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Slackery News Tidbits, December 10

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • Former Austinite Elizabeth Mims' film Only the Young made the National Board of Review's Top 5 Documentaries, IndieWire reports. Austinite Richard Linklater's Bernie and Texas native Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom were on  the group's Top 10 Independent Films.
  • In distribution news, Tribeca Films has acquired the North American rights to sometimes-Austinite actor/filmmaker Alex Karpovsky's films Rubberneck and Red Flag, with plans to release both in select theatrical and VOD platforms this February.
  • Following the success of Boneboys, Texas filmmakers Duane Graves and Justin Meeks are back in the saddle again with a dark Western, Red on Yella, Kill a Fella, according to The Austin Chronicle. Joe O'Connell visited and took photos on the film's set. The six-week shoot took place at various locations in Texas, including the Northeast Austin living history site Pioneer Farms. Inspired by true events, the film follows an outlaw gang in 1900 who travel from western Texas to the Gulf of Mexico in search of lost treasure. But the adventure is cut short when something mysterious starts killing the men one by one.
  • Congrats to former Austinite and DFW-area resident, David Lowery, who has been named one of Variety's 10 Directors to Watch, the entertainment-trade magazine reports. Lowery's latest feature film, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, will screen in the dramatic competition at next month's Sundance Film Festival. You can watch his previous feature, St. Nick, for free online until December 13.

Slackery News Tidbits, December 3

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news. 

Enrich Yourself with AFS Moviemaker Dialogues, Special Guests

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Radio Unnameable

Learn the ropes from experienced filmmakers with this month's Moviemaker Dialogues from Austin Film Society. Held around 6-8 times per year with visiting filmmakers, the next series kicks off at 7 pm tonight in the AFS Screening Room with "Sustainable Film Culture" featuring Ted Hope, producer of the awardwinning movies Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Ice Storm. Hope will discuss how producers and filmmakers can contribute to a sustainable culture for independent films. A meet-and-greet with Hope, who is in Austin for the annual International Film Festival Summit, will follow the discussion.

Keep the dialogue going this weekend with a cinematography master class at 2 pm on Saturday in the AFS Screening Room with Tim Orr, director of photography for Pineapple Express. Orr, who is in town shooting the new David Gordon Green film Joe, will discuss techniques and trade secrets in this conversation about the art and craft of filmmaking. The discussion will be moderated by Hammer to Nail magazine editor and filmmaker Michael Tully. 

Slackery News Tidbits, November 27

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TXFHOF 2009 151

Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • Adult Swim's Tim Heidecker and director Rick Alverson will be in attendance at the premiere screening of their movie The Comedy, about the modern privileged hipster class, 9:30 pm Thursday at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Join the duo before the film at End of an Ear Record Store to listen to its soundtrack. The film's theatrical run begins Friday at the Drafthouse.
  • Bastrop's community access television station, UpStart Bastrop, will host its third annual Off Kilter Xmas Film Fest at 2 pm on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Upstart Studios in Bastrop with a screening of the independent horror-comedy Christmas with the Dead, filmed in East Texas and based on Texas native Joe R. Lansdale's short story. J.C. saw the film and published some stills back in August.
  • Save the date: join AFS at 5 pm on Dec. 8 at Austin Studios for the Make Watch Love Austin party. Get a sneak peek of the Austin Studios expansion while mingling with local filmmakers, actors, musicians and gamers.

Slackery News Tidbits, November 19

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Here's the latest in Austin film news.

  • Stephen Jannise, former Austin Film Festival film programmer, has been named the Paramount Theatre's new film programmer, Austin Movie Blog reported. Jannise replaces Jesse Trussell, who recently moved from Austin to Brooklyn.
  • Austin-based filmmaker C. Robert Cargill (Sinister) is all over the news this week. Cargill will co-write the screenplay for the film adaptation of the Square Enix video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, CBS Fillms reported. Cargill will reunite with Sinister co-writer/director Scott Derrickson on the cyberpunk feature about an ex-SWAT security specialist who tries to unravel a global conspiracy. Movies.com interviewed Cargill to discuss the film's adaptation process.
  • Cargill tops the news again, this time for a starred rating and review of his upcoming debut novel Dreams and Shadows from Publishers Weekly. The novel, which hits stores in February, is about two young boys, one who is abducted by fairies and the other who is granted a wish to see "all the things mankind wasn't meant to see." Read my interview with Cargill.
  • Alamo Drafthouse's executive chef John Bullington is leaving his post, according to Eater Austin. Bullington began developing the theater chain's famous movie-paired menus eight years ago. The Drafthouse is currently shifting to hiring "regional concept" chefs who will focus on food and film pairings.

Interview: George Anson, 'Spring Eddy'

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George Anson

Eddy, a small-time Chicago crook on the run, learns to take a leap of faith through his interactions with the people he meets in the fictional town of Wynot, Texas in Austin-based filmmaker George Anson's feature film debut, Spring Eddy.

The nontraditional romantic comedy made its world premiere last month at the Austin Film Festival, where Anson, Texas State University alumnus, previously served as its first film program director. Anson filmed on location in Lockhart, Copeland, Manor, Bastrop, Austin, Johnson City and Warhot, Texas for 19 days, with the help of Texas State students. Read J.C.'s review from the film's debut at AFF.

As a Texas State student in the early 1980s, Anson pledged Pi Kappa Alpha (and, yes, he lived in the allegedly haunted former fraternity house) before transferring to the University of North Texas, where he majored in radio-television-film. After graduating from UNT, Anson moved to Austin in 1994 from Sherman, Texas, where he worked for a small television station, to work as a sales representative for a printing company.

Anson, who consideres Bill Wittliff to be a mentor, took his own leap of faith in attending the University of Southern California to pursue filmmaking, and again in his pursuit of seeing Spring Eddy on the big screen. "Spring Eddy is something I knew in my heart I could make and I've never stopped," Anson said. I talked with him recently about the process of bringing Spring Eddy from the page to the screens at AFF.

Slackery News Tidbits, November 12

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • It's not too late to submit your last-minute film, web series, cross-media or other non-traditional web-based project to this year's SXSW Film Festival. Deadline for last minute entries is Thursday, November 15. For more information, visit the SXSW Film site.
  • In an effort to improve the moviegoing experience, Alamo Drafthouse has announced it will not admit late arrivals into any Austin theater once the film has started, beginning Jan. 3. If you're late, tickets bought in advance will be applied to other screenings or your money will be refunded.
  • Two Austin filmmakers took home awards at the Lone Star International Film Festival last weekend: Best Short went to Sexy Chat from Caroline Connor, and Merman, from Jono Foley, won an Honorable Mention. Mike previewed Merman before its premiere at SXSW this year.
  • In addition, honorees at the Fort Worth festival included Corsicana native Billy Joe Shaver and former Austinite John Hawkes. Shaver's career as a songwriter, whose work has appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Crazy Heart, won him the festival's Stephen Bruton Award. The award recognizes artists whose career, although anchored in music, includes achievement in film. Hawkes received the Lone Star Film Society's Maverick Award for his achievement in acting.

Wittliff Collections Honors New 'Lonesome Dove' Book

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Bill Witliff

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University hosted a panel discussion last month that included writer/filmmaker Bill Wittliff to celebrate the launch of the second volume in its Lonesome Dove book series with the University of Texas Press.

Wittliff, Lonesome Dove screenwriter and co-executive producer, joined other contributors of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into both Lary McMurtry's novel and its adaptation into the 1989 Western television miniseries.

"Bill (Wittliff) told me several times on the set, 'If you just take care of Lonesome Dove, Lonesome Dove will take care of us,'" said miniseries extra Stephen Harrigan, who moderated the panel. Harrigan is an author and screenwriter in his own right.

John Spong wrote A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove, which includes photos from the set from Jeff Wilson and Witliff. Spong and Wilson, also panelists, recounted their experiences with McMurtry's dusty Texas border town.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning miniseries tells the tale of two aging former Texas Rangers, who, in their pursuit of one last adventure, set out on a 3,000-mile cattle drive from the Lone Star State to Montana.

"The best stories don't just survive, they become enriched as they are retold," said David Coleman, Wittliff Collections director.

Slackery News Tidbits, November 5

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Here's the latest in Austin and Texas film news.

  • Open Road Films has acquired the rights to Austin-based director Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, Austin Movie Blog reports. The locally shot film is the sequel to Rodriguez's 2010 movie Machete. In the sequel, Danny Trejo's title character is hired by the U.S. president (played by Charlie Sheen) to hunt down an arms dealer. The film also stars Austin native Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba and Lady Gaga. 
  • The Alamo Drafthouse is calling on local filmmakers and film lovers to help eradicate the cinematic disease that is talking and texting during movies with its "No Talking, No Texting" Filmmaking Frenzy PSA contest. Video submissions must not exceed 60 seconds in length and are due Nov. 21. All submissions will then be posted on Badass Digest for public viewing and voting until Nov. 28, in which case preliminary winners will be chosen for each Alamo Drafthouse market. The final winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse CEO and founder. 
  • In more Drafthouse news, Drafthouse Films has acquired the U.S. rights to the Danish documentary The Act of Killing. The film, which screened at this year's Toronto and Telluride International Film Festivals, is a journey into the memories and imaginations of former Indonesian death squad leaders, expected to open theatrically next year.

Review: Keep The Lights On

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"Hello. What's up?" the protagonist of Ira Sachs' new feature film Keep The Lights On whispers into the phone to an unknown man on a sex chatline. After repeating the same lines to the same faceless souls desperate for human connection, Erik Rothman (Thure Lindhardt) finds what he thinks he has been looking for in Paul Lucy (Zachary Booth).

Keep The Lights On follows Erik and Paul's journey of mutual and self-discovery beginning in 1997 in New York City. Their relationship is tested by drug, alcohol and sex addiction, playing like a broken record (or the film's similar-sounding, albeit enjoyable soundtrack) over the course of a decade.

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