Jenn Brown's blog

AFF 2010 Daily Dispatch: Day Four


After an abbreviated day yesterday, I decided to brave the Hair of the Dog Brunch, which I've never gone to before. Held at Ranch 616 on Nueces, it was simple Texas style fare, but ohhh, soo delicious. I think I found a new brunch spot. I could get addicted to their chorizo scrambled eggs and the shredded beef. Damn, that was good. And the crowds seemed happy, too, not just because staffers and volunteers were handing out Topo Chico mineral water to those waiting in line, but because as people finished eating, the musical chairs seemed to be a blessing, as people got to meet new people.

The Texas Film Commission folks were there, and I chatted with a couple of their staffers for a while, and who joined us, but Alfred Cervantes of the Houston Film commission, and then Andrew Lee and DE Ward of The Spirit Molecule. In our conversation, Andrew and I talked about indie film promotion and Andrew indicated that they hadn't worked out a complete plan on that yet for The Spirit Molecule, but just happened to mention that they had over 54,000 "likes" on ther Facebook page. I think you all would agree that if you have 54,000 fans on Facebook, you don't have to rush.

AFF 2010 Daily Dispatch: Day Three


Some people really know how to work a festival, including Slackerwood contributor Chris Holland, who also happens to be the author of Film Festival Secrets.  Another person is Mark Potts, whose film S&M Lawn Care is one of several of his films that have played AFF. Mark was on the "The $2 or the $200,000 Film: What You Need to Know" panel, which I was planning on seeing and missed, but thanks to Chris's tweets, it was almost like I was there. Check out the hashtag for #lowbudgetfilm that Chris used to get the gist of the panel, at least Mark's comments.

I made it to the Showrunner panel with Noah Hawley and Peter Murrieta, which was moderated by Andy Langer. I loved the analogy that a Showrunner is like a writer who's also a manager of a 7-11.  Sounds a lot like being a *gasp* manager. Only with assistants helping to avoid the other minions when you need a breather.

Austin Film Festival and Conference 2010 Film Competition Winners


Austin Film Festival has announced its winners today, and with no further ado, here they are: 

The Festival is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which means the award-winning narrative short and narrative student short films are also eligible for an Academy Award, so try to see them again in their encore screenings, and you just might have bragging rights to say "I saw it when it played AFF."

AFF 2010 Daily Dispatch: Day Two


Got a late start this morning, but that happens when you go to bed at 3 am. Started it off at Frank, with the guys behind S&M Lawn Care, all spiffy in their tuxedos and ready to have corndogs. Only the flapjacket that is corndog-ish is a cornmeal-based jacket, so it didn't quite carry the corndog theme, but that didn't deter us. And amazingly, the guys did not have any unfortunate food malfunctions and not a single stain on their crisp white shirts before they had to turn off to do the tech prep for their regional premiere of S&M Lawncare. From the picture above, you can tell that was quite a feat. The guys talked a bit about their world premiere with the Friars Club, and some of the unexpected interpretations of their mower driven comedy. Pictured above are Mark Potts, Cole Selix and William Brand Rackley. I haven't seen the final edit, but the early version I saw was hilarious, so I highly recommend you go see it when it plays again at the Ritz.

Movies This Week: Paranormal Hereafter


It's a very light week for new movie releases. However, a lot of films from earlier this year are holding their own in cineplexes all over town. And the last of the big local film fests for the year takes place this weekend, too, as the Austin Film Festival is in full swing. Don't forget to check out those films, many of which will have seats available for individual ticket purchase, which are playing at downtown venues as well as Alamo Lake Creek and Regal Arbor. 

Hereafter -- Clint Eastwood's latest features Matt Damon as a psychic with a screenplay written by Peter Morgan, the man who wrote The QueenThe Last King of Scotland, and Frost/Nixon. That trend veers just a bit, doesn't it? Elizabeth can tell you more in her review. (wide)

Paranormal Activity 2 -- The sequel to the horror film/marketing sensation Paranormal Activity from last year returns, this time with Oren Peli's concept taken over by Tod Williams as direct and Michael Perry as writer, and with the haunting of a family. Check back for Mike Saulters' review this weekend. (wide)

Jhootha Hi Sahi -- Bollywood comedy about a suicidal woman whose final call gives her pause. (Cinemark Tinseltown South)

AFF Review: Paradise Recovered


Storme Wood's debut feature film Paradise Recovered tackles secular freedom and spiritual fulfillment in the story of a young woman forced into finding herself.

Esther (Heather del Rio) is a young woman in service to the local pastor of a fringe Christian group. She's obedient and accepting of the life her church has planned for her until an unexpected encounter leaves her cast out into the world without a home, spiritual or otherwise. When Gabriel (Dane Seth Hurlburt) and his roommate take her in, they take it upon themselves to help Esther adjust to her newfound and unwanted freedom.

Andie Redwine's script could easily have been cliché-ridden, and while there are stereotypical characters, the focus is on Esther, and her self-doubts and much as her self-discovery and she tries to find balance between the world she used to know and her predetermined path and the greater world where she must forge her own future. The initial crisis of conscience that delivers Esther from her dreary life is just the beginning; Esther is more homeless than she initially appears. verything she valued and relied upon becomes suspect, but she's not able to completely abandon all of her beliefs.

AFF 2010 Daily Dispatch: Day One



Oh, how I need sleep, already, even though I only did a partial day for AFF Day One 2010. Of course, I started it right by going to the Opening Night Party at Speakeasy. I finally got to meet James Faust of the Dallas International Film Festival, pictured above on the right with Houston filmmaker Kelly Sears and her friend Gabriel (I apologize, I didn't get his last name).  Kelly is in town to show her short Voice on the Line, and James is a panelist/moderator this year, but I can't find where on the website. But I know he introduced one of the Ed Burns films tonight. I think he's doing another "working the festival circuit" type panel like he did last year with Chris Holland, which was very informative.

I had to leave the party early to see Bradley Scott Sullivan's I Didn't Come Here to Die, which played opposite the Opening-Night Film. I have a tradition of not seeing the Opening Night Film at most fests because the films opposite it don't get the same amount of attention and are usually well worth it. I Didn't Come Here to Die didn't disappoint. It's a small horror movie with no monsters, yet uses a series of unfortunate events to create a tense little drama, shot in central Texas, primarily Bastrop, Kyle and Austin.

I Didn't Come Here to Die plays again up at Alamo Lake Creek, and this is one that will get horror fans' tongues wagging about being able to create tension through very believable characters in real situations. Yes, some of the mishaps are based on real ones. And you can't beat the tagline of "Volunteer work is a real killer" especially when the organization is "Volunteers in American Generating Goodwill" (think acronym). Bradley is pictured below with William Seegers, who did the music on the film -- both of them have every right to be happy with the turnout for the second ever screening of this feature. 

AFF 2010 Preview: Austin Screens and Texas Scenes


Austin Film Festival takes the "Austin" part of its name seriously, with an entire category of local films. It may seem obvious that Austin-connected movies will be in the Austin Screens category, but those aren't the only local features you'll find at the fest. We've got all the features with Austin connections listed below. Debbie will be highlighting some of the Austin short films in a preview coming up soon.

Boxing Gym (directed by Frederick Wiseman. Regional Premiere) -- Just announced on Monday, this documentary is about as local as you can get, as it's about a gym up on North Lamar. Former boxer and gym owner Richard Lord and his boxing gym regulars are featured in Wiseman's testament to community institutions.

Burned: Life in and Out of Texas Youth Prisons (directed by Emily Pyle. Austin Screens) -- Two young convicts are the focus of this documentary that questions the wisdom of the current juvenile judicial system in Texas, where 50-75 percent of its "graduates" go on to serve prison time as adults.

Free/Cheap Movie Alternatives for the Festival Challenged


The Austin Film Festival pass is a steal at $50, as I pointed out this morning. For some people, that's still out of budget. However, that doesn't mean you have to sit at home and not see any movies except on your own TV or computer. Austin has a number of free/cheap options this week and next, whether you are short on cash, allergic to film festivals, or just want a variety of options to choose from. As a matter of fact, you could still see some of these movies while attending AFF. Just sayin'.

Austin Public Library Free Films. How film friendly is Austin? The libraries all over town run free movie series throughout the year. And several run today through AFF, just check them out below.

AFF 2010: Don't Pass on the Pass!



Bummed out that you didn't get a badge for Austin Film Festival at their cheapest and now you're priced out? Don't be. You have the opportunity to buy the deal of the year for film enthusiasts: the AFF Film Pass.

Let's do some simple math: At $50 (the current price), if you manage to see one film a night (8 films), you're only paying $6.25 per film, which is lower than most matinee ticket prices these days. Single tickets for AFF films are $10 at the Paramount and $9 at all other venues, so if you plan on seeing just six movies, its a deal. You know you'll see more than one movie on Saturday or Sunday; it's like snack chips, you can never have just one. And those are movies you're gonna want to see before everyone else, all those Oscar contenders, and high-buzz indies.

While a badge will get you in to the panels and all the parties, that little ticket-shaped pass will get you into nearly every movie you try to see. You still get to hear the post-film Q&As, and you may have an opportunity to meet the special guests in town to support their projects. You can still do quite a bit, and there are even some filmmakers who will opt for the pass (usually with the smaller movies when several people show up to support their film). So what celebrities might you be seeing this year? How about Edward Burns, Dax Shepard, Colin Hanks, Jon Gries, Jon Lovitz, Jeff Fahey, and D.B. Sweeney ... just to name a few. 

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