Jette Kernion's blog

AFS 'For the Love of Movies' Screening/Panel (Shameless Self-Promotion Edition)


For the Love of Movies posterI mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Austin Film Society is hosting a special screening of Gerald Peary's documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism with a panel of local film critics to discuss the film with Peary afterward. At the time, I didn't know who was on the panel, although I made a couple of guesses both publicly and privately. Interestingly enough, I was almost entirely wrong.

The panel, moderated by UT professor Tom Schatz, will include Marjorie Baumgarten from the Austin Chronicle; Korey Coleman from Spill; Cole Dabney, president of the Austin Film Critics Association; Charles Ealy from the Austin American-Statesman; and Jette Kernion from Slackerwood. Yes, I am on the panel. You can't possibly be more surprised than I was when I got the invitation. I'm pleased that AFS has put together such a varied group for the panel and I hope we'll have a lively time and that I won't say anything dumb.

The screening and panel will take place next Thursday, February 10, at 7 pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. You can buy tickets through AFS. You're all going to buy tickets, right? I can tell you're about to click that link and get some tickets right now.

I haven't seen For the Love of Movies since 2008, when Peary showed a rough cut to the Moving Image Institute in Film Criticism, which I was lucky enough to attend. So I'm looking forward to seeing the final version of this documentary. Some of it was shot at SXSW (I think in 2006?), so there's a bit of Austin in it. I can't wait for next Thursday.

Slackery News Tidbits, February 3


Here's the latest Austin movie news. If you make it through the whole list, there's a little reward at the end.

  • According to MTV (and Justin Bieber, oddly enough), Mike Judge's latest project is a return to TV and in fact to the MTV characters that launched his career in animation and filmmaking. That's right, Beavis and Butthead are back.
  • What are you doing Friday night? Don't you want to celebrate the joys of videotape? Of course you do, so head to Rio Rita Cafe for the opening of the "Rewind This! The Art of VHS" exhibit. The exhibit runs through February and includes paintings, illustrations, photos, poster art and sculpture you can enjoy ... and even buy. You can also purchase t-shirts and other apparel proclaiming your VHS love. This is a fundraiser for the locally made film-in-progress Rewind This!, a documentary about VHS and the people who still watch, collect and appreciate it. 
  • Over at the Austin Chronicle, Richard Whittaker provides clear and complete background on Texas film incentives and what could happen to them during the current state legislative session. 
  • A look behind the scenes at Alamo Drafthouse: Weird Wednesday programmer Lars Nilsen shares a print inspection report with us.

SXSW 2011 Film Lineup Announced


SXSW Film 2011SXSW Film Festival has just announced its 2011 lineup. We'll post a complete (we hope) list of all the Austin and Texas connections very soon, but in the meantime, you can read the full announcement here. The short films, midnight movies and SXFantastic films will be revealed next week, and the full panel/conference lineup on Feb. 15. SXSW Film Festival takes place from March 11-19 this year.

Immediately obvious Austin films: Heather Courtney's Where Soldiers Come From, in the documentary competition; Aaron Burns' blacktino, produced by Elizabeth Avellan and with a cast including Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey; Turk Pipkin's latest film Building Hope; Steve Mims' documentary Incendiary: The Willingham Case; and hey! Emily Hagins' My Sucky Teen Romance. Quite pleased to see Clay Liford's feature Wuss included too, since Jenn Brown just interviewed him; look for us to publish that very soon.

More quick notes: Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW, directed by Alan Berg, is in the music section of the fest; Being Elmo, about the little red menace of Sesame Street, will screen after a successful debut at Sundance (how I'd love to interview either Kevin Clash or Elmo himself); Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D; Monte Hellman's Road to Nowhere; Errol Morris's Tabloid.

Sebastian Gutierrez, who entertained a SXSW 2010 audience memorably after his print of Elektra Luxx broke, is back with Girl Walks Into a Bar; Greta Gerwig also returns to the fest, starring in Alison Bagnall's film The Dish & the Spoon. Nicolas Lopez, so charming at Fantastic Fest 2008 with his film Santos (produced by Avellan) is at SXSW with the U.S. premiere of Fuck My Life. Catherine Hardwicke will host a special screening of her latest film, Red Riding Hood. And The Cameraman with live accompaniment. And ... and ... and ...

AFF Teaming Up with Texas Book Festival


AFF 2010 logoI've really enjoyed Austin Film Festival's "Made in Texas" series, in which the fest screens Lone Star-shot films every month, often with the screenwriter or filmmaker in attendance. Now AFF is bringing the series back in 2011 and adding other great programming with help from the Texas Book Festival.

The 2011 Made in Texas series kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 16 with Hook and one of its screenwriters, James V. Hart. After a 6 pm "Conversations in Film" seminar with Hart at the AT&T Conference Center (on the UT campus), you can cross the street to the Texas Spirit Theater and watch the movie at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available through AFF for the conversation and screening. After the jump, check out a list of the rest of the series offerings scheduled so far.

On March 10, AFF and Texas Book Festival will co-host a special sneak preview of Jane Eyre at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, with details forthcoming. Director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) has been to AFF twice with short films: Kofi in 2003 and Victoria para chino, which won the Best Student Narrative Short, in 2004. AFF and TBF are also teaming up in July for a free screening of How to Eat Fried Worms, as part of AFF's Made in Texas Family Film Series.

I hope this means we'll see more screenings associated with the actual Texas Book Festival in November, too. In the past, the fest would have one or two movie events related to authors -- I had a fine time hearing Joe Bob Briggs talk about Profoundly Disturbing movies back in 2003, for example. In the past few years it seems that these movie-related events have decreased.

Slackery News Tidbits, January 28


Here's the latest Austin movie news:

  • Freestyle Releasing has announced that the SXSW 2010 movie Skateland will hit theaters in Austin, Houston and Dallas on April 1. The movie is set in a small Texas town in the 1980s, and although shot in Louisiana, the director, writers and producer all have Austin ties. Read Debbie's SXSW review or check out her photos from the fest of the movie's star, Ashley Greene.
  • Joe O'Connell has news about an adaptation of Turk Pipkin's story When Angels Sing, which will start filming in Bastrop shortly. The movie is being directed by Tim McCanlies with Elizabeth Avellan producing, and stars a variety of local and national well-known faces -- nearly all musicians, it seems. It looks like it could be one of those warm-hearted holiday films, but hopefully the excellent local production team will steer it away from potential treacle and sap.
  • The Long Center is screening the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks silent film The Mark of Zorro on Sunday at 4 pm in the big Dell Hall, with musical accompaniment by Rick Benjamin's Paragon Orchestra. I noticed on Twitter yesterday that if you enter the code "AFF" when buying your tickets, the tickets are discounted to $20 and $5 of that cost will benefit Austin Film Festival.
  • When Jenn and I wrote about Lovers of Hate for 2010 in Review, we both lamented the fact that Bryan Poyser's Austin-shot film was currently unavailable to watch. But we've just learned that you can rent the dark comedy from SundanceNow. Check out my SXSW review of the film to learn more about it.

Quick Snaps: Jason Eisener, Filmmaker with a Shotgun


Jason Eisener

Many people think of Sundance Film Festival as a place to watch rarefied, slow-paced indie films that may never make it to theater screens outside of Park City and maybe New York. And there may well be a few of those at the fest. But on the other hand, you have Hobo with a Shotgun, which is officially premiering at Sundance before Magnolia gives it a theatrical release later this spring. The movie is directed by Jason Eisener, shown above at Fantastic Fest 2008. He won an award for his Fantastic Fest bumper Report Card, and the award included, quite fittingly, a shotgun.

Hobo with a Shotgun may have been filmed in Eisener's hometown of Nova Scotia, but the movie has a number of Austin ties. It's based on a 2007 fake trailer that Eisener submitted to a contest sponsored by the movie Grindhouse ... and won. I saw the trailer (embedded after the jump) at its first public showing, in a SXSW 2007 panel Robert Rodriguez held on grindhouse/exploitation films. Alamo Drafthouse showed the Hobo with a Shotgun trailer before its Grindhouse screenings, as did some Canadian theaters.

Finding Austin in the Academy Award Nominations


John HawkesLast year, the Austin connections at the Oscars were easy to spot: actress Sandra Bullock and musician Ryan Bingham, both of whom brought home the little gold guys. This year, Austin is a little less obvious in the Academy Award nominations, but you can still find local connections if you poke around a bit. Let's hope some of these folks walk away with awards next month:

  • John Hawkes: Supporting Actor, Winter's Bone -- Hawkes (pictured at right) started his career in Austin before his role in this excellent movie, which played SXSW 2010. You can find him in a couple of Austin-shot movies, too: he's in Eve's Necklace and going back a few years, plays a liquor-store clerk in From Dusk Til Dawn.
  • Dogtooth: Foreign Language Film, Greece -- One of the film's producers is Athina Rachel Tsangari, a filmmaker who divides her time between Greece and Austin. She was an executive producer on Bryan Poyser's film Lovers of Hate, and her 1997 film The Slow Business of Going won a Texas Filmmakers Production Fund grant in 1997. Dogtooth played SXSW in 2010.
  • True Grit: 10 nominations including Best Picture and Directing -- This Western was partially shot in Austin, as well as in nearby Granger. In addition, co-director Joel Coen attended grad school at The University of Texas at Austin (after which he and Ethan Coen shot Blood Simple in Austin). (Mike's review)

Slackery News Tidbits, January 25


Well, we may not be at Sundance in Park City, but it's a beautiful sunny day with lots of Austin film news. Here's the latest:

  • Over at Austin Movie Blog, Charles Ealy is keeping an eye on how the Texas Legislature has been addressing film incentives during the current session. The House and Senate budgets as they stand now have an extremely severe cut in the tax rebates, allowing only $10 million for two years total. In addition, the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, headed by state Sen. Tommy Williams and Rep. Warren Chisum, would like to end the program that gives tax rebates to movies filming in Texas ("acceptable" movies, that is). 
  • The University of Texas is hosting a collection of short animated films, curated by local filmmaker Geoff Marslett. The Visual Arts Center (aka the old Blanton building) will project the films onto its windows in the evenings, so they're visible from the outside, from Jan. 28 through March 12. Stop by at 8 pm on Friday, Jan. 28 for the opening of this exhibit. You can stop by any time at night to watch -- the gallery doesn't have to be open -- and it's free. The 42 films include shorts by Marslett, by some of his UT students, and by other filmmakers such as PJ Raval, Don Hertzfeldt and Emily Hubley.
  • Filmmaker Kevin Smith announced at Sundance on Sunday night that he is self-distributing his latest movie, Red State. The Austin Film Society Advisory Board member said that he will take his horror film on a roadshow trip around the country starting next month, then the movie will go into wider release in October. Austin is one of the stops on the Red State tour, screening on March 28 at the Paramount with Smith and unspecified cast in attendance. Tickets go on sale to the public Friday through the Paramount website, ranging in price from $55-70 (pre-sale for donors   started today).

Slackery News Tidbits, January 20


Here's the latest Austin film news -- yes, there certainly seems to be a lot of it lately. I blame SXSW.

  • And let's start with SXSW, which has announced a special "Film Lounge" for SXSW Film badgeholders for this year's fest at The Hideout. I don't know whether the lounge will take up the entire two-story Hideout, just the theater area, or employ the upstairs rooms. It may mean that The Hideout is off-limits to film passholders and ordinary folks during the first part of the fest, and it may also mean that The Hideout won't be a venue this year for shorts collections put together by various groups, as has been traditional. We'll keep you posted as we get more information.
  • Looks like one of the movies screening at SXSW this year will be a documentary about SXSW, commissioned by the fest for its 25th anniversary.
  • Another film festival is going on this week: Sundance, in Park City. Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) is there with his latest feature, Take Shelter. Before the film even plays the fest, its distribution rights have been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The movie stars Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Kathy Baker.
  • Kobe Bryant is The Black Mamba? A Robert Rodriguez film? Matthew Odam has the scoop -- and the trailer -- over at Austin360.

2010 in Review: Austin Film, in Photos


Before we wrap up 2010 in review (you can read all the articles here), I wanted to share some of my favorite photos with you from local movie-related events. Click the photos for articles about them. Special thanks to Paul Gandersman for our Machete red-carpet photos (including the one below of Danny Trejo) and Tate English for the Dobie photo below. The other photos are mine, for better or worse.

TXFHOF 2010 #124

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