Jette Kernion's blog

Quick Snaps: Austin Studios Re-Opening Party

Rodriguez and Linklater

Last night, Austin Studios threw a big bash to celebrate the grand re-opening of their newly renovated facilities. The party started with a ribbon-cutting and christening ceremony for one of the redone studios.

Rebecca Campbell, executive director of Austin Film Society, started things off with some details about the renovations, but all eyes were on the two guys who would be performing the ribbon-cutting: Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater. Well, some eyes were off to the right to notice local actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights), who sat next to Austin City Council member Brewster McCracken. (She's not in the photo below, but look for her in her leopard-print coat in subsequent photos.)

Movies This Week: January, Begone


January is possibly the crummiest month of the year for new releases in movie theaters, although in smaller cities like Austin we do at least get some of the Oscar contenders this month, so it's not too terrible. In which case, February would be the worst month ... I don't want to think about it. Let's look on the bright side and see what kind of good stuff is playing around town this week.

  • Alamo Kids Club is showing The Adventures of Baron Munchausen for free at noon on Saturday at Alamo South Lamar. It's not Terry Gilliam's best movie by any means, but if you're going to see this film, see it in a theater where you can enjoy all its lavish big-screen gorgeousness. Hopefully the smaller children won't get restless and distracting.
  • If you happen to be near Waco on Saturday instead, head over to the WISD Playhouse Theater for a screening of the documentary Six Man, Texas that will benefit a rural school scholarship program. Details on the film's website.

2008 in Review: My Favorite Photos


I bought a new camera nearly a year ago, could you tell? Suddenly you could actually figure out who the people were in the photos I took in dark movie theaters. And now I've got lots of photos to share that I took during Austin movie-related events in 2008. I started an entry that turned out to be huge and unfocused, so I've broken it up into several sections. Today we'll start with my favorite photos of well-known actors and other film-related people. My very favorite is the one at the top -- Morgan Fairchild and ZZ Top at the Texas Film Hall of Fame. But I took a few more that night that I also liked.

Austin Jewish Film Festival Starts This Weekend


In case you hadn't realized -- or you're like me and time just slipped by and you lost track of it -- the Austin Jewish Film Festival begins Saturday night and runs through next Friday, January 30. Most of the films are screening at Arbor, with a few also playing on the UT campus, at Texas Hillel, and even in Georgetown.

You can still buy tickets for the opening-night films at the Arbor: Someone to Run With (with the screenwriter in attendance) and Emotional Arithmetic. AJFF also has film badges and passes available. The whole festival has a nice mix of films, and there's nothing much good opening in theaters this weekend, so why not check it out?

Quick Snaps: Pre-'Humpday' at SXSW 2008


Congratulations to Lynn Shelton, director of Humpday, which has been generating all kinds of good buzz at Sundance this week. Everyone seems to be talking (okay, blogging or Twittering) about the movie, starring Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as best-friend straight guys who ponder whether to have sex with one another as part of making a porno film. (Comparisons to Zack and Miri seem to be inevitable.)

Variety's film-fest blog The Circuit just reported that Magnolia Pictures has bought the worldwide distribution rights for Humpday, and plans to release the film in U.S. theaters starting in August. Unless Magnolia has some weird release strategy that will keep the film out of more festivals, my guess would be that we'll get the chance to see this movie at SXSW in a couple of months. Or so I hope.

The above photo is from last year's SXSW festival. Mark Duplass, on the far right, was there with Baghead; Shelton, next to him, premiered her film My Effortless Brilliance. I felt very lucky when I took this photo back in 2008; I feel especially fortunate that I can share it again now that Humpday is gathering so much attention.

Movies This Week: Catching Up


We haven't had a Movies This Week in awhile, so why wait? Let's see what's out there. The film elite may be at Sundance this week, but Austin is a lot warmer and you don't have to rush around to see good movies. A few are even free.

  • The time-travel suspense thriller Timecrimes opens today at Alamo Village. I reviewed this clever, low-budget movie when it played Fantastic Fest in 2007, and enjoyed it very much. That's writer-director Nacho Vigalondo in the above photo, dancing with Tim League at FF '07.
  • Austin Film Society is hosting a free screening of the doc Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountain on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 11 am at Alamo South Lamar. It's first-come, first-served for tickets.
  • Have you heard yet about the Office Space 10th anniversary screening on Sunday, Feb. 8 at the Paramount? Tickets go on sale at noon Saturday through Paramount's ticket service, (yay, excessive service charges!). Mike Judge and cast members to be named later -- Gary Cole and David Herman have been confirmed so far -- will be at the event, which is co-sponsored by SXSW and Fantastic Fest. How many chances do you get to see this movie with 1200 other people?

Diary of a BNAT Survivor, Part Two


When we last left my BNAT Diary, I had returned to Metropolis with the loud crazy 1980s soundtrack, feeling hungry but not too tired.

12:05 am: For reasons I cannot understand now, I order a steak sandwich. At midnight. I forgot that I'm not the kind of person who can munch steak sandwiches and fries with impunity in the middle of the night. Fortunately I am the kind of person who keeps antacids in her purse. (Note to Alamo: It would be really super-cool to offer cold cereal and milk after, say, 10 pm.)

12:15 am: Metropolis ends and Harry compares False Evil Maria to Sarah Palin. "So far this BNAT seems fairly rebellious." (This turns out to be a hint.)

Diary of a Butt-Numb-a-Thon Survivor, Part One


Once again, I survived the 24-hour-long movie marathon known as Butt-Numb-a-Thon, earlier this month. I wrote a lovely news-like article about BNAT for The Circuit, Variety's film-festival blog. If you want to find out which films were shown, that's the place to look. But there are some details that The Circuit readers probably would rather not know, or don't care about.

This year I decided to take notes on BNAT in diary form. Here are the scribbles from my notebook, with some enhancements. I'm also including photos -- you can't take photos at BNAT, so I used photos taken earlier that morning, or used stills from the movies shown.

11:00 am: Arrive at Alamo on South Lamar. The Alamo folks have set up a registration/pick up/standby area in one of the vacant stores on the other end of the strip mall. I get my badge and giant swag bags, then run back to the car to store everything. Back at the car, I grab a blanket roll and an extra sweater.

Tonight: Austin Underground Film Fest


Austin Underground Film FestIf you're looking for something to do tonight that does not involve shopping, elves, eggnog, and that sort of thing, you might want to head over to Salvage Vanguard Theatre for the Austin Underground Film Festival (AUFF). You can get tickets at the door, and the event includes not only live music but about 30 short films from local and international filmmakers, including animator Don Hertzfeldt.

That Austin Girl recently interviewed AUFF founder Andy Gately about the fest and how it's changed in its three years. Gately's response on why you should go tonight: "Instead of popcorn we'll have falafels. We'll also be giving away free bongs, porn, massages, gift certificates, and Live Oak beer. And all of it's locally-made. Except the porn." Convinced yet?

Austin Film Critics Awards, from 'The Dark Knight' to 'Crawford'


The Austin Film Critics Association announced their 2008 awards today. The Dark Knight cleaned up with five awards, including Best Picture. Check out a list of all the awards after the jump.

The last award on the list is most relevant to this site: Best Austin Film went to David Modigliani's documentary Crawford, about the Texas town where President George W. Bush bought a ranch. Crawford premiered here in Austin this year at SXSW, and I interviewed Modigliani beforehand. I also reviewed the film for Cinematical. It's currently available to watch for free on Hulu, and also is on Netflix Watch Instantly.

Speaking of Austin and film festivals, I would venture to guess that if it weren't for Fantastic Fest, a lot of us might not have been exposed to films such as Timecrimes (winner of Best First Film) and Let the Right One In (winner of Best Foreign Language Film).

This is my first year as a member of Austin Film Critics Association, and the process was very exciting. I'm pleased that we picked such an interesting variety of movies, filmmakers and actors.

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