I posted this photo last year, but it's especially timely this week, so I thought I'd give it a good airing. I took the photo right after author Harlan Ellison's panel at SXSW 2008. When I last posted it, I focused on Ellison (right) signing a book for critic Elvis Mitchell (left). I didn't say much about the guy in the middle.
However, a lot of people are talking this week about that guy in the Fassbinder shirt, screenwriter Josh Olson, and not because he wrote the script for A History of Violence. Olson wrote an article for the Village Voice called "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" that is drawing numerous champions and detractors. Response articles include an even stronger assertion from screenwriter David Gerrold ("The Trouble with Tribbles" episode of Star Trek); a thoughtful explanation about why writers won't serve as mentors, from author/blogger John Scalzi; and on the local front, a Film School Rejects column from Austin's own Cole Abaius explaining why he thinks Olson is being an asshole.
And now Ellison has stepped into the fray in a whimsically ascerbic fashion, and has recorded a Seussian rhymed version of Olson's essay for your listening pleasure. The rhyming version was adapted by Steve Jarrett, and Olson liked it so much he asked Ellison to perform a dramatic reading. Therefore, I have another excuse to post this photo. If the photo looks familiar, I also let Jen Yamato use it for her Cinematical article about the whole Olson kerfuffle, which you also might enjoy reading.
Over the past week, an amazing number of news items have rolled in about distribution for Austin movies or movies that have played in local fests. Check out this list to see if any of the movies you've liked at recent fests will be getting a wider release and a second chance to grab audiences.
- Richard Linklater's most recent films are both in the news this week. First of all, Me and Orson Welles, which played at SXSW this year, now has U.S. distribution through Cinemax. As Linklater told us during the Extract red carpet, the movie will hit theaters around Thanksgiving. Jette thinks it's the best Zac Efron movie she's seen to date.
- In addition, Linklater's documentary about Longhorn baseball and coach Augie Garrido, Inning by Inning, is now available on iTunes. The movie was released on DVD in May. Jette doesn't like baseball much, but liked this movie a lot anyway.
- Speaking of movies you can watch from a computer or other device, the locally shot feature For Love & Stacie, written and directed by Raymond Schlogel, is now available for viewing online at Underground Planet.
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) opened Monday with Shamim Sarif's directorial debut, I Can't Think Straight. The romantic comedy based on Sarif's eponymous book plays surprisingly light despite potentially heavy subject matter. When a mutual friend introduces introverted Leyla (Sheetal Sheth) and outspoken Tala (Lisa Ray), sparks fly.
Muslim Indian Leyla has been dating Ali for years, while Tala, a Christian Palestinian dividing her time between London and Jordan, is on her fourth engagement. As the two women get to know each other, it's clear it's more than a friendship forming, but both women are reluctant to admit their attraction and follow their hearts in more ways than one.
The film stays firmly in the realm of rom-com, with occassional teases into erotica, but never really crosses that particular border. Even the family conflict stay light, with somewhat understanding if perplexed fathers, and caricature mothers. Sheth and Ray have sparkling chemistry, which makes the film a sweet confection, instead of a heavy drama.
There's a musical quality, hinting at Bollywood, and with an ultimate happy ending, which makes the film an excellent choice for the start of aGLIFF.
I've taken a look at several dozen panel submissions, and voted for a few of my favorites. Here are the film panels I found interesting at first glance:
There's Gold in Those Archives: Long-Long-Tail Filmmaking (organizer: Center for Social Media) -- I had no idea what long-tail filmmaking was until I saw this panel submission, but it was intriguing enough to read the questions and comments. Licensing and distribution are critical aspects of the longterm results of making a film filmmaking. I would expect this panel to convey some valuable information to filmmakers and distributors.
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.
On Friday, the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer opens here in Austin, at Arbor and Alamo South. But this isn't the first time the movie has screened in town -- it was the closing-night film for SXSW 2009. I managed to take a few photos that evening. Everyone wanted to get a shot of the two stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, pictured above.
Slackerwood will be posting a group review of the film on Friday, so come back tomorrow and find out what we thought of it. And after the jump, I've got a couple more photos from the SXSW screening.
It'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.)
Here's a roundup of recent Austin film news:
- The Central Region of TXMPA is holding a meeting Monday, June 8, at 6:30 pm at Mother Egan's. If you are a member, you can participate in the election for Central Region board representative and alternate.
- If you haven't seen P.J. Raval and Jay Hodges's film Trinidad, check it out on Showtime this month (or if you're me, find a friend with Showtime). The documentary about a Colorado town known as "the sex-change capital of the world" will screen on Showtime channels this week and then be available on Showtime On Demand until the end of June.
Here at Slackerwood, the focus is on Austin-related film, and Artois the Goat is about as local as it gets. Directors Cliff and Kyle Bogart are graduates of UT Austin, found their cast at University of Texas MFA acting program, and shot on location around central Texas. If you want to see just how local it is, you can go to the Artois the Goat website.
The story is simple. Virgil (Mark Scheibmeir) and Angie (Sydney Andrews) are in love, and like to picnic with exotic cheeses. When Angie takes a job out of state, Virgil's thrown into a tailspin. With a vintage cheesemaker's book to guide him, he's off on a quest to make the winning cheese at a competition to win her back.
One of the more memorable films of SXSW 2008 was The Toe Tactic, which filmmaker (and animator) Emily Hubley is bringing back to Austin for a series of special screenings cosponsored by Austin Film Society.
It's a little film that takes a low concept and does it very, very well, mixing live action and animation, personal myth and emotion. The story is simple; Mona is mourning her father, and trying to find her lost wallet. Anyone who's ever felt there are forces meddling in their lives will sympathize, as Mona has a bunch of poker playing cartoon dogs meddling in her life.
It's a very poetic story; one friend disliked it for that reason, but that's what made me really enjoy this film last year. I highly recommend checking it out, as director Emily Hubley will be in attendance at the 4/5 and 4/6 screenings; it will also screen on 4/13. More information at the Austin Film Society website.