Jette Kernion's blog

Fantastic Fest Final Lineup Includes Jeff Nichols' 'Take Shelter'

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FF09-Fantastic_Debates-dhill-240-_08D9217

It's a pleasure to announce that the final lineup of movies at Fantastic Fest this year will include a feature film from an Austin director. Take Shelter was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) and the post-production work was completed by local company Stuck On On.

This will be the Texas premiere for Take Shelter, which stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon and Kathy Baker. Victor Diaz at YNN interviewed Nichols at the Stuck On On office before the movie premiered at Sundance in January. Two other Austin-connected films are screening at the fest this year, both shorts.

The Fantastic Fest closing-night film also has Austin ties. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is produced by Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles (and Joss Whedon and Stan Lee, among others), and I suspect Knowles is actually in the movie. The documentary about San Diego Comic Con is directed by Morgan Spurlock. The closing-night party will have a superhero/fanboy theme to tie into the doc.

A Look at Texas Film Through the 2011 TFPF Projects

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Yakona

Last week, Austin Film Society announced the 2011 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund recipients, awarded a total of $92,000 in grants, film stock and services ... plus $7K for travel grants and $12K for the Slacker 2011 production, bringing the grand total to $111,000.

I always enjoy reading about the TFPF grants because they provide a sneak peek into upcoming movies from Texas filmmakers. Austin was well represented in this year's list, but exciting productions from around the state are included. Many of these productions held online crowdfunding campaigns; I've linked to the campaign web pages and recommend taking a look, because some of the teaser videos for these films are excellent.

Here are the Austin projects that received grants, with whatever info I could find about the filmmakers and their productions:

  • $7,500 to Computer Chess -- Andrew Bujalski
    Bujalski moved to Austin a few years ago and shot his feature Beeswax here. Now he's working on Computer Chess, a feature about what happens when chess nerds meet computer programmers in 1979. The movie is currently in production in Austin -- they've been looking for extras -- and had a successful crowdfunding campaign.
  • $7,000 plus $1,000 in Alpha Cine services to Yakona -- Paul Collins, Dean Brennan and Anlo Sepulveda
    Sepulveda directed the lovely Austin-shot Otis Under Sky, which played SXSW this year, for which Collins provided the sound design. Brennan is a San Marcos filmmaker. Yakona (pictured at top) is an experimental feature-length documentary about the San Marcos River and Spring Lake ... from the point of view of the river itself.

Slacker 2011: Paul Gordon Finds the Comedy

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Slacker 2011 from Paul Gordon

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF). As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project -- check out our interviews so far.

Today's interview is with Paul Gordon, whom you can see partially on the right edge of the above photo. Gordon is a local filmmaker whose features include Motorcycle (2006) and SXSW 2010 selection The Happy Poet (Jenn's review), in which he also starred. Gordon has also appeared in Mars and An Ordinary Family.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film did you reshoot?

Paul Gordon: I did Scene 8, in which a reclusive guy and his girlfriend discuss whether or not to go outside and do something fun -- such as go to the lake, or play frisbee.

Three Austin Indies Return for September Screenings

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Echotone

Three local movies that have been on the film-fest circuit are back in Austin next month for special screenings that we recommend you put on your calendar right now. Echotone and The Happy Poet are part of the Texas Independent Film Network series that brings Lone Star movies to various venues around the state, and My Sucky Teen Romance is one of Austin Film Society's monthly Best of the Fest selections.

More info on this trio of Austin indie films:

  • Echotone: Friday, September 2 at 7:30 pm at the AFS Screening Room -- tickets here AND Sunday-Thursday, September 11-15 at 10 pm at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar -- tickets here
    I first saw Echotone at its 2010 Marfa Film Festival premiere, an oddly appropriate place to watch a documentary about how Austin music, politics and development fit ... or don't. It screened again during Austin Film Festival at Alamo Ritz (Sixth Street being another apt place to watch this movie), where Debbie reviewed the movie for Slackerwood and I reviewed for Cinematical. Echotone looks beautiful (as shown in the above photo) and sounds great and I can't recommend it enough.
  • My Sucky Teen Romance: Wednesday, September 14 at 7 pm at Alamo Drafthouse Village -- tickets here
    Emily Hagins' third feature (all made before she graduated high school) is her best so far, a teen comedy set at a science-fiction convention where it's difficult to tell the real vampires from the conventioneers in costume. No, these vampires don't sparkle. Don Clinchy reviewed the movie at its SXSW 2011 premiere. You can also read Jenn's interview with Hagins pre-SXSW.

Slacker 2011 Filmmaker Interviews

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Here's a list of all our Slacker 2011 filmmaker and related interviews in one handy spot -- in the order in which their scenes appear in the movie.

Slacker 2011: Spencer Parsons Introduces an iPhone to the Fingerhut

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Slacker 2011 from Spencer Parsons

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF). As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project -- check out our interviews so far.

Today's interview is with Spencer Parsons, an Austin filmmaker who is currently working at Northwestern University in Chicago as an Assistant Professor. His work includes the feature I'll Come Running, which received two TFPF grants and played Austin Film Festival in 2008; and the short Once and Future Asshole, which played SXSW 2005 (the cast includes Chris Doubek and Jonny Mars).

An interesting aside: Kyle Henry is another Austinite teaching at Northwestern, and in 1999, Parsons edited Henry's short doc University, Inc., about the corporatization of The University of Texas ... which featured an interview with Linklater.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film did you reshoot?

Spencer Parsons: Scene 2.

Casting Call: Do You Look Like a Chess Nerd?

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Computer Chess clippingMore to the point, do you look like a late-Seventies chess nerd? Or a computer nerd? You know who you are, and now the Computer Chess filmmakers want to know who you are, too.

You might recall we mentioned Andrew Bujalski's feature Computer Chess recently because it successfully ran a crowdsourced funding campaign, raising more than $50,000 for production costs. The movie is about computer chess programmers and takes place at a tournament in 1979.

Now production is underway here in Austin. Bujalski and producer Houston King have put out a call for extras, starting with scenes being shot this weekend, through September. Extras will be paid in "snacks, meals and good times" and of course you get to be in a locally shot movie, which is cool right there.

If you think you can pass for someone from 1979 who hangs out at chess tournaments (as in the photo on the right), drop a line to computerchessmovie [at] gmail [dot] com and enclose your contact info and a photo of yourself. Best of luck!

[Photo courtesy of Houston King]

Slacker 2011: Amy Grappell Recaptures The Co-op Vibe

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Slacker 2011: in the Co-op

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF). As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project -- check out our interviews so far.

Today's interview is with filmmaker Amy Grappell, a native New Yorker who now lives in Austin. Grappell received a Texas Filmmakers Production Fund grant in 2009 for her short film Quadrangle, a personal documentary about her parents' partner-swapping experiences with a neighboring couple in the 1970s. The film won an honorable mention for short filmmaking at Sundance in 2010 and the jury award for Best Documentary Short at SXSW that year. You can currently watch the film on HBO Go.

Slacker 2011: Duane Graves Swelters at the G/M Steakhouse

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Slacker 2011 from Duane Graves

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF). As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project -- check out our interviews so far.

Today's interview is with San Antonio native Duane Graves. Graves and Justin Meeks have been making films together in Central Texas for about 10 years, starting with the horror short Headcheese in 2002. Their 2008 movie The Wild Man of the Navidad, shot south of San Antonio, played Fantastic Fest 2008 and is now available on DVD. Read on for more not only about their Slacker 2011 sequence but their latest project, the horror feature Boneboys.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film did you shoot?

Duane Graves: Justin [Meeks] and I did the scene outside/inside the G/M Steakhouse (Counter Cafe) where Happy-Go-Lucky-Guy (played in the remake by Justin himself) has a string of encounters with several nutty patrons.

Slacker 2011: The Zellners Drop Stuff from Bridges

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Slacker 2011 from the Zellners

In celebration of Slacker's 20th anniversary, local filmmakers are re-creating scenes from the Richard Linklater movie for Slacker 2011, a fundraising project benefitting the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF). As we await the August 31 premiere, we're chatting with some of the filmmakers participating in one or more of the short films that will comprise the project -- check out our interviews so far.

Today's interview is with David Zellner. David and Nathan Zellner are an Austin filmmaking team -- they're brothers -- who have brought us such comically twisted short films as Sasquatch Birth Journal 2, Aftermath on Meadowlark Lane and Quasar Hernandez (available online). They also wrote and directed the feature Goliath, which played SXSW in 2008 and is now on DVD.

Slackerwood: Which scene from the film did you reshoot?

David Zellner: The jilted boyfriend throwing his typewriter/tent off a bridge.

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