Texas Film Fests

Film festivals that are in Texas but not greater Austin (Dallas, Marfa, etc.).

Slackery News Tidbits, April 27

Here's the latest Austin film news, along with some special screenings and events.

  • Last week, I wrote about the Austin films that will screen at Cannes, some of which have screened here already. Now you can see Kyle Henry and Carlos Trevino's short film Fourplay: Tampa here in Austin before it plays the Cannes Film Festival. aGLIFF and Austin Film Society are sponsoring a benefit screening to raise completion funds for the film. Catch Fourplay: Tampa on Saturday, April 30 at 1 pm at Alamo Ritz.
  • Austin is also getting some representation at Ebertfest in Champaign, Illinois this weekend. Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater will be at Roger Ebert's film festival on Friday to screen his delightful 2009 movie Me and Orson Welles. In addition, Natural Selection, the Smithville-shot film that swept the SXSW Narrative Feature awards this year (Ebert was on the jury), will play the festival.
  • If you're here in Austin this weekend, don't forget the Hill Country Film Festival, which takes place Thursday through Saturday at the Stagecoach Theater in Fredericksburg. Sounds like a great opportunity for a short road trip.

A Taste of Austin at Dallas IFF 2011


Ok Buckaroos

Please welcome our guest contributor Peter Martin of Twitch and Dallas Film Now (and until lately, Cinematical), who caught a few Austin-connected films at the Dallas International Film Festival this year.

The fifth edition of the Dallas International Film Festival (Dallas IFF) concluded on Sunday, bringing an end to ten days of screenings and parties, and raising once again the eternal question: What does this mean for Austin?

In brief, we could say: Very little. Born in mid-2006 with the promise (and potential) of becoming a potent in-state rival to SXSW, thanks in part to the instant name recognition bestowed by its partnership with AFI, Dallas IFF has, instead, become pretty much the film festival that Dallas needs and deserves, showcasing regional filmmakers side by side with star-studded premieres sure to draw coverage from local broadcast and print outlets, and giving members of the city's social elite a reason to dress up and show off, while also boasting as many or more international titles than SXSW usually includes.

Austin at Dallas International Film Festival 2011


Ok BuckaroosAre you all recuperated from SXSW? Good, that means it's time to think about the Dallas International Film Festival. A mere three hours away (faster depending on your shortcuts/disregard for speed limits), DIFF has a great lineup for 2011 this year.

The fest opens on March 31 with the excellent documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, and runs through April 10. In addition, documentary filmmaker Steve James and actress Ann-Margret will receive the fest's Dallas Star Awards this year.

Here are some of the films with Austin connections:

Texandance: Film Festing in New Braunfels


Up and Down

Typically I would have been dealing with post-Fantastic Fest blues last weekend, but instead I managed to make it to another local film event: Texandance International Film Festival in New Braunfels. Jette spoke highly of the inaugural Texandance last year, so I decided to take a short trip on Saturday to this weekend-long film fest.

What a welcome change from the fast-paced, jam-packed Austin film festival scene -- after a leisurely brunch of apple strudel on the square at the oldest bakery in Texas, I meandered over to the Brauntex Theater. This historic venue provided a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the day's programming, including music videos, short films, documentaries and feature-length films. As an international festival, Texandance had a lot to offer in this year's official selections. However, most of my personal favorites were from right here in Texas.

I arrived too late to see The Eyes of the Beholder, filmed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but was able to view it online -- by "liking" the film's Facebook page you can watch the short film in its entirety. The story focuses on Emily (Mary McElree), a teenage girl who has been blind from birth. A life-changing turn of events reveals not only the world around her, but also changes her relationships and outlook on life. Personal decisions have an even greater impact, with heartbreaking consequences.

Marfa 2010 Film Festival in Photos


Marfa, Texas, by Chris Hamberlin

[Text: Jette Kernion; photos: Chris Hamberlin]

I was lucky to run into Chris Hamberlin at Marfa Film Festival this year. I know Chris from our tech-writing day jobs, but she's also an excellent photographer. The photos I took in Marfa pale in comparison. Chris offered to contribute some of her best photos from the film festival, and here they are, with some brief explanations from myself.

If you want to see more of Chris's photos, from Marfa as well as other subjects/locations, I suggest checking out her Flickr set.

The image at the top is a metal sculpture from Marfa artist Marc Declercq.

Marfa Film Festival: Day 4


Marfa Film Festival

As I mentioned in the previous entry, my original plan was to get up relatively early on Sunday, grab a bite of breakfast, and then drive home from Marfa at a leisurely pace. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Instead, I got up relatively early, packed my car, checked out of my hotel, and headed out for a brunch sponsored by the Texas Film Commission. The brunch was held in an area of town that used to be Fort Russell -- my grandfather was stationed in Marfa during WWII and I wonder if he'd recognize the area now. He might recognize the building we were in, as it's being restored to its former decor from the time when General Patton was stationed there. The building currently houses the International Woman's Foundation.

It was a lovely brunch, meant to honor Mother's Day but all us females received corsages. I chatted for a little bit with various people I'd met over the weekend and realized I wasn't quite ready to go home yet. But I couldn't spend the whole day in Marfa ... I had nowhere to stay Sunday night, and meetings scheduled for Monday, among other considerations.

Marfa Film Festival: Day 3


Marfa Film Festival

The best-laid plans of film festgoers are often led astray. I had hoped to catch some shorts on Saturday morning, but instead had the opportunity to interview The Dry Land director Ryan Piers Williams and producer/actress America Ferrera. I picked the interview ... after a leisurely breakfast at a place called Cochineal, where they make a mean Eggs Florentine. Sit-down meals in Marfa restaurants appear to be leisurely as a rule -- they're not hurried or worried about times or deadlines.

The interview went very well -- I'll save details for when it is published. I enjoyed meeting Williams and Ferrera, and look forward to hearing (and sharing) more about the release tour for The Dry Land.

After the interview, I went to a place I had been told had the best hot cocoa in Marfa, Squeeze Marfa, for a pick-me-up. The rumors were absolutely correct. It's a good thing that cocoa is in Marfa and not Austin or I would have to be rolled around town.

I finally made it over to to the Crowley Theater in time for a short film/feature combo. The short film was Cosmic Clock, from filmmaker Al Jarnow, who has made a lot of interesting shorts for PBS shows like The Electric Company or in this case, 3-2-1 Contact. Cosmic Clock shows a speeded-up history of the planet, with some lovely visuals. You can watch it here. I found out that Jarnow's shorts have been collected and are available on a DVD called Celestial Navigations, which I'm very tempted to check out.

Marfa Film Festival: Day 2


The Dry Land

I love the feeling of waking up in an out-of-town location on a weekday and dilly-dallying to get ready while everyone else in the world (or so it feels) is rushing around like crazy trying to get to work. That is what a vacation is all about.

On Friday morning, I took my time getting ready, then wandered around the hotel area to find breakfast. I stopped at a nice little place next to a laundromat that had very good hot chocolate and wireless, which I used to scope out some potential breakfast spots. Then I wandered over to Padre's, a bar/concert venue that also serves food, which was selling breakfast tacos for the duration of Marfa Film Festival.

The guy who took my order and served me my tacos turned out to be the owner, David Beebe, who also visits Austin frequently. He's on the city council so I learned about Marfa politics, which sound a lot like our neighborhood association politics -- longtime residents versus newcomers. When I mentioned that, it turned out he knew the neighborhood where I live and we talked about the Northcross development, among other things. The whole time, Marfa Public Radio was on in the background, where someone was interviewing the filmmaker and star of the short Fanny, Annie and Danny. You can hear MPR a lot around this part of Marfa, and they did a lot of film fest-related interviews and features.

Marfa Film Festival: Day 1


Marfa tower

I just laughed as I picked a category tag for this entry, because Marfa Film Festival is not at all local. (Since then, I added a new category for non-local Texas fests.) I had to drive for 7 hours or so from Austin to get here, nearly as long as it takes me to drive to New Orleans. I may still be in Texas, but it's a very different Texas than the one I left behind.

I left Austin a little late, but it was fortunate because I managed to catch Steve Wilson on KUT on Thursday morning. He's the curator for the "Making Movies" series at the Harry Ransom Center, and it was a good reminder that I haven't seen the exhibit yet and hope to do so soon. (And once upon a time, many years ago, I once adapted a scene from Cyrano de Bergerac for Wilson to shoot in his RTF production class at UT. But that's another story.)

The drive from Austin to Marfa isn't too bad, although it does involve some very dull stretches of I-10. I had my iPod on shuffle the whole time. The best road music was from soundtracks of Quentin Tarantino movies. I highly recommend Kill Bill and Death Proof to enliven your driving.

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