choices. About SXSW: 2011 SXSW Film Access explains the differences between badge, pass and ticket and offers advice on all options. It looks like the SXXpress tickets for badgeholders will be available again this year, if that's your cup of tea (I never seem to be able to make it to the box office at the right time for them myself). The second video, About SXSW: SXSW 2011 Film Venues and Shuttle Buses, is an excellent guide to getting around the fest. The video makes it sound like the shuttle will run every day of the film festival, which if true is wonderful news. The shuttle will also include Rollins this year (a new venue for SXSW that is part of the Long Center), but not Westgate or Arbor, which are essentially "satellite venues" meant to draw Austin filmgoers. Keep an eye out for our own Venue Guide in the next couple of weeks, which includes theater seat counts, bus routes and nearby dining options.