Chris Holland's blog

AGLIFF Presents "Tupperware" and the "My Gay Movie" Challenge

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Coupla news bites from the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival . . .

First up, aGLIFF presents the documentary Tupperware! at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown on December 10th, complete with a demo of the latest and greatest from Tupperware presented by a local T-ware rep. For a synopsis and more info check the Tupperware page on AGLIFF's site.

aGLIFF also presents the "My Gay Movie" (MGM) challenge, which not only throws down the gauntlet to filmmakers with a "queer sensibility," but also provides inexpensive "filmmaking workshops and access to cameras, computers, and editing software" in order to do so. There's no word (yet) on their site about what they're offering in the way of prizes, but even just the bragging rights are worth entering, especially if you already have a short produced. See the MGM Challenge page.

Austin Film Festival announces Audience Award winners

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If you've been to the Austin Film Festival, you're familiar with the little ballots they hand out after each screening. Those ballots get counted up by hand when the Festival's done, and the result is the AFF Audience Awards. (Sponsored this year by Time Warner/IFC, yo. I worked for the Festival this year so I feel obligated to shout out to the sponsors.)

I'll list them after the jump, but you can also click straight over to the AFF site to see a nice list with links to the individual film pages.

Borat scaled back - where to see it in Austin

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BoratIf you've been champing at the bit to see Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, you probably bought advance tickets to one of the Alamo Drafthouse's screenings. You will also need to get a refund for those tickets from the Drafthouse South Lamar and Village.

Due to an unexpected rollback from Borat's distributor, Twentieth Century Fox, screenings all over Austin were cancelled as the film's release at some venues has been postponed until next week. Included are Austin's cinema mainstays like the Alamo Lamar and Village though not, apparently, the Alamo Lake Creek. (I assume this is because the Lake Creek Alamo is under different ownership and management than the others, though why Fox would choose to keep the screenings at the Lake Creek and not the others is a complete mystery.)

Terror Thursday: Raw Force! and October film festivals

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Raw ForceIf anyone ever asks you what's so special about the Austin film community, take them to one of the free midnight screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. Terror Thursday is a good choice for horror fans, though Weird Wednesday is usually a better choice for those looking for the cinematically absurd as a form of entertainment. This week's Terror Thursday, however, was pure gold: Raw Force is a tour de force that combines cannibalism, the undead, kung-fu, and the '80s sex comedy in a way that can't help but delight. You can read my full review over at Blue Glow.

Fantastic Fest 2006 in Pictures

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Darren Aronofsky & Harry Knowles

Fantastic Fest 2006 is over, but you can check out my pictures and add your own over at the Fantastic Fest Flickr group. (Flickr is free and monkey-easy to use.) Above you see Darren Aronofsky and the omnipresent Harry Knowles after last night's screening of The Fountain, which I quite enjoyed. I'm still recovering but there will be more coverage of this year's FF films and events in the coming week right here on Slackerwood.

Fantastic Fest: Pan's Labyrinth and other Austin festival news

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Pans LabyrinthAmeliorating somewhat my lingering feelings of selfish bitterness at having to forgo Funky Forest in favor of Apocalypto, tonight's super-secret screening at Fantastic Fest at least had the advantage of being an actual genre movie: Pan's Labyrinth. Everyone in the audience seemed to know that we'd be seeing P.L. before they walked into the theater, and emcee Harry Knowles acknowledged that fact by calling it the worst-kept secret of the Fest. Knowles also delivered an amusing in-character version of an e-mail message from director Guillermo Del Toro who was unable to attend.

Pix from Fantastic Fest and few quick words

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Fantastic Fest 2006The Fantastic Fest screening schedule is kicking my ass, but I've taken a few decent photos for your perusal and here are a few super-mini-capsules up to tide you over until the next lightning round.

More pleasant surprises: Simon Says appears to be very, very bad in the first ten minutes but if you can jump on board it's one of the most entertaining flicks at the Fest. Crispin Glover wigs out for about ninety minutes as twin psycho killers Simon and Stanley, and the rest of the cast blunders around the movie like the cast of Scooby Doo 90210, minus the dog. Q&A with the filmmakers was both revealing and amusing.

The Host was probably the film I was looking forward to the most; you could probably have guessed that the co-founder of a site called Stomp Tokyo was ready to dig the token giant monster movie. The Host delivers on the giant monster action (think Graboids, not Godzilla) but it is a fundamentally different picture than the one I expected based on the trailers. I'm not as head over heels in love with it as emcee Matt Dentler professes himself to be, but it is a damn fine creature feature.

A late-night showing of Severance was probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise for me of the week thus far. An uncannily smart script combines with professional production and a talented cast to assemble the most satisfying horror film I've seen this year. It's being compared to Shaun of the Dead (mostly, I suspect, for its British origins) but for my money it's a better movie.

That's all I've got time for tonight but you can expect more thorough capsules of these and other Fantastic Fest flicks later this week.

Fantastic Fest Days 2 & 3: Lightning Round

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another craptastic cameraphone picture from Fantastic FestThe days are flying by faster than I can write about them -- with a noon to midnight screening schedule every day and a baby at home to care for overnight (my penance to my wife for leaving her with the nipper during the festival days), there's precious little time for writing. Here's a quick catch-up round of capsule reviews of what I've seen so far. I've mostly dispensed with plot synopses, but hopefully I'll be able to write about each film more thoroughly after the festival ends.

FF Super Secret Screening: Apocalypto

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So the super-secret added-at-the-last-minute screening was Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, with Gibson and the film's star in attendance. I feel so burned at having missed Funky Forest and so mystified that this historical action drama was presented at a genre festival that there's no way I could write objectively about it at this point. Suffice it to say my attitude towards surprise screenings has not improved. Fantastic Fest as a whole, however, is great. More tomorrow (later today) when I've had some sleep.

Fantastic Fest Day 1: Pleasant surprises, small disappointments, and some nudity required

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Charles Band makes me an executive producerAs with the inaugural event, Fantastic Fest is a test of the moviegoer's will and tolerance for sleep deprivation. There's no arguing that the second year of Austin's genre film blowout is bigger and badder, but some of the changes may not be as welcome as they were intended to be. More about that, however, after quick reviews of some of the flicks thus far. In this roundup of first-day films: Oculus, Haze, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and the Full Moon Travelling Roadshow.

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