The Texas-produced feature film Searching For Sonny is on tour around Texas this month as part of the Texas Independent Film Network's Fall 2012 program. It returns to Austin after having its world premiere at Austin Film Festival 2011. After winning 13 major awards on the festival circuit -- including the Best of Fest at the Hill Country Film Festival -- writer/director Andrew Disney (pictured above) will be at the screening when the roadshow lands in Austin next week.
You can buy tickets now to see the Fort Worth-shot movie at the Violet Crown Cinema on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 pm. I saw it at AFF and my review describes it as "kinky and subversive, dark and outrageous." Here's my synopsis from that review:
"Jason Dohring stars as Elliot Knight, an unsuccessful 28-year-old pizza delivery driver. Jason receives a surprise invitation to his 10-year class reunion from his estranged best friend, Sonny (Masi Oka). As soon as he arrives at the reunion, he meets up with twin brother Calvin (Nick Kocher) and classmate Gary (Brian McElhaney). Together, the three of them set out to find Sonny, following clues left on their postcard invitations, and uncover a larger scheme involving their former high-school principal."
Another Austin film, another distribution deal. You may have heard that Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission was picked up by First Run Features and will open in Austin in mid-January. And the Twittersphere positively exploded with the news that Emily Hagins' My Sucky Teen Romance was picked up by Dark Sky Films a few weeks ago. The latest news: Austin goes global with Sushi: The Global Catch, from Austin filmmaker Mark Hall.
Sushi: The Global Catch just played the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival ("IDFA") in Amsterdam last week, and has been picked up by Kino Lorber for North American theatrical release in early 2012. The documentary won a Special Jury Award Seattle International Film Festival in June.
It was just yesterday that Jenn Brown and I were plotting our SXSW coverage strategy for Slackerwood (and other outlets) and hoping B-Side would host a Festival Genius site for scheduling SXSW Film. All of us at Slackerwood who have covered film festivals have loved the scheduling application from B-Side and found that it made fest planning vastly easier.
So we were very sad to learn that Austin-based B-Side Entertainment will be closing its doors this week. Filmmaker Magazine's blog is reporting that the company has been unable to find new investors and is out of funds. B-Side employees have all been laid off, many of which we've become familiar with at local film festivals -- including occasional Slackerwood contributor Chris Holland -- and we are obviously personally unhappy about the news as well. Back at SXSW 2007, I interviewed B-Side founder Chris Hyams (pictured at right) for Studio SX (sadly, SXSW no longer seems to have it archived) and his company sounded like an exciting business model.
Here's what Hyams has to say about the closing on the B-Side website: "I am sad to have reached the end of this chapter, but am incredibly proud of what we've achieved. I am confident that our efforts will have a lasting impact on this business. I am also confident that the B-Side team will bring their experience to new ventures that will pick up where B-Side is leaving off."
The soundtrack to Stingray Sam, the Fantastic Fest fave that had people singing for days afterwards, is now on sale. Written and performed by director Cory McAbee and co-produced with Robert Lurie, it's full of delightful absurd and often deconstructed songs like "Lullaby" or the progeny naming song "Fredward."
The episodic interplanetary adventure musical is still on the festival circuit, wowing crowds with its old-school serial wrapped in Western sensibilities. Both the soundtrack and the movie itself are available for purchase online at corymcabee.com, as digital media downloads or as discs.
To celebrate, we're giving away DVDs and soundtrack CDs. Find out how to win after the jump.
As we head into Thanksgiving week, Austin-area filmmakers and film fans have a lot to be thankful for. Here are a few reasons:
- The Academy Award shortlist for Best Documentary Feature nominees was released last week. One of the 15 films was SXSW 2009 selection Garbage Dreams. The doc tells the story of the Zaballeen, who live in "garbage villages" made of the city's garbage, and until recently were the only system in place for trash removal. Their livelihood is now being threatened by international outsourcers.
- Good news for another movie that premiered at SXSW 2009: B-Side Entertainment has picked up now-Austinite filmmaker Alex Karpovsky's latest film: Trust Us, This is All Made Up. Jette caught the movie in March and although it took a few minutes to get going, really enjoyed the long-form, detailed improv performance staged by T.J. Jagodowksi and David Pasquesi.
- One more from SXSW, this time 2008: David and Nathan Zellner's feature film Goliath will be out on DVD on January 12, 2010. You can pre-order it now from Amazon. Jette loved this Austin-made comedy about a guy who just can't live without his cat, which premiered at Sundance in 2008. Slackerwood interviewed the Zellners via email about the film.
Goodness gracious, this is turning into a big week of distribution news about films I've enjoyed at SXSW, some of which have Austin connections. Is it coincidence, or what? That's not the only news I have, but it's certainly news I'm happy to share.
- Medicine for Melancholy, which played SXSW 2008, is now available on DVD. This lovely film is one of my top-ten films from that year, and as soon as I'm finished writing this paragraph, I'm buying a copy. Seriously, this is a lovely film about two people who meet in San Francisco ... find a way to watch it, this weekend. One of the film's stars is Wyatt Cenac, whom you might recognize from The Daily Show.
- Another favorite SXSW film of mine, Gretchen from 2006, has also been released on DVD this week. Gretchen was shot around Central Texas and while its director and stars may not live here now, still seems very Austin-y to me. I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy soon and share the details, but it sounds like an excellent DVD package from Watchmaker (which did a gorgeous job with The Whole Shootin' Match), including several of Steve Collins's short films with actors John Merriman and Courtney Davis. Gretchen is also available on Netflix Watch Instantly.
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.
Austin 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.)
The Wild Man of the Navidad, a Texas film with local cast and crew, is getting a DVD release next week.
The indie horror film, co-directed by Justin Meeks and former Texas Film Production Fund recipient Duane Graves, was an official selection at both Tribeca Film Festival and Austin's own Fantastic Fest, and if you're really savvy, you might recognize a certain Alamo staffer in the cast. It's a 1970s style Texas horror story about a "creature so horrifying it remains legend today" with the typical grindhouse gore stylings of 70s horror.
The DVD release is slated for next Tuesday, August 11, following the film's recent availability through IFC Video on Demand. You can pre-order the DVD at Best Buy and Amazon, and it's already available to add to your queue on Netflix. If you're going to buy, right now BestBuy has the better price. But you might want to check out local stores like I Luv Video and Vulcan Video.
I wasn't able to catch The Wild Man of the Navidad at Fantastic Fest, but the reviews have been positive (and nostalgic). What better way to gear up for next month's edition of Fantastic Fest than by supporting one of last year's films?
Have you seen Crawford, the documentary about the town where George W. Bush bought a ranch before becoming President? The film, directed by local filmmaker David Modigliani, screened earlier this year at SXSW. You can read my review from the festival, and I also interviewed Modigliani about the documentary.
Now you have the chance to see the film -- even if you don't live in Austin. B-Side Entertainment bought the distribution rights for Crawford, and plans to release the documentary by premiering it on Hulu.com on Tuesday, October 7. This is the first time a feature-length film will have its premiere on Hulu. I don't have details yet on exactly how this will work, but I know that some TV shows and films are available for limited times only on Hulu, so my guess is that the movie can be streamed from the website just for Tuesday. In the meantime, if you visit the Hulu page for Crawford, you can watch a trailer.
After its Hulu premiere, Crawford will be available on the B-Side site for download, streaming, or to purchase on DVD. This is a fairly non-partisan documentary, so if you want to have a politics-themed movie night before the upcoming election, you can watch it with both your liberal and conservative friends and relatives.