Slackery News Tidbits

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Slackery News Tidbits, July 16

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Here's the latest in Austin film news.

  • Austin Film Society recently received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The nonprofit organization is one of 80 "Our Town" grantees in the nation. The grant will fund community engagement and design for Austin Studios' expansion as the organization incorporates and remodels the neighboring decommissioned National Guard Building into its current site.

    AFS will involve the community in the new Austin Studios design, which includes creating affordable space for production and education; programming and design of a new exhibition and visitors center with a plaza/lobby for events; screening rooms for AFS's exhibition programs, artists, festivals and community organizations; and plans for signage, landscaping and other infrastructure that will allow the public to observe and interact with working filmmakers and other artists. The expansion will fulfill four major needs identified by the 2008 CreateAustin Cultural Master Plan commissioned by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division.
  • Two Texas-connected films are nominated for the 2012 News and Documentary Emmy Awards after being broadcast on the PBS show POV. Per PR Newswire, the nominees include Better This World (Don's review), about two childhood friends from Midland who were arrested on terrorism charges at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and Where Soldiers Come From (Jette's review), Austin documentarian Heather Courtney's film about the lives of small-town childhood friends who enlist in the U.S. National Guard after graduating high school. The 33rd annual awards ceremony will take place Oct. 1.
  • Former Austinite and film editor Jacob Vaughan will be directing the horror comedy Milo, Hollywood Reporter has announced. Jay and Mark Duplass are executive producers on the movie, which centers on a man (Ken Marino) who, after experiencing intense stomach pains, discovers to his horror that he has a demon living in his intestines. Vaughan previously worked with the Duplass brothers as an editor on Jeff, Who Lives at Home. His previous feature filmmaking experience includes collaborations with Bryan Poyser on the locally shot features Dear Pillow and The Cassidy Kids, and he worked as an editor on Bob Byington's film Harmony and Me.
  • Boneboys, filmed in Austin and Taylor, debuts at Montreal's Fantasia Fest Aug. 4, according to Joe M. O'Connell's blog. Writer/producer Kim Henkel, who co-wrote the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, teamed up with two former Texas A&M University- Kingsville students, co-directors Duane Graves and Justin Meeks, on the low-budget horror comedy about a family of cannibals.

Slackery News Tidbits, July 11

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • The Harry Ransom Center continues its free Biblical Film Series on Thursday at 7 pm with Cecil B. Demille's Samson and Delilah. The film, starring Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature, tells the story of Samson, the strongest man in his tribe. After his fiance is murdered, he is seduced by her sister Delilah, who learns the secret of his strength and betrays him to the Philistines. The series relates to the center's exhibition "The King James Bible: Its History and Influence," which ends July 29. The final movie in the series, Solomon and Sheba, will screen July 26.
  • Central Texas-shot feature Bernie (Don's review) has earned more than $7 million, making the dark comedy the highest grossing film for distributor Millennium Entertainment, Indiewire reported. Richard Linklater's film is expected to surpass his 1993 cult hit Dazed and Confused in the next few weeks. Bernie, made with a reported budget of $6 million, is expected to become the Austin director's highest-grossing independently released film.
  • Indiewire's Criticwire recently announced the best indie movies of 2012. Local director Bob Byington's movie Somebody Up There Likes Me, which premiered at SXSW, was picked as one of the top English-language features of the year (Don's review). Runners-up include the Mark Duplass-starring dramedy Your Sister's Sister (Mike's review) and Bernie.

Slackery News Tidbits, July 2

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • Thanks in part to actress Jessica Alba's Twitter feed, the film website Collider has shared some set photos from Austin-based director Robert Rodriguez's latest movie Machete Kills, currently filming in the Austin area. The sequel to the 2010 action flick, Machete, about an ex-Federale hellbent on revenge, stars Austin native Amber Heard, Edward James Olmos, Mel Gibson and, as reported by Rodriguez himself on Twitter, Charlie Sheen as the U.S. President. Danny Trejo and Alba will reprise their roles.
  • Renaissance man Ron Deutsch announced that he will teach his 14th Chef du Cinema class from 6:30-9:30 pm Saturday, August 18. Students will learn to prepare a four-course menu inspired by the Oscar-winning film, Chinatown. The neo-noir will be screened -- and food will be eaten- -- after the demonstration, which includes orange-ginger Chinese broccoli and shrimp and watercress steamed wontons with orange soy dipping sauce. 
  • Want your voice heard at SXSW 2013? Now is your chance to submit SXSW Interactive, Music, Film and Education session ideas via the fest's PanelPicker. Through July 20, participants may complete the two-step online process for a chance to have their idea considered and voted in by the SXSW community.

Slackery News Tidbits, June 25

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • Austin was well represented in the awards at the Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival in Silver Springs, Maryland this week. The Sterling Award for best U.S. feature doc went to Only the Young, a film about teenagers in an economically troubled California suburb, co-directed by Jason Tippet and Austin native Elizabeth Mims. (Her dad, Steve Mims, clued us in on the award.) The film Ann Richards' Texas won the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award -- we don't have to tell you how that one ties into Austin, although filmmakers Jack Lofton and Keith Patterson are from Houston. And last night, the Silverdocs Audience Awards were announced, one of which went to Andrew Garrison's documentary Trash Dance, about a unique Austin event involving the Department of Solid Waste Services (SXSW interview, Mike's review).
  • Calling all activist filmmakers: The submission deadline for the Fourth Annual Lights. Camera. Help Nonprofit Film Festival is June 30. PSAs, short and feature-length films that support or raise awareness about a cause may be entered to screen at the festival September 12-14. Lights. Camera. Help is expected to donate $5,000 to the causes represented in the winning movies.
  • Speaking of Lights. Camera. Help, the fest recently announced that Austin-based filmmaker/actor/musician/writer Turk Pipkin will be this year's keynote speaker. Pipkin will discuss the nonprofit organization The Nobelity Project, which he co-founded with his wife Christy. The Nobelity Project's new short film, Let There Be Sight, will premiere during the festival. Let There Be Sight tells the story of the nonprofit's partnership with the Seva Foundation, an international health organization focused on the prevention of blindness and Native American health. An audience Q&A with Pipkin will follow the address.

Slackery News Tidbits, June 13

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Here's the latest in Austin film news.

  • Austin-based filmmaker Ericka Marsalis-LaManna's first feature-length film Generation Me has received invitations to screen in the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival and the San Antonio Film Festival, The Austin Chronicle reports. The comedy, about the dangers associated with forging relationships through Facebook and text messaging, stars local actresses Jamie Teer, Amber Prowl and Melanie Rene. The filmmakers are currently looking for festival sponsors for the movie, which is available on DVD.

Slackery News Tidbits, June 6

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • A new local documentary about rollerderby will premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival later this month. Leave It on the Track, about two competing TXRD teams, is directed by Benjamin Pascoe and produced by filmmaker/Austin Film Society instructor/derby team manager Jonny Stranger. Check out the trailer at the end of this article, and read Elizabeth's interview with Stranger about his Slacker 2011 segment.
  • Houston-based filmmakers Keith Patterson's and Jack Lofton's documentary Ann Richards' Texas, about the life of the former Texas governor, will have its world premiere June 21 at the AFI Silverdocs festival in Washington, D.C. The movie includes interviews with Bill Clinton, Dolly Parton and Dan Rather.
  • The award-winning indie film Strings can now be purchased or rented exclusively on iTunes through a digital distribution deal with The Orchard, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The Austin-shot thriller, which screened at Austin Film Festival in 2011, was written/co-directed by recent UT alums Mark Dennis and producer/co-director Ben Foster. Strings is scheduled to expand its distribution platform to other online straming options over the next six months. Read Slackerwood's AFF interview with Foster for details about the movie.
  • The Intergalactic Nemesis unveils its latest episode, Book Two: Robot Planet Rising, at the Long Center this Friday, June 8. Tickets are still available, and you can get a $5 discount if you enter the code "Alphatron" when you buy them online. The first episode of the "live action comic book" was performed at Fantastic Fest 2010, and Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter helped perform an excerpt on Conan earlier this year.

Slackery News Tidbits, May 28

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • The Austin American-Statesman's Charles Ealy reported from Cannes about this weekend's premiere of Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols' feature Mud. Austin-based actor Matthew McConaughey stars with Reese Witherspoon and Michael Shannon in this story of an unlikely friendship between a fugitive and a 14-year-old boy who helps him escape off an island in Mississippi to reunite with the woman he loves. Ealy also chatted briefly with Nichols after the screening.
  • More on McConaughey -- IndieWire reported that he'll portray John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels' (Precious) new film, The Butler. The movie, based on a Washington Post article, is about the late White House butler Eugene Allen. Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker will star as Allen, who served eight presidents during his tenure from 1952-1986. Production is scheduled to begin July 16.
  • Local filmmaker Richard Linklater will keep viewers Up to Speed on relatively unknown American monuments, such as the shoe garden in San Francisco, according to Austin Movie Blog. Linklater's original travel series, starring historian Timothy "Speed" Levitch, is scheduled to premiere on Hulu and Hulu Plus in August.
  • Austin Film Society continues its Best of the Fests series with a screening of San Antonio filmmaker Ya'Ke Smith's feature film Wolf (Mike's review), about a family trying to come to terms with the abuse their pastor has inflicted on their teenage son, at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 6 at Alamo Drafthouse Village. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund. Watch the trailer at IndieWire, and read Slackerwood's SXSW interview with Smith.

Slackery News Tidbits, May 23

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Here's the latest Austin film news.

  • Terrence Malick's new film, starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, has changed names, according to Joe M. O'Connell's blog. Formerly The Burial, the Bartlesville, Oklahoma-shot film about a love triangle is now called To the Wonder. The movie is still seeking U.S. distribution.
  • Robert Rodriguez's movies have been in the news a lot lately. The Machete Kills production is looking for extras for next month's shoot. Distribution rights for the Machete sequel in other countries have been selling well at Cannes. And you can see the first teaser posters for Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For over at Movies.com.
  • Austin-based writer/director Bob Byington's latest comedy Somebody Up There Likes Me (Don's review) will kick off the Cinema East summer film series on June 10, according to The Austin Chronicle. Byington's follow-up to his 2009 film Harmony and Me stars Keith Poulson and Nick Offerman as best friends who are aided through life by a magic suitcase (read Jette's interview with Byington and Offerman). Expect more SXSW 2012 favorites from the Cinema East film series, which will run every other Sunday until Aug. 19. Cinema East is holding its launch party for the series on Thursday, May 31 at 9 pm at Cheer Up Charlie's.

Slackery News Tidbits, May 16

in

Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in has a new home this summer: Austin Studios, home of Austin Film Society. AFS will work with Blue Starlite on the programming as well. Slackerwood is especially proud because after Elizabeth interviewed Josh Frank about the future of the Blue Starlite, Josh asked her if she could put him in touch with someone from AFS ... and that's how the collaboration started. (via Austin Chronicle)
  • The dark comedy Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey, will be released in theaters by LD Entertainment on July 27 with an NC-17 rating, according to Deadline. The William Friedkin-directed movie, based on the play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner Tracy Letts, is about a tough but quiet killer in Texas who befriends a young man (Emile Hirsch) who wishes his mother to be murdered. It screened at SXSW this year.
  • Speaking of Matthew McConaughey, he's in two movies that will screen at Cannes this month: The Paperboy, about a reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate; and Mud, Jeff Nichols' story of an unlikely friendship between a fugitive and a 14-year-old boy who helps him escape off an island in Mississippi to reunite with the woman he loves. Watch clips from the Nichols-directed film at IndieWire.
  • MovieMaker reported that assistant UT RTF professor Andrew Shea's first documentary Portrait of Wally opened May 11 at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan. The documentary explores the history of Egon Schiele's 1912 oil painting of his mistress that was purchased by Jewish art collector Lea Bondi before WWII and was later stolen by a Nazi art dealer.

Slackery News Tidbits, May 7

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Here's the latest Austin film news.

  • Former AFS Artistic Services Director Bryan Poyser's latest feature film The Bounceback began filming in Austin on April 29, according to Joe M. O'Connell's blog. Austin-based cinematographer P.J. Raval and producer Megan Gilbride round out the crew. Little is known about the romantic comedy, set to star Sara Paxton (The Last House on the Left). However, Poyser told Austin Movie Blog that the movie is about the "unique facets" of Austin.
  • Congratulations to Twitchy Dolphin Flix  -- the Austin-based production company's film Turkey Day won the Audience Choice Award and cofounder/writer/director James Christopher won a silver division screenwriting competition award for his script Soldier Dog: Letters From Wolfie, at the Bare Bones International Film Festival. Christopher was covering Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas for Slackerwood last weekend; look for his dispatches soon.
  • But wait, there's more: On May 10 at J. Black's, Twitchy Dolphin Flix will host Twitchy-Palooza 2012, a live concert that will feature musicians whose music has been used in the company's films. Twitchy-Palooza coincides with the DVD release party for the company's film Look At Me Again, which won Best Drama at the 2011 Bare Bones festival, among other awards. The production company will also begin filming the new feature References.
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