Jette Kernion's blog

IFC and B-Side Nab 'The Cassidy Kids'


According to this week's Austin Chronicle, the locally made feature The Cassidy Kids now has a TV and DVD distribution deal. IFC and B-Side will work together as part of their Choice Indies program: The TV division of IFC will broadcast the 2006 film, and B-Side will take care of DVD and video-on-demand through their website. I wrote about this partnership for Cinematical last September if you want details on how it works. I like seeing B-Side offer more films on video-on-demand because their downloads are DRM-free.

The Cassidy Kids was directed by Jacob Vaughan and produced/co-written by Bryan Poyser, who previously collaborated on Dear Pillow. The film was produced by Burnt Orange Productions, and premiered at SXSW 2006 -- you can read my review from that screening. I haven't heard much about The Cassidy Kids since then, apart from a few festival dates. It's an odd movie to sell: a subplot involving teenagers that would appeal to young adults, but the contemporary scenes where the teens are now grown up is very different, and some of the dialogue puts it squarely in R-rated territory.

No info on potential broadcast or DVD release dates yet -- if anyone from IFC or B-Side is reading this and has a press release, could you forward it to me? The Chronicle blurb is the only place I've found this news and I'd like details if they're available.

[Full disclosure: Slackerwood co-contributor Chris Holland works for B-Side, although he's not a source for this story.]

SXSW 2008: Have You Seen the Lineup?


The SXSW 2008 film festival lineup is out there now, except for the shorts, which I think get announced next week. I'm already making some lists and the schedule hasn't been posted yet ... hoping that the films I want to see aren't all scheduled opposite one another. I also haven't heard anything definite on venues but my guess is that they're the same as last year, with Alamo Ritz taking over for the old Alamo Downtown.

The lineup is chock-full of movies with some connection to Austin, some of which I've listed after the jump. These are just the Austin connections I'm making on the fly, I'm sure there are more. (Let me know what I missed.)

I'm still figuring out how much/what kind of SXSW coverage I'm doing for Cinematical (I know I'm reviewing some movies, but that's about all I know at the moment), but I am planning to beef up Slackerwood's coverage of SXSW regardless. In addition, we're planning to update last year's guide to SXSW venues, include some more guides about surviving the nine-day film festival, and ... well, I won't spoil it all in advance. Keep an eye out for some cool SXSW stuff, is what I'm saying.

If you're reading this and you're a filmmaker with a movie at SXSW that has some ties to Austin (you or your cast/crew live in Austin, or it was shot in Austin, etc.), please drop me a line ASAP because I'd like to talk to you. And possibly write about you.

'Harold and Kumar' and Other SXSW 2008 Films


I wrote an article for Cinematical on the latest news from the SXSW Film Festival: six more films announced, the best-known probably being Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. (The movie has forced me to learn how to spell "Guantanamo" properly.) I don't want to repeat myself, but I've got other things to say about the announcement that didn't quite work in the Cinematical article:

  • The other five films, in case you really are too lazy to click the link: Mister Lonely, Crawford, Battle in Seattle, The Promotion, and The Toe Tactic. Matt Dentler has posted summaries of all these films -- they're also all in IMDb except for Crawford, which I could not find a website for at the time. 
  • Speaking of Crawford, the documentary is locally made -- producer/director David Modigliani is an Austin filmmaker and playwright. A rough cut of Crawford ­had screened last September at Austin Film Society as part of their "Works-in-Progress" program -- in fact, finding that page was how I found the link to the Crawford website.
  • SXSW also announced three speakers who will participate in "Conversations" panels. Most news articles focused on two of the speakers: Helen Hunt and Michael Eisner. You know I was most interested in the third speaker: Harlan Ellison. Ellison seems to have a reputation these days for being a somewhat unpredictable public speaker, so I am trying not to get too excited (ask me sometime about the time I saw Russ Meyer in person, which was a sad lesson a la Dorothy Parker's "Glory in the Daytime"). But Ellison's "Watching" essays are what got me interested in writing about film in the first place, so part of me is hoping not to be disappointed.
  • The rest of the SXSW 2008 films will be announced on Feb. 5. My guess is that the Duplass brothers' film Baghead and the Zellner brothers' film Goliath (both shot in Austin) will be in the mix. Both features are playing Sundance next week. As Karina points out at Spout, there's a perfect opportunity here for a reprise of the "Zellner vs. Duplass" showdown screening from SXSW 2007.

By the way, SXSW is about to hold its big volunteer signup, if you want to see some of these movies or panels and can't afford a pass or badge. Crew signup takes place on Sunday, January 20 at the downtown Hilton.

Austin Premiere of John Sayles' 'Honeydripper'


Tickets go on sale Friday at noon for the Austin premiere of John Sayles' latest film, Honeydripper, screening at the Paramount on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Director John Sayles, producer Maggie R­enzi, and actor/musician Gary Clark Jr. will all be in attendance.

I've been looking forward to seeing Honeydripper for some time. The movie is set in rural Alabama in the 1950s and centers around a blues club, the Honeydripper Lounge. Besides Clark, the cast includes Danny Glover, Stacey Keach, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Keb Mo. Check out the official website for more info on the movie and some related videos (interviews with Sayles, etc.)

Austin Film Society has all the details on the events surrounding the premiere -- there are several different levels of ticket prices. The most expensive ticket (still only $25) gets you admission to an after-party at the Continental Club where Clark and Eddie Shaw will perform. A slightly cheaper ticket gets you into Antone's the next night for a concert with Clark, Shaw, Pinetop Perkins, and Hubert Sumlin. You also can buy tickets for the screening only, which range from $7-12 depending on where you sit. You have to buy tickets through the Paramount, so remember to tack on a few extra bucks to those ticket prices for various service charges and so forth.

I've heard Sayles and Renzi speak before (on an excellent panel at SXSW 2006 about regional indie filmmaking and Lone Star) and I can't wait to hear them at this upcoming Q&A.

Finally, I decided this week that I need to remember and m­ake use of YouTube videos that might be of interest, so here's the trailer for Honeydripper.



Will 'Burger Hut' Return to SXSW?


If you attended SXSW Film Festival in 2002 -- or if the culty word-of-mouth reached you later -- you may have heard about the Burger Hut film-fest house ads that year. You know how film-fest house ads can often be incredibly lame and annoying, especially if you have to watch them before 15 or more movies in a week? Apparently that didn't happen with the goofy Burger Hut ads. I wasn't th­ere in 2002 and I haven't tried to watch the ads 15 times in a week, so I can't vouch for t­his personally, but word gets around. People are very nostalgic about the Burger Hut.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can actually watch the old Burger Hut ads on YouTube. They were created by Dan Brown, Kent Osborne, and Mike Mitchell.

But if you do remember the Burger Hut ads fondly and wish that the SXSW house ads would return to those salad days, I have good news. Check out this blog entry from Matt Dentler, SXSW Film Festival producer, and guess what the house ads might be for SXSW in Austin this March. (Hint: That's Osborne in the second photo wearing the Burger Hut hat.)

I liked Joe Swanberg's house ads for SXSW 2007 just fine (Osborne was in those as well), and only one grew a bit annoying after awhile (the one with Greta and the mic, which I seemed to keep getting over and over again). So I'm glad to see that this year's house ads are likely to maintain (at least) the same level of interest.

SXSW Opening Night Film: 21


SXSW has sent us a New Year's gift: the film festival just announced its opening-night premiere, 21. The film is directed by Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) and stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jim Sturgess. No word yet on whether the director or any cast will be around for the premiere. I saw a trailer for this recently -- it's about MIT students who are lured into card-counting at Vegas casinos to pay off their college loans. The movie is based on a nonfiction book about similar real-life events. Looks pretty interesting, and I'm sure the Paramount will fill up quickly on March 7.

Other films in the festival lineup were also announced this week. You've probably seen trailers already for Run Fatboy Run, the Simon Pegg-starring comedy directed by David Schwimmer (yes, the one from Friends) and scripted by Pegg and Michael Ian Black. (Oooh, Hank Azaria is in it.)  There's also a heist film, Flawless, starring Demi Moor­e and Michael Caine.

I like to watch as many documentaries as I can during SXSW, especially those that might not see theatrical distributi­on later. You know I'm looking forward to the film about Harlan Ellison, Dreams with Sharp Teeth. Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Peter Gilbert directed another doc slated for the fest, At the Death House Door, about the execution of Carlos DeLuna. Finally, Wild Blue Yonder is also scheduled, in which Celia Maysles delves into the life of her documentary-making father David (as in David and Albert Maysles, who made Grey Gardens). SXSW Film Festival runs from March 7-16 this year.

Movies This Week: The Holiday Edition


Maybe your idea of a fun Christmas week doesn't include a lot of family gatherings, tree-trimming, or waiting in line to see the lights at Zilker. Maybe you'd rather be at the movies. If so, you've got some interesting choices for next week:

  • Tons of new movies opening in Austin this week: I've seen Juno, Charlie Wilson's War, Sweeney Todd, and The Orphanage (Alamo South). Cinematical published my review of Swe­eney Todd if you're interested. If those movies don't appeal, you also can see Walk Hard, The Great Debaters, The Savages (Arbor), National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
  • Over at the IMAX theater at Bob Bullock, Christmas is busting out all over. You can see the 3-D version of The Polar Express all week long, or a half-hour 3D animated film called Santa vs. the Snowman.

Weekend at Butt-Numb-a-Thon



Many people spent the past weekend shopping for Christmas gifts, or sending cards, or putting up a tree or festive lights. But a number of hardcore film geeks in Austin spent the weekend holed up in Alamo at the Ritz, watching 24 hours of movies, vintage trailers, clips from upcoming films, and even a TV episode. The ninth annual Butt-Numb-a-Thon packed the larger theater at the Alamo -- 13 of us were in the right-hand balcony, and we were all quite friendly quite quickly. (One of my favorite moments with the group was the domino effect with the milkshakes: One of us ordered a shake, and when it appeared, everyone else immediately had to get one for themselves.)

You can see the truly prepared BNAT-ters in the above photo, toting pillows and blankets to make sure they could sit in reasonable comfort in a theater seat for more than a day. I wish I could have taken some photos of BNAT itself -- the costume contest, the meat pies served during Sweeney Todd, and Tim League appearing in a rented wizard's costume (he inadvertently broke the staff) during the traditional showing of the trailer for Stunt Rock. But cameras and other electronic gizmos are banned from BNAT, which is good because you never hear someone's phone go off in mid-movie.

I wrote up all the details on the films shown and audience reactions for Variety's film-fest site, The Circuit. Check it out. Catching up on sleep afterwards sucked, but I had a wonderful time, and my husband even reaped some benefits ... he's been playing with the HD-DVD player given away to BNAT attendees this year, ever since I brought it home.­

Another Option for Tonight: Poultrygeist


I probably should have written up a whole Movies This Week post last night, but -- you know. December. Holidailies. No time. All that. Mea culpa.

However, I felt that even at the eleventh hour, I should let you know that Alamo Lake Creek is showing the latest masterpiece from the notorious Troma Entertainment studios, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, starting today. And if you decide to see this film at tonight's 7:30 pm showing, director Lloyd Kaufman will be on hand.

If you don't know anything about Lloyd Kaufman, check out this interview with him on Austinist. He sounds like he'd provide one of the livelier post-screening Q&As you might ever experience.

Poultrygeist will be showing nightly at Alamo Lake Creek all week long. Hey, it even has Ron Jeremy in it. How can you resist?

See 'What Would Jesus Buy' Tonight for Only $5


The documentary What Would Jesus Buy? had its world premiere earlier this year at SXSW. I am still regretting that I didn't get a chance to see the mo­vie in March. The film's subject, Reverend Billy, was at SXSW with his Church of Stop Shopping Choir, and apparently they were quite the hit. YouTube has a clip of Rev. Billy holding an impromptu protest at/around the Austin Convention Center during the festival. Morgan Spurlock's distribution company picked up the rights to the anti-consumer-greed film, and it's currently getting a limited theatrical release.

What Would Jesus Buy? returns to Austin this weekend for a run at the Arbor Great Hills, just in time to fight the frenzied shopping characteristic of the Christmas season. The Arbor has teamed up with Responsible Growth for Northcross (RG4N) to offer some special screenings and discounts as part of RG4N's fundraising efforts. Tonight (Friday), you can see the 7:30 pm screening of the doc for only $5 admission, with proceeds going to R­G4N. You also can visit the RG4N website for a coupon that gets you a discounted admission to the movie at any screening this weekend. RG4N has all the details here.

[Full disclosure: My husband is on the board of RG4N and we live in walking distance of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter development at Northcross.]­

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