Jette Kernion's blog

Dallas IFF's First Film Announcement is Texas-Heavy

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Dallas IFFThe Dallas International Film Festival has announced 15 of the films in its 2012 lineup, and not only does Texas make a great showing, but Austin is well represented. I'm hoping to attend the festival this year, the selections look so good so far. Some notable non-Texas films include Lawrence Kasdan's Darling Companion, which has former Austinite Mark Duplass in the cast; The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, the directorial debut of actor Ryan O'Nan (The Dry Land), and Takashi Shimizu's Tormented.

Cinema Six, the latest feature from filmmakers Mark Potts and Cole Selix (S&M Lawn Care), will have its world premiere at the festival, which takes place from April 12-22 (corrected from original text). Jenn and I visited the set in Lockhart last year (when the movie was called A Splice of Life). The filmmakers aren't from Austin, but many of their cast and crew are: producer Kelly Williams, Director of Photography Clay Liford, editor Don Swaynos, and actors John Merriman, Shannon McCormick, Chris Doubek, Kerri Lendo and Byron Brown, among many others. Barry Corbin, who will be honored at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards next month, has a cameo. Film Threat premiered the trailer today, which I've embedded with other trailers at the bottom of this article.

A couple of Austin-connected films that have played Austin fests will be at DIFF, in case you missed them. Local actor Jonny Mars' documentary America's Parking Lot, which premieres at SXSW, will make its way to Dallas -- appropriately, since it's about die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans. Austin Film Festival 2011 selection Sironia (Jenn's review), about a musician whose life changes as he moves from L.A. to the title town (which is really Waco), will also screen at DIFF. Filmmaker Brandon Dickerson made the move from California to Texas himself and now lives in Austin.

But wait, there's more. Bindlestiffs, which won an audience award at Slamdance this year, is from Houston filmmaker Andrew Edison, who started working on the movie in high school and is now a student at NYU. The comedy is about high-school boys, suspended from school, naively trying to be bad in the big city. Film Slate has a great summary and interview with Edison. The movie will be a midnight selection at DIFF.

Photo Essay: Alamo Slaughter, A Theater In Progress

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Alamo Slaughter

I recently participated in a hard-hat tour of the newest Alamo Drafthouse in the Austin area, which is called "Alamo Slaughter" since it's on Slaughter Lane (just off Mopac). As I mentioned yesterday, Alamo Slaughter will start showing movies for the first time as a SXSW satellite venue -- it'll also have a "soft opening" starting March 8, with some second-run selections. The theater will officially open to the public with first-run movies on March 22. Alamo Slaughter will have eight screens -- the largest ones seat about the same as the big theaters in Alamo on South Lamar, and the smallest one is more like a half-theater, with 32 seats, a nice choice for private rentals.

But on to the photos! The tour was conducted by the four gentlemen in the following photo: Alamo Drafthouse CEO and co-founder Tim League, architect Richard Weiss, Executive Chef John Bullington, and Beverage Director Bill Norris. We all wore hard hats and construction was still actively going on around us in some parts of the building.

SXSW Slackery News Tidbits, February 15

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It's that time of year: SXSW news is flying around thick and fast. Even if you're just concentrating on the film conference and festival, it's hard to keep up. In addition, SXSW has announced some new titles and conference sessions today. Here's the new information and some other recent news, all in our handy-dandy news tidbit format.

  • SXSW has just added 15 features and four shorts to this year's lineup. The features announced today include the world premiere of  Todd Rohal's Nature Calls, Sundance selection Safety Not Guaranteed (the cast includes former Austinite Mark Duplass), the cameraphone-shot King Kelly, and Blue Like Jazz, about a Texas student who escapes to the Pacific Northwest. Oh yes, and a restored print of Yellow Submarine, which I might not be able to resist.
  • SXSW also announced five new Film Conference panels today, including "A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane." Personally, I'm interested in a panel about restoring films at Universal, on Monday at the Paramount, which I hope means they'll show some restored footage.
  • If you're more interested in the movies than the panels, and you're on a budget, be aware that SXSW Film Passes will go on sale starting tomorrow, Feb. 16. The passes cost $80 and are available to buy from Waterloo Records and three Alamo Drafthouse locations (Ritz, Lamar, Village). A limited number are sold so if you want one, don't wait. Look for our updated guide about getting the most out of SXSW with a film pass as we get closer to the festival.

Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards: 2012 Info and 2011 Photos

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Texas Film Hall of Fame 2011

The Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards event is just around the corner -- Thursday, March 8, the night before SXSW begins. Austin Film Society has recently announced some of the 2012 recipients as well as new innovations to the gala.

Three honorees have been named so far: actor Barry Corbin, orignally from Lamesa (between Midland and Lubbock); filmmaker Douglas McGrath (Infamous, Emma), who was born in Midland; and actor/musician Marvin Lee Aday, a native of Dallas. Wait, you don't know who Aday is? You've probably heard of him as Meat Loaf.

The Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards event moves downtown to the ACL Live Theater at the Moody Center this year, away from its traditional Austin Studios venue. The evening will include more live music than in previous years, with a lineup including Grupo Fantasma, Nakia, and Suzanna Choffel. Actor/comedian Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show, Medicine for Melancholy) returns to emcee the evening.

Chickensh*t Bingo: Zalman King's Texas Filmmaking Ties

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Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny's Little Longhorn

Actor and filmmaker/producer Zalman King died last week. Judging from reactions on social media, it appears many people remember him for producing the popular Showtime erotic TV series Red Shoe Diaries. But me, when I heard he had died, my first thought was, "Chickensh*t bingo." Here's why.

The first SXSW Film Festival I covered professionally was in 2006, and although I was writing for Cinematical -- a website with national readership -- I was still interested in the Austin-shot movies. My attention was caught by a documentary about musician Dale Watson called Crazy Again, which screened at the Dobie. I was on a festival press email list for the first time and was even invited to the film's after-party at Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon on Burnet Road. (I didn't go. I didn't want to stop watching all the movies. This is often my problem at film fests.)

Dale Watson used to perform regularly at Ginny's, which is also notorious for its weekly game of "Chickensh*t Bingo," in which patrons predict which square at the bottom of a chicken coop is the one that the bird will poop upon. The game is included in the documentary, and I found out there really is a Ginny, too, who runs the establishment. She was at the screening, along with Dale Watson. (I believe that's Ginny Kalmbach on the left in the above photo.)

SXSW Announces Its 2012 Features

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Somebody Up There Likes Me

SXSW announced its film lineup today, which is full of all kinds of features and documentaries. The big splashy Hollywood news is that the movie 21 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, will premiere at the fest as its Centerpiece Film. In addition, the closing-night film will be the music documentary Big Easy Express from Emmett Malloy.

One marquee movie with a Texas connection is the Dallas-set Killer Joe, reuniting Bug filmmaker William Friedkin and playwright Tracy Letts, and starring Matthew McConaughey (and that's not the only film he's in that will play SXSW). Other notable movies playing the fest include Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America, the Will Ferrell-starring Casa de mi Padre and Guy Maddin's Keyhole ... among many many others announced.

SXSW Film has no Lone Star States category this year, but the overall lineup of narrative and documentary features includes many local and state connections. We'll have a full list later this month of all the Austin and Texas features and shorts screening at the fest this year. In the meantime, here are some Lone Star-connected films that stuck out in today's announcement:

  • Gayby (Narrative Feature Competition)-- Jonathan Lisecki has expanded his popular 2010 short of the same name. It stars Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas (from the short) as well as Dule Hill and Samantha Buck. The cast also includes Austinites Alex Karpovsky and Anna Margaret Hollyman. Dallas-to-Austin filmmaker Clay Liford (Wuss) is director of photography.
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me (Narrative Spotlight, pictured at top) -- The latest feature from Bob Byington (Harmony and Me) will have its world premiere at the fest. The movie stars Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman (also in Casa de mi Padre), Jess Weixler and Kevin Corrigan. The cast also includes local actors Chris Doubek, Andrew Bujalski, Allison Latta, Anna Margaret Hollyman (also in Gayby) and Jonny Mars ... and once again, Bob Schneider as a wedding singer. The trailer is already available on the film's website

Join Us Tonight for Film. Food. Brew.

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Duff Beer at The Simpsons Feast

To celebrate our new partnership with Austin Film Society, Slackerwood and AFS are having a happy hour tonight and we hope you'll join us.

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 1 (tonight!)
Time: 6-8 pm
Location: Red's Porch, 3508 S. Lamar (in the back)

Many Slackerwood contributors will be there -- I'm not sure so many of us have been in one place at the same time before. We'll have snacks and beer, so get there before we run out. (Sadly, we won't have any Duff, I just thought that would grab your attention.) And a special thank you to Red's Porch and North by Northwest for sponsoring the event.

Slackery News Tidbits, January 30

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Here's the latest Austin film news:

  • Austin is getting a new festival -- not a film fest but a television festival, something new and a bit different. The ATX Festival will take place June 1-3 this year. The fest organizers are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise start-up funds, and some of the giving levels will earn you discounted badges for the festival.
  • One of my favorite films from Fantastic Fest 2010, Sound of Noise, is finally getting theatrical release in the U.S. soon thanks to Magnolia Pictures. The quirky movie about "musical terrorism" opens in limited release on March 9. No word yet about an Austin release date, but I hope they open it here at least a week later because, you know, SXSW. Read my review from Cinematical and you might understand why I'm excited and impatient.
  • Sundance ended this weekend but I still want to point you to this enjoyable profile in The New York Times of Austin filmmakers Nathan and David Zellner as they brought their feature Kid-Thing to Park City. I find it funny that the Variety review says the feature should be "potentially broadening their loyal fanbase," but the IndieWIRE review says it's "too irreverent for any kind of mass market." The movie will play Berlin Film Festival next and I hope SXSW after that (fingers crossed).
  • Local filmmaker Don Swaynos will also have a film at Berlin this year at the same time, although not at the same festival. His short Six Hundred and Forty-One Slates will premiere at the Berlin International Director's Lounge, which focuses on experimental film and media.

Hellion Sundance Chronicles #4 and #5: The Premiere

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The Hellion filmmakers have sent us another pair of web episodes from their escapades in Park City. Specifically, we're getting videos from E.J. Enriquez, who's actually shooting and editing them -- he also did some camera work on Hellion itself.

Episode 4 -- no, it's not titled A New Hope and you know I don't want to hear that kind of thing -- was shot at the world premiere of the short film at Sundance earlier this week. This video is a departure from the other chronicles in the sense that it's genuine and sweet and a little touching, as opposed to merely silly. I just want to give Kat Candler a big hug. It's the longest of the videos so far but still moves quickly.

Breaking News: Slackerwood and Austin Film Society Join Forces

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Slackerwood and Austin Film Society

I've always wanted to use "Breaking News" in a Slackerwood headline, and now I can, although of course the work behind this announcement has been going on for months. I'm so pleased to announce that Slackerwood will now be published by The Austin Film Society. The press release is reprinted in full after the jump.

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