Debbie Cerda's blog

Location, Location: A Red, White and Blue Experience -- Part One


script title pageWhen I first heard about the call for locations for Simon Rumley's new film Red, White and Blue, I was eager to offer our house as a location.

I had the pleasure of meeting Simon when he attended South by Southwest Film Festival in 2006 to support his friends who produced Darkon. I am quite a fan of Simon's work, which includes The Handyman and The Living and the Dead.

Reading over the list of locations needed, one in particular caught my eye. "Ed's - Slightly older contemporary of Franki/Alvin's etc. Lives with his girlfriend and young daughter. Has backyard and two floors." I thought it sounded like a perfect fit. My boyfriend Ed and I live in a two-story house, and my niece often stays in our guest room.

Enter 'Intelligent Use of Water' Film Competition


Ruthie by Sophie DiehlAnyone who's visited my personal blog will notice that I have a passion for drinking water. As part of my "day job" working as a drinking water quality specialist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, I'm reminded on a daily basis of the importance of water. With the Texas summer heat upon us, many water systems are instituting voluntary and mandatory water restrictions to deal with current or potential water shortages. Surprisingly enough, a look at the drought map indicates a high number of the affected systems are located in Central Texas.

With that said, I am quite pleased to have stumbled across the Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition. It's the third year for this film competition that features short films about using water wisely. This year's entries are due on August 15, 2009.

Rules from their website: "Films must run between 1-10 minutes (total or excerpted time) and not exceed 25 MB in size. Films must focus on the topic of responsible water use, exploring approaches and ideas to intelligently manage and efficiently utilize earth's most precious resource. Films may be narrative, documentary, animated, experimental and/or student-made productions."

Be sure to check out some of the great finalists from past competitions, posted to the competition website. I especially loved Rainwater Harvesting (2008).

[Image credit: "Ruthie" by Sophie Diehl, used with permission from the artist.]

Planning Dinner and a Movie in Austin


Shanghai, by Kent WangDisclaimer: Before you think this is just another blog post about the Alamo Drafthouse, guess again! Since I got to know Jette and Jenn through sitting through dozens of films at Fantastic Fest, I do find it challenging not to blog frequently about the Drafthouse. With that said, some moviegoers are not comfortable with food service during a film and find it distracting to have servers moving about or their neighbor scraping the bottom of the salad bowl (hey, the garlic ranch is tasty!). You have other options when it comes to a good dinner-and-movie experience in Austin.

Here are some of my personal recommendations:

World Horror Convention Will Hit Austin in 2011


Joe R. Lansdale, by biokill on FlickrFor all of you horror fans who just can't get enough during Fantastic Fest:

The World Horror Society has named Austin, Texas as the location for the 2011 World Horror Convention (WHC). The international gathering of horror's brightest talents and their fans will take place from April 28 through May 1, 2011. Does it help that Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world?

"Texas has a long history of strange fiction, serving as home to such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and Joe R. Lansdale," says Convention Co-Chair Nate Southard in a press release posted to his website. "Bringing the World Horror Convention to Austin is a natural. It's a vibrant city with a taste for the eccentric and a love of the arts. Further, its central, southern location makes it convenient for travelers throughout the US, and visitors from abroad will have no trouble reaching us either."

WHC 2011 has confirmed author Sarah Langan as its first guest of honor. Ms. Langan's latest novel Audrey's Door will be released in late 2009 and has already been optioned by The Weinstein Company for film.

Two other guests of honor have been announced this week: authors Brian Keene and Joe R. Lansdale (pictured at right). You might recall that Bubba Ho-tep, filmed in Texas, was based on one of Lansdale's short stories.

Local Short Doc Wins at Barbara Jordan Media Awards


BJ Medallion
The Austin-based creators of a short documentary film about children with dyslexia were honored at this year's Barbara Jordan Media Awards, held on June 12 in the new (still under construction) Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Changing Children's Lives director/co-producer Steve Mims, co-producer Patrick Peyton, and Alice Marsel, Director of Education at the Scottish Rite Learning Center, were honored as the "Special Contribution" award winners for 2008. The film was shot in Austin, and you can view a clip here. The short documentary reflects the experience of young children dealing with variations of dyslexia and the conditions of this learning disability.

After the jump, read more about the Barbara Jordan Media Awards, from the Office of the Governor's website:

Made In Texas Series Update: 'True Stories' on July 8


True Stories one sheet[Ed. Note: Please welcome Slackerwood's newest contributor, Debbie Cerda.]

When Jette blogged in late March about the Austin Film Festival (AFF) "Made in Texas Film Series," the July 8 screening had yet to be set. I am quite pleased to see it's been announced and is one of my favorite films made in Texas, True Stories.

There are many reasons to appreciate this gem of a film beyond the fact it is set in Texas, beginning with the director and co-writer, David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Mr. Byrne brings the quirkiness of Texas urban legends to the screen, set to a well-blended soundtrack by the Talking Heads. When he was scouting locations for his film in 1985, he enlisted the assistance of a Dallas real-estate agent to find several pink houses for potential locations. This real-estate agent was the mother of a friend of mine who was quite happy to help his mom show David Byrne around Dallas, including a viewing of Mary Kay Ash's pink palace.

True Stories features a strong cast, including John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz and the late Spalding Gray. Goodman's performance as Louis Fyne is both genuine and endearing. In my list of "Who Should Star in This Film?" I would wholeheartedly support Mr. Goodman if he were to star in the role of the late Don Walser, "the Pavarotti of the Plains." The droll but ever-amusing Spalding Gray delivers as well. Who knew that you could use food to represent modernization and industrialization?

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