Austin Film Society
Austin Film Society (AFS) members who are filmmakers have the opportunity to submit their short films to screen during the SXSW Film Festival as part of ShortCase, this year's AFS Community Screening. ShortCase is a 70- to 90-minute special screening of locally connected short films.
To submit, you must be a current AFS Make-level member (or above) and either a producer, director or writer of the piece submitted -- one of the people most creatively responsible for the work. If you are not currently an AFS member at the Make level, you can join or upgrade here.
This will be my third year curating the ShortCase film series. This year's jury includes AFS Film Programmer Lars Nilsen and local AFS filmmaker Clay Liford, who produced the Sundance award-winning short Rat Pack Rat, which also screens in the SXSW regular programming.
We remind AFS filmmakers to take advantage of the wealth of member resources provided through AFS Artists Services, including the AFS Grant and Moviemaker Dialogues.
Highlights for this year's AFS ShortCase submission process:
- Submit films using online screeners with private or password-protected links (either via Vimeo, Youtube or any other streaming service). If you set an expiration date for viewing, it should be available until at least March 15, 2014.
- Your submission form must be submitted by Monday, February 17, at 6 pm CST -- be advised this is not a "postmark-by" date.
- Short films must be no longer than 20 minutes, so we can open up the screening to more AFS filmmakers.
- Entries are limited to one submission per membership, so send your best work -- no works-in-progress.
This week marks the beginning of a film event that will no doubt turn out to be of lasting importance to many Austin movie lovers and the local film scene in general. The city's own Richard Linklater (if you're reading Slackerwood he needs no introduction) will begin presenting a series of films from the early 80s that, for various reasons, impacted him both as an appreciator and creator of independent cinema.
"Jewels in the Wasteland: A Trip Through '80s Cinema with Richard Linklater" begins Wednesday and is set to continue through May. The first five films have been announced so far, and aside from the time they were released ('81, '82 or '83), they seem to have little in common. That's the best part. This isn't a series simply curated by Linklater; he'll actually be on hand after each screening and will sit down for a conversation with Austin Film Society Programmer Lars Nilsen to discuss the whys and hows of that night's selection.
"What makes this such a momentous series to me is that we all get to share the simple joy of talking about movies with Rick," Lars told me in a email.
Take a look at the initial lineup below and don't wait too long to get your tickets; if the Austin film community is paying attention, these screenings should all be well attended.
Yesterday, the Austin Film Society announced honorees for the 2014 Texas Film Awards, previously known as the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards. The gala event takes place March 6 this year -- the night before SXSW Film begins -- and tickets are available both for the awards dinner and ceremony, and for the glitzy (and more affordable) after-party.
I've been to the awards (on the red carpet, at the ceremony or both) since 2008, and many of these honorees and presenters have attended before. Others have visited Austin, if not to the gala event. So I'm presenting the emcee, honorees and presenters announced yesterday in photographic format (whenever possible), to add to the fun. Keep reading and you'll find out why I chose that top photo.
First of all, this year's emcee is actor Luke Wilson. At the 2008 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards, Wilson presented an award to Austin filmmaker Mike Judge. Here's Wilson on the red carpet that year:
The Rural Studio is a program through Auburn University started by the late architect Samuel Mockbee. Architecture students live and work in rural, empoverished communities of Alabama, designing and building community projects and homes for some residents using donated and recycled materials.
The Austin Film Society is hosting a special screening Tuesday, Jan. 14 of Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio to raise funds for the Rural Studio on the 20th anniversary of its founding. [tickets] The film, directed by Austinite Sam Wainwright Douglas, peers into parts of Mockbee's biography while showing progress on a 2002 Rural Studios housing project for "Music Man."
Interview subjects in the documentary include academic figures (UT Austin's Stephen Ross among them) who praise Mockbee's program for offering in-field learning. There are only a couple of dissenting voices -- a reluctant Alabama resident who says the Rural Studio has done nothing to help (until they build a fire station in his town) and a Yale professor/architect who has faint praise for Mockbee.
Street-style photography seems almost pedestrian now, with blogs like The Sartorialist, Humans of New York or (my favorite) What Ali Wore popping up every day, but this wasn't the case when photographer Jamel Shabazz started snapping pics in the '70s. A friend of the artist says he was "capturing life in its purest form."
Shabazz depicted the history of his NYC borough, documenting the early days of hip-hop culture, the fashion and lifestyle he saw day-to-day in the subway or walking the streets of Brooklyn.
Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer (2013) delves into the photographer's influential work and follows some of his current-day activities. Director Charlie Ahearn's previous work includes 1983's Wild Style, a hip hop docudrama. In this film, Ahearn includes interviews with cultural figures such as Fab 5 Freddy and KRS-One among others.
Austin Film Society will show the Shabazz documentary this Sunday, Jan. 12 at 4pm [tickets] at AFS at the Marchesa. Watch the trailer below.
Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, cinema legends and titans of the French New Wave, duke it out for the Austin Film Society's series "Godard vs. Truffaut" from Jan. 3 through Feb. 23 at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre.
But there's no need to take sides*, as various seminal works by each filmmaker are spotlighted biweekly. Discover your inner Francophile at 8 pm Fridays and 2 pm Sundays at the Marchesa.
The rules of cinematic composition are thrown out the window in Breathless, Godard's first feature-length film and one of the earliest of the French New Wave. A young petty criminal with delusions of grandeur drags his American girlfriend (Jean Seberg, whose haircut alone was influential) into his escape plot after killing a police officer.
The tumultuous and dangerous political atmosphere that defined 20th-century life in the Soviet Union made it difficult for Russian artists to reach their potential, and it wasn't until the dissolution of the USSR that expressing creative freedom at home became a real possibility.
Beginning in January, Austin Film Society will present a series of movies that reveal the pent-up talent and emotion of six different Russian directors working at a time when they were finally free to analyze and critique Mother Russia and its people. All released in the last 20 years, the eight films of "Pushing the Curtain Aside: Russian Films of the Past Two Decades" portray a range of styles and subjects but share a dedication to originality.
Screenings all take place Thursdays at 7:30 pm at the Marchesa. Go here for more information about screenings and tickets, and take a look at the lineup below.
As soon as I heard about the Austin Film Society's special screening of Matewan with director John Sayles in attendance, I purchased my ticket. I've made it a point to see as many Sayles movies as I can, since seeing my first (The Secret of Roan Inish) as a teenager. Unfortunately, the quality of the Matewan DVD I rented a few years back was so awful that I couldn't watch more than 5 minutes of it -- the sound was terrible. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the 35mm print at the Marchesa.
I spied the director's tall form in the Marchesa lobby, among the booths at the Blue Genie bazaar, before we were seated. After being introduced to the audience, Sayles explained to us the correct pronunciation for the town in the title: MAYTE-one, not MATT-uh-won (which is how I'd been saying it, oops). He then told us how he found the subject matter through discussions with miners who kept referring to the "Matewan massacre."
By Philip Fagan
The latest Austin Film Society Essential Cinema series, "Troubles and Paradise: The 'First Wave' of Irish Cinema," starts Thursday, Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 19 at AFS at the Marchesa. Fagan is guest curator of this series.
It may at first glance seem curious to refer to films produced between 1982 and 2004 as among those comprising an Irish "First Wave" of cinema. However, as with the island's tempestuous political and social landscape throughout the years, the Irish cinema, to the extent that it has existed, has suffered a long and curious journey that is bound up with the same issues of Irish identity that continue to divide the Republicans and Loyalists of the North. The cinema of Ireland that began emerging in the 1980s can be assessed as part of a long, ongoing intellectual mission of examining and forging a cohesive national identity, a battle that continues to be waged on various other fronts.
Irish identity continues to be inherently fractured and debatable and the Irish themselves often tend to self-identify through the lens of well-worn stereotypes, or "Paddywhackery." Is Ireland one country or two? Are its peoples Irish or British? Catholic or Protestant? Or Christian or Pagan even? Is Ireland's "closest cousin" Great Britain or the United States? Has "Irishness" become so closely tied to America on one hand and the struggle against England on the other that maintaining an indigenous Irish identity has become impossible? Are the Irish at heart a race of saints, scholars, poets, and geniuses; or are they inherently uncivilized, atavistic, violent, racist, intolerant alcoholic criminals? And more recently, how are the changing roles of women and the rise of immigrant and gay subcultures impacting a conceptualization of a modern Ireland?
By Christina Bryant
When it comes to portrayals of Brooklyn, New York on film and TV, we either get Spike Lee's beloved Bed-Stuy of yesterday or Lena Dunham's gentrified Williamsburg. Mother of George offers a refreshing third option. Audiences are welcomed into an intriguing, yet overlooked African immigrant community living in the borough’s Flatbush neighborhood.
Austin Film Society will screen Mother of George this Saturday, November 16 [event info/tickets] at 4 pm at AFS at the Marchesa (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd).
The film opens with the wedding of Adenike (Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on AMC's Walking Dead) and Ayodele (veteran actor Isaach De Bankolé). In any other movie, they might just be background characters; perhaps the aproned individuals you see pass through the swinging kitchen doors of your neighborhood African restaurant. Instead, Nigerian photographer/director Andrew Dosunmu sets his tale of a newlywed couple facing infertility against an almost Greek tragedy backdrop, full of complexity and nuance.