Debbie Cerda's blog

Slackery Booze Tidbits, January 23


Blood Sweat Beer posterA few more film-and-alcoholic-beverage news items and upcoming events came to my attention after this month's Film on Tap feature, so I thought I'd share them:

  • The Alamo Drafthouse announced last week that the grand opening date for "Alamo Slaughter," their newest theater located at Mopac and Slaughter Lane, will be Thursday, March 22. The eight-screen theater will feature an adjacent stand-alone cocktail lounge named 400 Rabbits, which along with their full selection of fine spirits will offer a plethora of tequila-centric drinks and Latin American-inspired food creations. Alamo Drafthouse is offering an advance taste of the menu with a special tequila-paired five-course dinner Saturday, February 4, at The Highball, that has already sold out. Stay tuned for other preview events.
  • Alamo Drafthouse also announced last week that the fifth annual Off-Centered Film Fest will take place April 19-21, 2012. Co-hosted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, this annual event is a three-day festival for beer and film lovers. Submissions are being accepted for the short film competition, and the theme this year is "Western, Off-Centered." Rules and submissions instructions are available here, and the deadline is Monday, March 5. New to the fest this year is an audience award, with film submissions available for viewing and voting prior to the awards ceremony.
  • The Paramount Theatre is hosting a Shaun of the Dead Pub Run + Screening on Tuesday, January 31, with a pub run at 6 pm and screening at 7:30 pm. The 1.1 mile jog from the Paramount to the Texas State Cemetery and back shouldn't be too tiring, but if you're dying of thirst Hops & Grain will be available at the pit and final stop. Proceeds benefit Team Spiridon and the Paramount Theatre. A $15 ticket will get you film admission, complimentary Hops & Grain beer, a limited edition Austin Marathon messenger bag, small popcorn -- plus a BLOOD SWEAT BEERS specialty t-shirt for the first 50 people to arrive. Register online here.

Film on Tap: Beer Docs Shooting in Austin


Adelberts Beer

Film on Tap is a column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.

Film and beer have not intersected as much in the Austin community as they have in the past month. Two film crews recently made the rounds to brewpubs and breweries in Central Texas to document the history, culture and challenges of our local brewing industry.

Chris Erlon, founder of local post-production audio studio Digital Domain of Austin, is sharing his love of craft beer by documenting Austin's growing microbrewery movement in his film project Brewed in Austin. You can see him in the above photo interviewing two of Adelbert's Brewery founders, brewer Scott Hover and general manager Greg Smith. The local production will cover the Austin craft beer movement from the history of craft brewing in Austin to a new brewery on the block, South Austin Brewing Co.

The student filmmakers behind Beer Culture, a documentary about the Denver craft brewing industry, are broadening their scope in their latest project, Crafting a Nation. This feature-length documentary is being shot around the country to tell "the story of how American craft brewers are re-building the economy ... one beer at a time," including regions in Oregon, California, Texas, Colorado, Missouri and North Carolina.

2011 in Review: Debbie's Favorite Photos


John Corbett, Jon Gries and Tara Novick

Here's a collection of favorites from photos I took at 2011 Austin film festivals and movie-related events, including the one above with John Corbett, Jon Gries and musician Tara Novick. The underlying theme of all of these photos would be that of serendipity, being at the right -- and sometimes wrong -- time but always being at the right place to capture the magic and infectious nature of Austin's film community and festivals.

Click the photos to find out more about them.

Their Holiday Favorites: Graham Reynolds Loves 'Punch-Drunk Love'


Punch Drunk Love still photo

We're wrapping up Their Holiday Favorites, in which members of the Austin film community tell us about movies they enjoy watching during the holiday season. Today's selection is from local composer and Golden Arm Trio bandleader Graham Reynolds.

Reynolds creates, performs and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs and concert halls with collaborators ranging from Richard Linklater to DJ Spooky to the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Reynolds' music has been heard throughout the world on stage, film and television, from HBO to Showtime, Cannes Film Festival to the Kennedy Center, as well as radio including BBC and National Public Radio. His score to the 2006 Linklater movie A Scanner Darkly was named Best Soundtrack of the Decade by Cinema Retro magazine. His awards include the Lowe Music Theater Award, four Austin Critics' Table awards, an Amp Award, five Austin Chronicle Best Composer wins, as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts for several projects.

Reynolds will be featured in the upcoming documentary Nemesis Rising, due to his involvement with the Intergalactic Nemesis Project. In 2011 he also had twin CD releases of "Three Portraits of Duke Ellington," a triptych of band, strings, and remixes in tribute to and inspired by the seminal composer-bandleader, and "The Difference Engine," a triple concerto for violin, cello, piano, and string orchestra. Here are his thoughts on a critically acclaimed film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman:

"I don't have a movie or set of movies that we watch over the holidays, but Punch-Drunk Love is one that we watched all together a few Christmases ago. Great sound design, great soundtrack, beautifully shot, and smart, quirky, and funny. Plus everyone's always shocked that Adam Sandler was in a good movie."

Their Holiday Favorites: Brian Satterwhite and the Music of 'Edward Scissorhands'


Edward Scissorhands

Their Holiday Favorites is a series in which members of the Austin film community tell us about movies they enjoy watching during the holiday season. Today's selection is from film composer Brian Satterwhite (Artois the Goat) whose work on the local project "Cell: The Web Series" was nominated for Best Original Score in this year's IAWTV Awards (honoring web programming). Satterwhite's "Cell" compositions really set the tone and engaged me emotionally. Don't miss the brilliant and compelling score he created for Man on a Mission, which is scheduled to be released in theaters and VOD on January 13, 2012. Here are his thoughts on a certain Tim Burton movie:

One of my favorite holiday movies is Edward Scissorhands (1990). Aside from being the film (and the score) that made me want to become a film composer, this modern-day fairy tale evokes many of the emotions, sounds and images I crave at Christmastime.

What is especially appealing to me is how successful the music is at painting such an overt wintery landscape even though the actual setting of the film takes place in a rather tepid climate. There is really no visual evidence to support the chilly crisp air the music is constantly evoking. This creates a miraculous component to the narrative when it's revealed that one of Edward's hidden talents is ice sculpture. This notion reaches its climax when Kim (Winona Ryder) dances underneath Edward's ice shavings as he passionately toils above her on a new sculpture which is revealed to be a portrait of Kim.

Ready, Set, Fund: Nemesis Rising


Heroes of Old Hickory Happy Vet

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects. Contact us if you've got a film fundraising project going on you'd like us to know about.

This month marked the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, and December 7 is recognized as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to honor those who died during the attacks. The number of remaining World War II veterans who can recount their stories is dwindling, including American veterans from Texas.

Local filmmaker Lew Adams is racing against time to document one of the last unknown stories in the film project currently funding through Kickstarter, Heroes of Old Hickory. Adams is capturing the untold story of the 30th Infantry Division, featuring true accounts from American veterans -- seen above visiting one of the towns they liberated -- from San Antonio, Austin and other parts of Texas and the US as well as the Europeans they freed. The 30th Infantry Division was top-rated in the European theatre of operations in terms of overall combat operations and effectiveness. Despite being recommended for the Presidential Unit Citation by SL Marshal and General Eisenhower, the 30th Infantry Division never received their Presidential Unit Citation.

The goal of Heroes of Old Hickory is to ensure that the 30th Infantry Division veterans' story is told and that they are awarded their citation. Considering the men's ages (now in their late 80s and 90s) and the time required to complete the final scenes, screenwriting, music, narration, research, collecting the WWII footage, and complete the editing -- time is running out. The filmmakers are attempting to raise $360,000 by Sunday, January 22.

Check out more local movie projects in need of funding after the jump.

Film on Tap: 3, 2, 1 Lift-off!



Film on Tap is a column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.

One of the newest local breweries is Austin Beerworks, located in North Austin. This microbrewery blasted out this summer with a firm grasp on the sparsely populated canned craft beer market, winning a silver medal in the English-style summer ale category at the Great American Beer Festival for their Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale. Austin Beerworks has redefined the term "river beer" --  beer that will quench the thirst while floating down the Guadalupe and adhering to the no-glass restrictions. No more "sex in a canoe" beer of American light lager selections, but instead a more diverse selection of beer styles is available for packing in on camping and float trips.

A growing trend in the craft beer industry is collaboration beers, whether between brewers or local businesses. Austin Beerworks brewer Will Golden is a friend of local filmmaker Mike Woolf of Beef and Pie Productions, and a fan of Woolf's documentary Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission (my review). To commemorate beer for the movie's theatrical release in January, the brewers including Michael Graham (seen above) decided to create a Russian Imperial Stout aptly named Sputnik, after the first artificial satellite launched into orbit by the Russian space program. During my SXSW 2010 Spotlight interview with Woolf, I learned he also homebrews and so was naturally enthusiastic about collaborating with Austin Beerworks.

Review: Project Nim



Long before my college studies of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology at University of Texas in the 90s, I was fascinated by the research of primatologists. Perhaps it was the story of Koko, the gorilla who communicated through American sign language (ASL) that I found appealing, but later it was the field research of Diane Fossey and Jane Goodall that piqued my interest.

Controversy has plagued primate research for decades, with the most prominent issues being that of "humanizing" primates by taking them out of the wild and placing them in human environments -- or worse yet, subjecting them to the cruelty and isolation of animal testing.

Academy award-winning director James Marsh (Man on a Wire) brings these controversial topics to the screen in his latest film, Project Nim, which has made the Academy shortlist for Best Documentary. The movie was released earlier this year but returns to Violet Crown on Friday for another theatrical run.

'Hellion,' 'Fourplay' and More Lone Star Films at Sundance


Kat Candler with Carla L. Jackson and Kelvin Z. Phillips of A Swingin' Trio

Kat Candler (Jumping Off Bridges, Cicadas) is a familiar face in the Austin film community -- whether as a lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin or as seen above mingling along with filmmakers at local screenings and film festivals, such as Carla L. Jackson and Kelvin Z. Phillips of A Swingin' Trio. I met Kat during SXSW Film in 2006, introduced by Lisa McWilliams of Mobile Film School. I was struck by the passion and creativity of both women. Candler was kind enough to give me a screener of her feature Jumping Off Bridges, an emotionally moving story of the impact of a parent's suicide on a young teenager.

Candler's new short film Hellion will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, with multiple screenings prior to the narrative feature My Best Day. Candler has proved that she works well with young actors, and Hellion is no exception as she takes on three young male actors who play hellraising brothers. Shot entirely in Georgetown, Texas, last summer, the film focuses on seven-year-old Petey who must cope with life at the mercy of his troublemaker brothers -- until their dad returns and hell really breaks loose.

Our Holiday Favorites: White Christmas


Still of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas

[Welcome to Our Holiday Favorites, a series in which Slackerwood contributors talk about the movies they watch during the holiday season, holiday-related or otherwise.]

The Thanksgiving holidays are over, which means that Christmas is storming in, ringing in a barrage of holiday songs for the next four weeks. I grew up surrounded by music, and so the holidays were full of Christmas carols and sing-alongs. However, I was an adult before I ever watched White Christmas (1954), the title song of which is the number one performed secular holiday song, with more than 500 versions, according to ASCAP. It's actually the second movie to feature Irving Berlin's song -- I've yet to see the 1942 film in which it premiered, Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Crosby recorded the song, which went on to win the Best Song Academy Award of 1942.

In 1954, the film White Christmas was developed to further promote the popular song. What came about was a musical comedy featuring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, ex-army buddies who partner together for a song and dance act --becoming successful producers -- and later to save their retired general's failing Vermont inn from bankruptcy. While scouting for new acts they meet the Haynes sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) and romance blossoms -- despite the obligatory miscommunication to ensure comedic and melodramatic mix-ups.

Syndicate content