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Getting Organized for Local Film Fests with B-Side

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Fantastic Fest 2007

The next three film festivals in Austin -- aGLIFF, Fantastic Fest and Austin Film Festival -- all use B-Side's web application for their scheduling. If you're attending any of these festivals, you'll want to take full advantage of the B-Side Festival Guide to build a schedule, rate a film, and see what other people are watching and rating.

Just one account will work to build schedules for all festivals that utlilize B-Side, and there are many, all around the country. The B-Side scheduler includes lots of nifty features, from creating personal schedules to running the Festival Genius, which can help optimize your schedule. 

The B-Side application is integrated into each festival's website; you can access it directly from the festival site, see when and where each film is playing, and add the films to your calendar. Each film has a page with a synopsis, date(s), venue(s), photos, trailers, category, notes about whether anyone involved in the film will attend, and statistics.

Pitch or Help Choose SXSW 2010 Film Panels

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Vote for my PanelPicker Idea!

If you haven't yet heard our most recent podcast, then you may have missed something new for South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals for 2010. The SXSW PanelPicker which has been a staple of SXSW Interactive since 2007, is now available for the Film conference as well. Don't know what I'm talking about? Here's what you need to know:

You can help decide what panels are offered at the SXSW Film Conference by either submitting a panel idea or voting as a member of the community. Panel submission process was closed last month but has re-opened this week. Want to submit a film-related panel idea or vote on all submitted ideas? You will first need to register for a free account.

To vote, all you have to do is visit the SXSW PanelPicker site and click either the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" button. You can skip voting for any panels on which you don't have an opinion. For more details on how the community voting process works, check out the cool PanelPicker How-To video guide courtesy of Trigger Studios.

Slackery News Tidbits: The Musical

Danny Trejo, by Dana Gonzales on FlickrAustin film-related news does seem to have a definite musical theme going this week. Or maybe I'm just stretching the point to justify the above title? I do have a whole lot of movie news today, some of which has nothing to do whatsoever with music, but you can always sing while you're reading or play some nice show tunes in the background.

  • A small paragraph in the Arts: Casting Call section of the Austin Chronicle provides us with the news that Salvage Vanguard Theater and Doctuh Mistuh Productions are planning to stage Evil Dead: The Musical in Austin in the near future. They're still holding auditions this week, so contact Elle Mahoney at stylelle [at] gmail [dot] com for details. I'm looking forward to seeing this very curious theatrical production when it opens: Ash! He sings, he dances, he uses a chainsaw!
  • The celebrity-spotting related to Machete shooting in Austin has already started. Several people, including our own Jenn Brown, spotted Danny Trejo (pictured at right) catching a movie at Alamo Ritz over the weekend. In addition, Austin Metblogs' Tim Trentham got a peek at Tom Savini while at the Paramount watching Forbidden Planet. Obviously if you want to see the coolest cast and crew from Robert Rodriguez's production, you should go to the movies. (I know my audience: I bet most of you would rather see Savini than Lindsay Lohan.)

Review: Jenn & Jette on 'Julie & Julia'

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Julie and Julia

Julie & Julia has one connection to Austin, which isn't mentioned at all in the movie: the real-life Julie Powell grew up here, leaving for the Frozen Yankee Tundra when she went to college. In the movie, when we hear Julie's mom on the phone, as voiced by Mary Kay Place, the strong Texas accent sounds more Dallas than Austin, but that's Hollywood for you.

The movie, directed by Nora Ephron, is a blend of two stories about cooking: Julie Powell's book Julie and Julia about her attempts to cook her way through a Julia Child cookbook, which she tracked on a blog; and My Life in Paris, about Julia Child's learning to cook, teach cooking, and eventually co-author her first cookbook.

Fittingly, Jette and Jenn saw Julie & Julia and have some opinions to share. Let's start with Jenn:

If you are on a diet, don't go see Julie & Julia. Seriously. You will gain five pounds before the closing credits, and have an irresistible urge for beurre blanc (that's a white wine/butter sauce, for the culinarily challenged). Even at a run time over two hours, with some scenes desperate for a trim, it's destined to take its place next to Under the Tuscan Sun as a film that makes gourmet retailers very, very happy.

Mistress of Slackery News Tidbits

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Elvira Alamo DraftHouse 7/29/09 by PhotographLayne on FlickrLet's start Monday morning with various news items you might have missed lately:

  • Congratulations to the documentary Winnebago Man, which just won the Founders Awards at Traverse City Film Festival. One of the film's producers is Austin's Joel Heller (I got this news from his Facebook feed). Local filmmaker Bob Byington (Harmony and Me) also took home an award from Michael Moore's film fest, but I don't have details yet (I got that news off Twitter; thanks Karina!).
  • Yet another reason not to leave town: MovieMaker magazine's 2009 list of "25 Coolest Film Festivals" includes Fantastic Fest and South by Southwest.
  • If you missed the Elvira screening at Alamo Ritz last week, PhotographLayne on Flickr has a set of photos of the actress from the event, including the one pictured at right.

Slackery News Tidbits of the Undead

Emily Hagins and her wonderfully helpful Mom, Megan Hagins by Ian on FlickrIt's not a big week for Austin film news -- most of the movie news this week is coming out of Comic-Con in San Diego. Mike Judge will be there, showing clips from his upcoming movie Extract, and Robert Rodriguez will show footage from his family-friendly film Shorts, which has an Austin premiere in August. In addition, the documentary Zombie Girl, about how horror filmmaker Emily Hagins shot her first feature at age 12, will screen at Comic-Con, with Emily and her mom Megan (shown at right) in attendance.

But I do have a few tidbits to share:

  • Alamo Drafthouse has a new blog to track progress on The Highball, the new games/entertainment spot they're planning to open in time for Fantastic Fest this year. One of the bloggers is Afsheen, who gave us such wonderful photos and stories about the renovation and reopening of Alamo Ritz.
  • Austin Movie Blog sifted through Filmmaker Magazine's list of "25 New Faces of Independent Film" and found a local connection: animator Geoff Marslett.
  • If you didn't read Marc Savlov's article on Austin microcinema in last week's Austin Chronicle, you may be missing info about some of the best "small" film series/fests in town.

Triple-Digit Slackery News Tidbits

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Funniest Filmmaker in AustinIt's too hot for film news, isn't it? It's too hot for just about anything except sitting in the air conditioning and watching movies. And yet, some of you have the energy to make movies in this weather, which brings us to some of this week's local movie news:

  • Austin Film Festival is co-sponsoring the Funniest Filmmaker in Austin series for the fourth year. Send them your short film (under 5 minutes) by August 10, and all films will be screened the following week. The winning film will be screened at AFF this year, and the winner also receives two AFF producers badges for the 2009 fest. There's no entrance fee, so why not take a chance?
  • Another great chance: SXSW is still accepting panel submissions for the 2010 Film, Interactive, and Music conferences until 11:59 pm tomorrow night.
  • BookPeople is hosting a book signing next Wednesday, July 15 at 7 pm for stuntman Gary Kent's book Shadows & Light: Journeys With Outlaws in Revolutionary Hollywood. As if that's not cool enough, special guests that evening include "entrepreneur/philanthropist/stuntman Rex Cumming (Walker, Texas Ranger); actor/stuntman Bob Ivy (Bubba Ho-Tep, Phantasm); writer/director Don Jones (Lethal Pursuit, The Forest); producer/author Michael MacFarland (The Pyramid, The Ultimate Joy); and iconic director/actor/stunt legend Chuck Bail (The Stuntman, Freebie and The Bean, Beastmaster)." (Thanks to Lars for the heads-up.)

Another View of Slackerwood

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Slackerwood, by John Gholson

So not only do I have this cool new illustration to show you this morning, I have a good story about where it came from. John Gholson is a local film geek who wanted to raise some funds so he could go to Fantastic Fest this year. So he came up with a fun way to earn the money: a blog called Taking Requests, where you can pay him $5 to draw anything (within reason) and he posts the requests and resulting illustrations on his site.

I heard about this on Friday and thought, "Ooh, I wonder if he could draw the Slackerwood photo." The photo at the top of this page doesn't quite measure up to the way I wanted it to look in my head. And, you know ... five bucks? You can't beat that. Sure enough, the resulting art is a lot closer to the way I've always envisioned the Slackerwood theme. Thank you, John!

Tim League also heard about John's fundraising project, and not only requested a drawing of his own, but posted the info to the Fantastic Fest blog. Naturally, this increased the requests John's received. He's drawn some cool and bizarre things: a zombie for Megan Hagins, who produced her daughter Emily's zombie film Pathogen; a Patrick Swayze centaur for Austinist film writer Steph Beasley; and my favorite so far, a sketch of H.I. McDunnough from Raising Arizona.

Go check out the Taking Requests site, see John's latest illustrations, and maybe spend $5 on something wild and crazy all your own.

Are You Following Austin Film Twitterers?

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Austin Film on TwitterLast year, I compiled a list of Austin film-related organizations and film geeks who had Twitter accounts, which turned out to be very popular. I realized last week that the old list is out of date; many new people and groups have started using Twitter to share news and chat. A lot of those tweets are about Austin film.

As a result, I've created a page on Slackerwood to keep track of all the Austin film-related Twitter accounts, whether they're individuals who talk about lots of other things too, or news feeds. Check it out. You'll find a permanent link to the page in the left sidebar. If you think of someone I've missed, just let me know and I'll update the page.

Austin Filmmaker in Netflix ‘Find Your Voice’ Competition

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Natural SelectionAn Austin-based filmmaker has made it to the semifinals of the Netflix Find Your Voice film competition sponsored by Netflix and Film Independent.

Robbie Pickering is eligible to win $350,000 to make his feature film Natural Selection. If he wins, Pickering is hoping to shoot the movie in Texas. The premise is that a barren housewife discovers her husband has been making deposits at a sperm bank for nearly 25 years. If that doesn't sound like an Austin sort of weird, I don't know what would.

For more information about Pickering and the competition, and to watch a clip from his film, go to the Netflix Find Your Voice website. You can vote for him there.

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