Slackery News Tidbits
Here's the latest Austin film news.
- Austin-based graphic designer and filmmaker Yen Tan (featured on a February cover of the Austin Chronicle) has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Vilcek Foundation to fund the production of his third film Pit Stop. The movie tells the parallel stories of two gay men living in a small Texas town. Tan is scheduled to begin filming Pit Stop in Texas in May.
- Have you had difficulty finding seating next to your friends and were unable to discuss an actor's hunkiness? If so, moviegoers, fret no more. The Alamo Drafthouse has been conducting a new theater seating test at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, which will run through March 6, in hopes of finding the "perfect mix of awesomness." The reservation and seating system will be familiar to attendees of Fantastic Fest -- tickets have numbers on them (like Southwest Airline passes) and eliminate the need for lines. A similar system is also being planned at the new Alamo Slaughter.
- Austin 360 reports the Third Annual Hill Country Film Festival, which takes place April 26-29 in Fredericksburg, has announced its first three official selections. Actress Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) stars in the Texas-filmed comedy, Searching for Sonny, about reunited friends whose lives begin to parallel a play they performed in high school (Mike's AFF review); the stop-motion animated short film, The Maker; and the short documentary Randy Parsons: American Luthier, about a Seattle-based guitarmaker. The festival's complete lineup and schedule will be released March 26.
Here's the latest Austin film news, and a few upcoming events:
- The 27th Annual Independent Spirit Awards took place night. Although no new awards for Austin or Texas films were announced, last month, Austin-based documentarian Heather Courtney won the Truer Than Fiction Award for her film Where Soldiers Come From. In addition, Sophia Lin received the Piaget Producers Award for the film Take Shelter, written and directed by Austin-based filmmaker Jeff Nichols.
- The Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards has added one more honoree. Actress Angie Dickinson will accept the Star of Texas Award for the John Wayne film Rio Bravo at this year's ceremonies on March 8 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater.
- El Rey is no longer just the name of Austin-based director Robert Rodriguez's hero in Planet Terror. Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider will distribute networks owned by Rodriguez, among others. Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa have joined forces to create El Rey, an English-language general entertainment network aimed at Latino audiences. It is scheduled to launch by January 2014. (via Hollywood Reporter)
- Production company FilmNation announced the logline for Texas filmmaker Terence Malick's new film Lawless. The logline for describes the plot as following "two intersecting love triangles. It is a story of sexual obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas." Pre-production for the Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale and Natalie Portman flick took place during last year's Austin City Limits Music Festival. (via The Playlist)
Here's the latest Austin film news.
- Austin Film Festival presents its first Conversation in Film of 2012 with action writer Ric Roman Waugh on Tuesday night at the Harry Ransom Center. A wine reception featuring a film storyboard exhibit will precede the event. Then on Wednesday night, AFF is screening Waugh's 2008 film Felon, starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer, at the Texas Spirit Theater.
- Also on Wednesday night, Cinema 41 has just confirmed it will screen the 1989 Jim Jarmusch movie Mystery Train at 7 pm, Alamo Drafthouse at South Lamar.
- And speaking of Alamo, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema co-founder Tim League announced last week that he is planning on renovating the historic New Mission Theater in San Francisco as a new Drafthouse location.
- SXSW 2012 will feature eight SXEncore screenings of acclaimed films from previous SXSW festivals, such as Sean Byrne's The Loved Ones (Jenn Brown's review)and Aron Gaudet's The Way We Get By. In addition, locally shot documentary Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars (Debbie's review) returns to Austin as part of the encore screenings.
It's that time of year: SXSW news is flying around thick and fast. Even if you're just concentrating on the film conference and festival, it's hard to keep up. In addition, SXSW has announced some new titles and conference sessions today. Here's the new information and some other recent news, all in our handy-dandy news tidbit format.
- SXSW has just added 15 features and four shorts to this year's lineup. The features announced today include the world premiere of Todd Rohal's Nature Calls, Sundance selection Safety Not Guaranteed (the cast includes former Austinite Mark Duplass), the cameraphone-shot King Kelly, and Blue Like Jazz, about a Texas student who escapes to the Pacific Northwest. Oh yes, and a restored print of Yellow Submarine, which I might not be able to resist.
- SXSW also announced five new Film Conference panels today, including "A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane." Personally, I'm interested in a panel about restoring films at Universal, on Monday at the Paramount, which I hope means they'll show some restored footage.
- If you're more interested in the movies than the panels, and you're on a budget, be aware that SXSW Film Passes will go on sale starting tomorrow, Feb. 16. The passes cost $80 and are available to buy from Waterloo Records and three Alamo Drafthouse locations (Ritz, Lamar, Village). A limited number are sold so if you want one, don't wait. Look for our updated guide about getting the most out of SXSW with a film pass as we get closer to the festival.
Here's the latest Austin film news.
- Deadline New York reports that a sequel to the 2010 Robert Rodriguez exploitation film Machete is tentatively scheduled to begin production in April. Machete Kills will find Danny Trejo's title character working for the U.S. government. He is sent on a mission in Mexico to take down an insane drug cartel leader and an eccentric billionare, who have teamed up to create weapon of mass destruction in space. The Deadline article does not mention whether the film will be shot in Texas. (via Film School Rejects)
- Beginning Feb. 17, Austin Cinematheque will screen experimental films and rare documentaries in their original formats, if available. A selection of French filmmaker and academic Rose Lowder movies will kick off the free series, now screening in Studio 4D in the CMB building at The University of Texas.
- This week's Austin Chronicle cover story is about graphic designer and filmmaker Yen Tan, who plans to begin filming his next movie Pit Stop in May in Texas. Pit Stop was accepted into the 2009 Outfest Screenwriting Lab, a three-day mentor-led workshop in LA, and received a 2011 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund grant. The Malaysia native's movies Happy Birthday and Ciao have received accolades from the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival and Dallas International Film Festival, and screened at the Venice International Film Festival. Tan has collaborated with other Texas independent filmmakers such as Bryan Poyser (Lovers of Hate) and Heather Courtney (Where Soldiers Come From) to design and create posters for their movies -- you can see examples in the Chronicle feature.
Here's the latest Austin film news, with a great short film at the end.
- Production company Parts and Labor, founded by former Austinites Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, has signed an output and development deal with German-UK sales and production group K5. The agreement covers all current productions in development, such as Red Light Winter, set to star Kirsten Dunst, and The Womb. Parts and Labor produced the movie Beginners, for which Christopher Plummer has received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. (Before being known as Parts and Labor, Van Hoy and Knudsen also produced local films Gretchen and I'll Come Running.)
- The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, a Texas Film Commission production incentive, distributed $25 million in state funds to 177 film, television, commercial, and video game projects last year, such as Friday Night Lights and Predators, according to an Austin American-Statesman article. To qualify for incentives, production companies must submit documentation of spending and meet eligibility standards. The Texas Legislature approved $30 million to use toward the incentive program this year and next, down from $60 million in the previous session.
- The local hip-hop musical feature Camp Kickitoo won the Best Comedy award at the recent San Diego Black Film Festival. Shot in Central Texas and starring an Austin-area cast and crew, the movie centers around Alvin, a young man who takes a job as a summer camp counselor when he can't find a job. No word yet on when the movie will screen in Austin; you might keep an eye on the film's official website.
Here's the latest Austin film news:
- Austin is getting a new festival -- not a film fest but a television festival, something new and a bit different. The ATX Festival will take place June 1-3 this year. The fest organizers are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise start-up funds, and some of the giving levels will earn you discounted badges for the festival.
- One of my favorite films from Fantastic Fest 2010, Sound of Noise, is finally getting theatrical release in the U.S. soon thanks to Magnolia Pictures. The quirky movie about "musical terrorism" opens in limited release on March 9. No word yet about an Austin release date, but I hope they open it here at least a week later because, you know, SXSW. Read my review from Cinematical and you might understand why I'm excited and impatient.
- Sundance ended this weekend but I still want to point you to this enjoyable profile in The New York Times of Austin filmmakers Nathan and David Zellner as they brought their feature Kid-Thing to Park City. I find it funny that the Variety review says the feature should be "potentially broadening their loyal fanbase," but the IndieWIRE review says it's "too irreverent for any kind of mass market." The movie will play Berlin Film Festival next and I hope SXSW after that (fingers crossed).
- Local filmmaker Don Swaynos will also have a film at Berlin this year at the same time, although not at the same festival. His short Six Hundred and Forty-One Slates will premiere at the Berlin International Director's Lounge, which focuses on experimental film and media.
A few more film-and-alcoholic-beverage news items and upcoming events came to my attention after this month's Film on Tap feature, so I thought I'd share them:
- The Alamo Drafthouse announced last week that the grand opening date for "Alamo Slaughter," their newest theater located at Mopac and Slaughter Lane, will be Thursday, March 22. The eight-screen theater will feature an adjacent stand-alone cocktail lounge named 400 Rabbits, which along with their full selection of fine spirits will offer a plethora of tequila-centric drinks and Latin American-inspired food creations. Alamo Drafthouse is offering an advance taste of the menu with a special tequila-paired five-course dinner Saturday, February 4, at The Highball, that has already sold out. Stay tuned for other preview events.
- Alamo Drafthouse also announced last week that the fifth annual Off-Centered Film Fest will take place April 19-21, 2012. Co-hosted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, this annual event is a three-day festival for beer and film lovers. Submissions are being accepted for the short film competition, and the theme this year is "Western, Off-Centered." Rules and submissions instructions are available here, and the deadline is Monday, March 5. New to the fest this year is an audience award, with film submissions available for viewing and voting prior to the awards ceremony.
- The Paramount Theatre is hosting a Shaun of the Dead Pub Run + Screening on Tuesday, January 31, with a pub run at 6 pm and screening at 7:30 pm. The 1.1 mile jog from the Paramount to the Texas State Cemetery and back shouldn't be too tiring, but if you're dying of thirst Hops & Grain will be available at the pit and final stop. Proceeds benefit Team Spiridon and the Paramount Theatre. A $15 ticket will get you film admission, complimentary Hops & Grain beer, a limited edition Austin Marathon messenger bag, small popcorn -- plus a BLOOD SWEAT BEERS specialty t-shirt for the first 50 people to arrive. Register online here.
The week has barely started and already we have some great Austin film news to share.
- Congratulations this morning to Austin filmmaker Heather Courtney. Her documentary Where Soldiers Come From, which premiered at SXSW 2011 (my review), won the Truer Than Fiction award at the Film Independent grant award and nominees brunch on Saturday. Courtney gets a $25,000 grant as part of the award. Take Shelter, directed by Austinite Jeff Nichols, was also honored on Saturday -- producer Sophia Lin won the Piaget Producers Award. Local post-production Stuck On On must be pleased ... they worked on both these movies.
- The Austin-shot feature Holy Hell, which Jenn reviewed at Austin Film Festival in 2009, is finally available for you to watch, but not in one of the traditional ways. Austinist reports that the movie has been edited and repackaged into episodic chapters that you can watch on an iPad. The first 15-minute "chapter" is free, then you pay a dollar for each subsequent chapter. I don't have an iPad, but if any of you do and can try this out, let us know how the experience works for you.
- I can't believe I didn't mention this earlier, but the funniest movie I saw at Fantastic Fest last year now has U.S. distribution. Juan of the Dead (aka Juan de los Muertos), the Cuban zombie flick, will be released via video-on-demand/online streaming by Focus Worldwide, the VOD arm of Focus Features. This isn't theatrical distribution, but it means we'll at least be able to watch the movie again. The release date hasn't yet been announced. While we wait, read Rod's review.
Here's the latest Austin film news:
- IndieWIRE has kicked off its interview series "Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers" with a pair of Austin filmmakers you might already know: Nathan and David Zellner. The interview has some interesting tidbits about their feature film Kid-Thing, which will premiere at the fest later this month.
- Local filmmaker/instructor Geoff Marslett's animated movie Mars, which played SXSW in 2010, is now available on Netflix Watch Instantly. Read Jenn's review and her interview with Marslett about the film. Reactions to the movie, now that it's more widely available, inspired a thoughtful blog entry about indie films from Hipstercrite, aka Lauren Modery, Marslett's writing (Loves Her Gun) and romantic partner.
- SXSW Film Festival is trying a new method for selecting its encore screenings this year: input from you. This Tugg page has a list of past SXSW award winners that the fest may show again this year; you can select one or more and no, you don't have to register to vote or anything annoying like that. Selections include Thunder Soul, Incendiary: The Willingham Case and Marwencol (and now you know how I voted).
- Two other local film festivals are ready for you to send them your movies for consideration in their lineup. Fantastic Fest is now accepting film entries for the 2012 festival, which takes place September 20-27 this year. Austin Film Festival is open for submissions for films as well as screenplays for their fest, running October 18-25.