Jette Kernion's blog

Quick Snaps: Wandering Seats from Hogg

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Hogg seats

I was walking around the UT Austin campus recently and passed Hogg Auditorium. Hogg is used as a classroom these days, but when I went to UT, the student union showed movies there. I wish I had a photo of the inside for you -- it looks more like a movie theater than an auditorium, and even has balcony seating. It's lovely without being too fancy.

For some reason, some of the theater-I-mean-auditorium seats were outside of the building. Were they being sent off for cleaning? I have no idea. But I took advantage of the opportunity to snap a photo. I don't think the seats have changed much since I used to sit in them for movies.

Hogg was never what you might call the latest greatest high-tech theater. It was notorious for the bats that would fly behind the screen sometimes. But I had one of my most memorable moviegoing experiences there, my first semester at UT. My long-distance boyfriend had just broken up with me, it had been a miserable weekend with a lot of crying in the dorm-room shower (the only private place possible), and for whatever reason, I decided to go see a movie to cheer me up. Hogg was showing one of my favorite movies ... Brazil.

AFF Announces First 10 Films in 2009 Lineup

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Harmony and MeAustin Film Festival is gearing up for the 2009 fest and screenwriters' conference, which takes place October 22-29 this year. They've just announced 10 films for the lineup, including Austin filmmaker Bob Byington's film Harmony and Me.

The comedy (pictured at right) has played a number of film fests this year, including CineVegas, LAFF and Traverse City Film Festival ... but not Austin yet. The cast includes Justin Rice (in the title role), Kevin Corrigan, now-local filmmaker Alex Karpovsky, musician Bob Schneider, and other Austin-area actors and filmmakers.

Robert Townsend's documentary Why We Laugh will also play the fest -- I caught a glimpse of Townsend at AFF last year and am glad to hear he's returning. (I'd share my photo of him but it's essentially a blur; he's a fast walker.) The documentary Tales from the Script, about screenwriting, is most appropriate for a film fest that has always had a focus on screenwriters.

Slackery News Tidbits and Treats

Austin Studios Open House, by leiabox on FlickrThe Austin film community news this week is dominated by the Austin Studios/Soundcheck Austin issue (see below), but a few other interesting bits of news are out there as well. If I missed anything, feel free to post news in the comments.

  • KXAN has a story about the Austin Studios lease for Soundcheck Austin, which is going before the Austin City Council on Thursday. Michael Corcoran also has a good thorough article in the Statesman. In addition, Austin Film Society has posted a Soundcheck Austin sublease fact sheet. The City Council meeting on Thursday should be interesting.
  • Check out Victor Diaz's story for News 8 Austin about the Texas Filmmaker Production Fund awards, which includes an interview with local filmmaker David Modigliani about his upcoming documentary, 61 Bullets.
  • The first official stills from Austin-shot horror film Red, White and Blue are now available on Fangoria. Debbie, were any of those pictures set in your house?
  • The South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery is now showing movies outdoors on selected evenings at 8:30 pm. Their schedule of upcoming movies includes a time-travel series: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (Thurs. 8/27), the Back to the Future trilogy (8/28-30), 12 Monkeys (8/31), Time Bandits (9/1) and Groundhog Day (9/2). [via Austin360]

Candid 'Machete' Photos Catch Glimpses of Stars

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Machete

If you spend time on Twitter, or Facebook, or have friends who like to share a lot, you may have noticed  a lot of people in downtown Austin spotting location shooting for Machete, Robert Rodriguez's latest feature currently in production. Or maybe you're one of the lucky people spotting the cameras and celebrities yourself. Since the cast includes some big-name stars (at least for Austin), it seems like more people than usual are interested.

Even if people don't know the movie by name, I'm seeing tweets like "OMG I am less than 20 feet away from Robert De Niro!" "There's a film crew across the street from my office, anyone know why?" Filming has been spotted at the Stephen F. Austin, at Congress and 11th, near the downtown Whole Foods, and in other downtown locations. Some bystanders have been taking pictures -- you can see the occasional iPhone snapshot on Twitter, but I've been able to find something a little better.

Hunting the Snark, a local gossip/celeb blog, has been following the Machete shoot closely. They linked to some photos that I traced to their source: JessicaAlba.net. The Jessica Alba fan site generously gave me permission to post a few photos from their very large set of images snapped near the Aug. 17 location shoot for Machete. They also have an article of their own about the photos.

Introducing the Slackerwood Event Calendar

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SXSW 2007: Grindhouse double-featureIf you heard our most recent podcast (go listen!) or have been paying attention to the changes in the sidebars on this site, you may have noticed that Slackerwood now has an Event Calendar. If you didn't notice ... well, that's why I'm writing this.

We're hoping to include as many local film-related events as possible in the Event Calendar: movies, meetings, festivals, classes, and special events. You can view a list of the events that are just about to happen in the right sidebar, or check out a whole month's worth at a glance.

Please let us know what you think in the comments. Also, I hope you'll contact us if you are hosting or involved with an event you'd like us to include.

Thanks again to Chip Rosenthal, our website developer, who recently installed and configured the Event Calendar as well as our Amazon Store, the marquee graphic in the left sidebar and for those of us writing for this site, a nifty text editor so we can write faster and bring you more, better articles.

Quick Snaps: Goldthwait and Sabara at 'World's Greatest Dad'

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World's Greatest Dad in Austin

Last week, almost at the last minute, my husband and I decided to catch a special screening of Bobcat Goldthwait's latest film, World's Greatest Dad, at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. We had toyed with the idea of watching the movie at home through Amazon Video on Demand ... but Goldthwait would be attending the Alamo screening, so we couldn't resist. We both enjoyed his previous film, Sleeping Dogs Lie, and I was interested to hear him in person.

It was an evening of surprises. First, Goldthwait said he wanted to show his latest work in progress before the film. Before I could get excited about the possibility of a huge scoop, however, the footage appeared onscreen and I was laughing too hard to care. It was a short film from the 1930s that, as Goldthwait explained afterward, is called a "Barkie" because the cast is all dogs who are dressed as people, trained to walk on their hind legs and dubbed with human voices. Barkies are primarily old-fashioned melodramas or gangster films. Jules White, who directed many Three Stooges shorts, also directed a lot of Barkies. I love learning film history in the most unexpected places. (Felt sorry for the dogs, though -- there were no agencies for humane animal care monitoring moviemaking in the Thirties.)

TFPF Grants Provide a Sneak Peek into Austin Film

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Zellner BrothersAustin Film Society has just released the list of grant recipients for the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund grants this year. The total amount to be awarded in grant money and products/services is $102,000, with an additional $10,000 in travel grants for Texas filmmakers who travel to major film festivals.

The list includes a number of familiar names on the list as well as some interesting new filmmakers. And the really cool thing about this list? It's a tantalizing sneak peek at what we might be seeing from Texas filmmakers in the next year or two. For example, I've been wondering what Kyle Henry's been doing after his film Room, which premiered at Sundance in 2005, and now I know he's working on Fourplay, a four-shorts-in-one feature ... for which he received a $7,000 grant.

Zombie Girl: The Movie, the documentary about young filmmaker Emily Hagins, is available on SnagFilms for free this week ... and the doc's co-director Eric Mauck just received a $7K grant for his next film, The Road to Livingston, about family members visiting death-row inmates. He and Chelsea Hernandez are co-directing The Road to Livingston and received the award together.

Slackery News Tidbits: The Musical

Danny Trejo, by Dana Gonzales on FlickrAustin film-related news does seem to have a definite musical theme going this week. Or maybe I'm just stretching the point to justify the above title? I do have a whole lot of movie news today, some of which has nothing to do whatsoever with music, but you can always sing while you're reading or play some nice show tunes in the background.

  • A small paragraph in the Arts: Casting Call section of the Austin Chronicle provides us with the news that Salvage Vanguard Theater and Doctuh Mistuh Productions are planning to stage Evil Dead: The Musical in Austin in the near future. They're still holding auditions this week, so contact Elle Mahoney at stylelle [at] gmail [dot] com for details. I'm looking forward to seeing this very curious theatrical production when it opens: Ash! He sings, he dances, he uses a chainsaw!
  • The celebrity-spotting related to Machete shooting in Austin has already started. Several people, including our own Jenn Brown, spotted Danny Trejo (pictured at right) catching a movie at Alamo Ritz over the weekend. In addition, Austin Metblogs' Tim Trentham got a peek at Tom Savini while at the Paramount watching Forbidden Planet. Obviously if you want to see the coolest cast and crew from Robert Rodriguez's production, you should go to the movies. (I know my audience: I bet most of you would rather see Savini than Lindsay Lohan.)

Mistress of Slackery News Tidbits

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Elvira Alamo DraftHouse 7/29/09 by PhotographLayne on FlickrLet's start Monday morning with various news items you might have missed lately:

  • Congratulations to the documentary Winnebago Man, which just won the Founders Awards at Traverse City Film Festival. One of the film's producers is Austin's Joel Heller (I got this news from his Facebook feed). Local filmmaker Bob Byington (Harmony and Me) also took home an award from Michael Moore's film fest, but I don't have details yet (I got that news off Twitter; thanks Karina!).
  • Yet another reason not to leave town: MovieMaker magazine's 2009 list of "25 Coolest Film Festivals" includes Fantastic Fest and South by Southwest.
  • If you missed the Elvira screening at Alamo Ritz last week, PhotographLayne on Flickr has a set of photos of the actress from the event, including the one pictured at right.

Quick Snaps: 'The Collector' Filmmakers at Ritz

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The Collector at Alamo Ritz

Last week, I headed over to Alamo Ritz for a preview of the horror film The Collector, which opens in Austin this Friday. The movie is opening too early to play Fantastic Fest, so the festival decided to screen it separately, in conjunction with the website Horror Squad. Writer Patrick Melton and co-writer/director Marcus Dunstan were there to introduce the film and answer questions afterward.

The Collector is Dunstan's directorial debut, but he and Melton have scripted all three Feast films as well as the fourth through sixth Saw films. The above photo is from the pre-movie intro with Tim League and the two writers. Horror Squad editor Scott Weinberg moderated the Q&A. [Disclosure: Horror Squad is the sister site of Cinematical, where I'm a contributor.]

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