Jordan Gass-Poore''s blog

Ready, Set, Fund: Crunch Time

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'The Sauce' Movie Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

A number of local movie projects are nearing the end of their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The countdown begins with The Sauce, a feature about a ruthless, egomaniacal stock trader who decides to start his own firm. The only thing stopping him (besides those pesky executives) may be himself. This indie comedy will be set and shot in Austin and has reached its goal, but generous backers can give additional funds through its Kickstarter campaign until May 29.

Other Austin and Texas movie-related projects seeking funds:

  • On June 1, the clock stops on the Kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Project. This documentary, directed and produced by Austinite Sara Bordo, follows Texas State University alumna Lizzie Velasquez on her journey to help inspire a more positive online world. Lizzie, who is one of three people in the world diagnosed with an unnamed syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, experienced cyber bullying as a teenager. She has since gone on to be a motivational speaker and author.

Slackery News Tidbits: May 12, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • The Texas Tribune reports that Bernie Tiede, the Carthage man whose story of shooting the town's richest widow inspired Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater's 2011 movie Bernie, was released from Panola County Jail last week. After nearly two decades behind bars, Tiede was driven away from the jail with Linklater to a home the filmmaker owns in Austin.
  • In festival news, the Los Angeles Film Festival announced its lineup last week and includes several Texas-connected movies: Land Ho!, produced by Austinite David Gordon Green; the Houston documentary Evolution of a Criminal, which premiered at this year's SXSW; and the short movie Molly, from local filmmaker Craig Elrod (The Man from Orlando).
  • Austin's movie industry may take a hit after NBC announced Friday that its hour-long, post-apocalyptic drama Revolution has been cancelled, Austin Business Journal reports. The show wrapped filming its current season last month in Austin.

Slackery News Tidbits: May 5, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news. 

  • An open casting call for various non-speaking background extras for the feature My All American, chronicling University of Texas football player Freddie Steinmark and the 1969 National Champion Longhorns, will take place on Monday, May 12 from 2-8 pm at Smithville Recreation Center (106 Royston St.) in Smithville. The movie, directed by Angelo Pizzo (Hoosiers and Rudy), will be shooting in Austin and surrounding areas this summer. myallamericantx [at] gmail [dot] com (Email Brock/Allen Casting) for more info.
  • The Austin Latino Film Association will have its soft launch party tonight (May 5) at 7:30 pm at Baby Acapulco (5610 N. IH-35). The nonprofit organization is dedicated to Austin-based Latino filmmakers, Latino-themed movies and local Latino youth. 
  • Join the Austin Film Festival for a conversation with Emmy-nominated actor Robert Walden through the nonprofit's On Story series this Wednesday, May 7 at 7 pm at the Texas Spirit Theater in the Texas History Museum. 
  • Cast members of the notorious 1974 horror film Texas Chain Saw Massacre will reunite at this year's Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin. The horror and heavy-metal event will celebrate this seminal Central Texas-shot movie's 40th anniversary during the festival from Oct. 23-26.

Slackery News Tidbits: April 28, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • Austin filmmaker C. Robert Cargill (Jordan's profile) is co-writing the sequel to 2012's micro-budget horror flick Sinister, which stars native Texan Ethan Hawke, with the original movie's director Scott Derrickson, according to The Wrap. Irish director Ciaran Foy will direct Sinister 2, scheduled to begin production in July.
  • Speaking of Cargill (Rod's interview), the sequel to his debut novel, Dreams and Shadows, will be released by Harper Voyager on May 13. The sequel, Queen of the Dark Things, follows the protagonist six months after the events of the first book as he's forced to turn to aid from forces even darker than those he once battled.
  • The Austin Film Festival's early-bird deadline for film submissions is Wednesday. The deadline to submit to the screenplay and teleplay categories is also Wednesday. Late submissions for the screenplay and teleplay categories is May 31, while film submissions will be accepted until July 15.
  • In more AFF news, the Austin-produced romantic dramedy, For Serious, about a lawyer who decides to make a movie to get closer to his indie-actress crush, will screen on Wednesday at 7 pm at Galaxy Highland as part of the organization's Austin Premieres series.

Slackery News Tidbits: April 21, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • Filmmaker Annie Silverstein has had her student short film Skunk accepted in the Cinefondation section of Cannes Film Festival. It is one of 16 films that will screen, out of 1,631 student movies submitted worldwide. She ran a successful crowdfunding campaign last year to finish Skunk, which was her master's thesis film at The University of Texas at Austin. The film stars local actress Heather Kafka.
  • Texas native Tommy Lee Jones's western drama The Homesman, about a duo who escort three insane women across states, will compete for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, according to CNN
  • The Austin Film Festival and Travis County Sheriff's Office invite area high-chool students to create a commercial or short movie to raise awareness of issues facing teenagers. Winning entries will be published to the event's YouTube channel and screened during AFF's Student Filmmaking Expo, among other prizes. Deadline to submit is Friday. 
  • In more AFF news, 2013 AFF Official Selection Favor, about a friendship that's tested when one man's fling is accidentally killed in a motel room, will be available On Demand and iTunes on Tuesday. 

Slackery News Tidbits: April 14, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news. 

  • Congratulations to filmmaker/University of Texas lecturer Kat Candler (Debbie's interview) on her 2014 Dallas International Film Festival's Grand Jury Narrative Prize for Hellion (Debbie's review). Texas native Darius Clark Monroe's movie Evolution of a Criminal also won the Documentary Feature Special Jury Prize for Directorial Vision. The Texas Grand Jury Prize went to Flutter (Debbie's review), with a special jury prize to the East Texas documentary Tomato Republic. Austin filmmaker John Fiege's documentary Above All Else (Don's review, Elizabeth's interview) won a special jury prize in the Silver Heart category. Here's the full list of awards.
  • The 17th Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival announced its full lineup last week. The Marchesa Hall and Theater will feature the festival's opening and closing-night movies, international new releases and "Hecho en Tejas," a category devoted to movies made in Texas, including the documentary Las Marthas, about the annual Laredo-based celebration honoring President George Washington, where debutantes dress as American Revolutionaries.
  • Screenings for this year's Cine Las Americas will take place at the Alamo Drafthouse Village and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. San Antonio filmmaker Efrain Gutierrez, whose 1970s microindies are considered to be the first Chicano films, will also be honored during the festival, which takes place April 22-27.
  • Television station AMC has returned to sponsor and judge this year's Austin Film Festival and Conference's One-Hour Pilot Award for the Teleplay Competition. The award is open to any pilot script written in the one-hour format for an original TV series. Finalists will be given the opportunity to meet with a representative of AMC during the event, which takes place Oct. 23-30, or over the phone at a later date. 

Paramount 100 Series Reaches the 1930s

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In anticipation of the The Paramount Theatre's 100th birthday next year, The Paramount and Stateside theaters are presenting the year-and-a-half-long "Paramount 100: A Century of Cinema" film series, which celebrates the history of movies from the silent film era to the present day. Movies have been screened in chronological order starting in January. This month marks a shift to the talking pictures of the 1930s

Movies from the 1930s will screen this and next month as double features, showcasing the emergence of the gangster and monster genres, "while telling stories that range in upper-class highs to Great Depression lows":

April 14:

  • Dracula: Bela Lugosi's iconic performance as the Transylvanian nobleman, based on Bram Stoker's novel of the same name. The success of this film ushered in a golden age of Universal horror films and continues to define the look and feel of American horror movies. 
  • Frankenstein: This equally iconic monster, played by Boris Karloff, may be darker and more controversial than Lugosi's. 

Slackery News Tidbits: April 7, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • Texas native Darius Clark Monroe's film Evolution of a Criminal, which made its world premiere at this year's SXSW, recently received the Grand Jury Prize at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It also screened at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival. 
  • Fellow SXSW 2014 selection The Great Invisible (Elizabeth's review), also won at Full Frame, for Best Environmental Documentary. The movie, directed by Austinite Margaret Brown (Elizabeth's interview), follows the effects of the BP oil spill on communities in the Gulf Coast. 
  • Another SXSW 2014 selection, the San Marcos River experimental documentary Yakona (Caitlin's review), will make its local premiere at 9 pm on Saturday at Sewell Park in San Marcos. The free screening takes place during the two-day Inaugural Texas Wild Rice Festival
  • The Austin Film Society announced its recent collaboration with the Sundance Institute on its Artist Services program, Indiewire reports. AFS is one of seven nonprofit organizations the Institute is collaborating with on the program, which focuses on helping independent filmmakers find digital distribution, marketing and financing for their projects. 

Slackery News Tidbits: March 31, 2014

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Here's the latest Austin and Texas film news.

  • Gravitas Ventures announced that it has acquired native Texan writer-director Matt Muir's Austin-lensed movie Thank You a Lot, which premiered at this year's SXSW. The sale includes North American VOD rights. The company plans to release the drama, about a struggling manager whose job is threatened if he doesn't sign his dad and reclusive Texas country music singer, in June on cable and digital platforms. The filmmakers are planning a summer tour of screenings and music concerts in which musicians that star in the movie will play. 
  • In more acquisition news, Netflix has acquired the rights to this year's SXSW recipient of the Special Jury Recognition Award for Editing and Storytelling, Print the Legend, The Wrap reports. The feature documentary goes behind-the-scenes of the top American 3D printing brands as they fight for dominance in the field. 
  • SXSW acquisition news continues: Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has acquired the world rights to Honeymoon, which premiered at the fest this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The thriller follows a young newlywed couple during their visit to a remote cabin in the woods for their honeymoon. Magnet will release the movie later this year, following its screening at next month's Tribeca Film Festival. 

SXSW 2014: A Different Kind of 'Two Step'

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Austin was filmmaker Alex R. Johnson's "something better" from the hustle and bustle of New York City life. Johnson had searched for a city that wouldn't necessarily compete with his memories of the Big Apple, but for a community of like-minded individuals that weren't worried about their role on Law & Order. His dear pal and composer Andrew Kenny, aka Kenny, also made the move with his wife last year after an extended SXSW trip. The house that Kenny and his wife bought became the fictional home of a character in his and Johnson's latest movie Two Step (Don's review).

"I didn't really know what I was getting myself into," Kenny said.

That may have been an understatement. Once a truck and generator showed up at the Kenny home, they knew they were in for surprises. Memories of the ten-day shoot at their house continue to show up in the form of fake blood droplets.

"Still finding blood but no damage," Kenny said. "There's a little bit by the front door... it's gonna stay there." To Kenny's wife, it's kind of like Christmas, finding needles from the tree months later, Johnson said. 

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