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Alamo-Backed 'Badass' Film Website Launches


Badass DigestToday saw the launch of Badass Digest, the super-secret Alamo Drafthouse project for which longtime film writer Devin Faraci recently left CHUD. The ultra-cool digest opened with dozens of articles already penned and posted by Faraci (@devincf) and others by collaborators Roger Erik Tinch (@tinch) and Moises Chiullan (@moiseschiu).  An eclectic mix of Faraci's musings on film and film-related happenings along with oddities from around the web, Badass Digest is fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter, allowing the "Badass Brigade" to immediately comment on and discuss articles with no pesky signup process.

In his introductory manifesto, Faraci promises "an unholy number of columns and features" including expanded coverage of food and booze as well as a return of his "Star Trekkin" column. Badass Digest is backed by Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League and features links to the Drafthouse, Fantastic Fest, Mondo Tees and distribution company Drafthouse Films. The Badass Team page indicates that we may see articles at some point from Tim League and from Alamo staffer Henri Mazza.

With so many ventures, an online zine is a natural extension to unite them and publicize the brand. This inaugural release exhibits style and panache, but the question that first occurs to this writer is: How does this impact the relationship between the Drafthouse brand and movie website Ain't It Cool News

Quick Snaps: Flashback to the Burnet Drive-In


Marquee of the Burnet Drive-In, by paramountbooth on Flickr

Maybe you've seen the poster for Quentin Tarantino's mock-exploitation film Death Proof with the words "Burnet Road Drive-In, Austin, Texas" at the top. Well, Austin really did have a Burnet Drive-In, and today we have photographic proof. Paramount Theatre projectionist John Stewart recently posted a few pictures from 1973 to his Flickr account, and generously agreed to let me publish them here.

I can't find much info about the Burnet Drive-In. It was located in the 6400 block of Burnet Road, in the space where Burnet Road Self-Storage is now -- the one with the sign that looks like a movie-theater marquee. Now you know why. The storage facility's website says the theater was built in 1952. By the 1970s, it was featuring titles like the ones above, which look like they'd fit in perfectly at an Alamo Drafthouse Weird Wednesday. (Stewart says they're German soft-core movies.) The drive-in closed a year or two after Stewart's photos were taken. I've got a few more photos after the jump.

B-Side Festival Genius is Back!


Chris Hyams, by Chris Holland, 2006File this under Couldn't Be Happier Unless I Had Angel Money to Do This Myself... Austin-based B-Side has been acquired by Slated, and the much missed B-Side Festival Genius has been licensed to long time indie nonprofit IFP.

Just announced Thursday night, the film community rejoiced that the best technological tool for film festivals has been revived. People were downright twitterpated, you could say. I'm re-using the same picture Jette used when she had to announce the sad news about B-Side closing its doors, because, well, B-Side founder Chris Hyams looks equally celebratory and defiant, and that attitude seems to have helped B-Side find a new home.

Personally I could not be happier for Chris and the core members of his team (Chris Holland, Jesse Trussell and Mike McCown) who are all back to work a mere six weeks after the unexpected announcement that B-Side was closing its offices. Hyams and McCown go to Slated, Holland and Trussell to IFP. I speak for Slackerwood and perhaps all of Austin’s film geeks in saying congratulations, guys. These last few weeks must’ve been tough, but we’re very glad to see you land on your feet, and even gladder that a great company and a great tool aren’t left languishing.

If you’re not familiar with IFP, they’re the oldest and largest organization of -- and advocate for -- independent filmmakers.  Slated is a New York-based entertainment and media company. 

My Own (Slightly Flaky) Film Festival Secrets


Film Festival SecretsOn the Friday that SXSW 2010 got underway, I spent the afternoon in a sports bar with a bunch of Cinematical reporters, supposedly to talk about our assignments but in actuality to eat junk food and argue about Kick Ass and Dogtooth and to tease our editors. Occasional Slackerwood reporter and Film Festival Secrets author Chris Holland was also in the bar with filmmaker Mark Potts, whose comedy Simmons on Vinyl I reviewed at Austin Film Festival last year.

Chris and Mark asked me if I would step outside with them for a moment so they could interview me on camera. I was hopped up on sugar and fried food and didn't actually ask what they were going to interview me about, but was thrilled that someone wanted to shoot video with me in it. We all stood out on a downtown sidewalk and Chris interviewed me while Mark shot video.

This is the result of that interview. I would like to say that I would have been slightly less ditzy if I'd thought about the questions beforehand ... but maybe not. If you've heard the Slackerwood podcasts, you know that I am like that all the time.

Sad News: B-Side to Close Doors


Chris Hyams, by Chris Holland, 2006It was just yesterday that Jenn Brown and I were plotting our SXSW coverage strategy for Slackerwood (and other outlets) and hoping B-Side would host a Festival Genius site for scheduling SXSW Film. All of us at Slackerwood who have covered film festivals have loved the scheduling application from B-Side and found that it made fest planning vastly easier.

So we were very sad to learn that Austin-based B-Side Entertainment will be closing its doors this week. Filmmaker Magazine's blog is reporting that the company has been unable to find new investors and is out of funds. B-Side employees have all been laid off, many of which we've become familiar with at local film festivals -- including occasional Slackerwood contributor Chris Holland -- and we are obviously personally unhappy about the news as well. Back at SXSW 2007, I interviewed B-Side founder Chris Hyams (pictured at right) for Studio SX (sadly, SXSW no longer seems to have it archived) and his company sounded like an exciting business model.

Here's what Hyams has to say about the closing on the B-Side website: "I am sad to have reached the end of this chapter, but am incredibly proud of what we've achieved. I am confident that our efforts will have a lasting impact on this business. I am also confident that the B-Side team will bring their experience to new ventures that will pick up where B-Side is leaving off."

Contest: Win the 'Stingray Sam' Soundtrack and DVD


The soundtrack to Stingray Sam, the Fantastic Fest fave that had people singing for days afterwards, is now on sale. Written and performed by director Cory McAbee and co-produced  with Robert Lurie, it's full of delightful absurd and often deconstructed songs like "Lullaby" or the progeny naming song "Fredward."  

The episodic interplanetary adventure musical is still on the festival circuit, wowing crowds with its old-school serial wrapped in Western sensibilities. Both the soundtrack and the movie itself are available for purchase online at corymcabee.com, as digital media downloads or as discs.

To celebrate, we're giving away DVDs and soundtrack CDs. Find out how to win after the jump.

Introducing the Austin Film News Mega-Feed


Monster Truck Show by tink tracy on FlickrIf you were paying close attention to Slackerwood last week, you may have noticed something new in the left sidebar. If you hadn't ... well, that's why I'm telling you now. Slackerwood has created the amazing and awesome Austin Film News Mega-Feed. You have to imagine monster-truck-show echo effects whenever I say it, it is that awesome.

Like many things about Slackerwood, the Austin Film News Mega-Feed (echo, echo) was born out of sheer lazy slackerhood. I was complaining to Chip, who not only performs great technical feats on Slackerwood but also is my husband and often tolerates me fussing about stuff, that I was tired of rewriting the same news items every other local outlet publishes, especially if a) I'm later than they are and b) I have nothing new to say. I sighed and wished that I could just publish one big conglomerate news feed of all these news items on Slackerwood and not have to worry about reporting on every single little bit of news, so I can focus on finding interesting news that isn't available everywhere else.

Chip nodded and sympathized .... and went to his computer and created the Austin Film News Mega-Feed, possibly out of a sense of community, but I suspect also so he wouldn't have to hear me whine anymore. Look over in the left sidebar (you may need to scroll down a bit) and you can see all the headlines from major sources of film-related news in Austin, like the Austin Chronicle's Picture in Picture blog, the Statesman's Austin Movie Blog, and Austinist. We've also added RSS feeds of blogs from local film festivals and theaters.

Quick Snaps and News about Phil Mucci and 'The Listening Dead'


Phil Mucci and Tim League

I receive updates every few months from photographer and filmmaker Phil Mucci, whom I met in 2006. Phil's short horror film The Listening Dead took the Best of Show award for short films at Fantastic Fest that year. Four years after its initial release, this short film has been translated into eight different languages. Phil has just announced that a "behind the scenes" short film on The Listening Dead is now available and can be viewed on his website. You can also watch his videos and short films, including Far Out, which screened at Fantastic Fest 2007.

That's Phil on the left with Alamo Drafthouse impresario Tim League at a filmmakers brunch during Fantastic Fest 2007. Note that Phil is sporting my "Last Night at the Alamo" hard hat that was given out to the audience for the special screening of Earthquake in Sensurround.

[Photo Credit: Phil Mucci and Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse, courtesy of Debbie Cerda]

Slackery News Tidbits, Nov. 10

Tattooed Under FireHere are a few of the Austin-related, movie-related news items that have been floating around recently:

  • Nancy Schiesari's documentary Tattooed Under Fire (pictured at right) airs on KLRU on Tuesday, November 10 at 9 pm. Tattooed Under Fire is about the stories and secrets that Fort Hood soldiers share while getting tattoos. Schiesari is a professor in Radio-TV-Film at The University of Texas in Austin.
  • I'll Come Running, directed by former UT Austin instructor Spencer Parsons, is now available to watch via IFC On Demand. The film played Austin Film Festival in 2008 and was shot in Austin and Denmark. Melonie Diaz stars as a young woman who befriends a Danish tourist and forms an unusually strong connection. Jette recommends it.
  • Cine Las Americas will host its 2010 season kickoff and happy hour fundraiser on Tuesday, November 17 at Malverde. All proceeds benefit the 13th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, including 10 percent from diners at La Condesa after the happy hour. 

Slackery News Tidbits: Fantastic Fest-Free Edition


LebowskiFestGuess what? Austin has had film-related news in the past week that has nothing to do with Fantastic Fest. Really! I'm as surprised as you are. Let's look at all the interesting stuff we at Slackerwood missed while we were watching festival films and then recuperating. If we left out anything else, feel free to share the news in the comments section.

  • Austin filmmaker/instructor Kat Candler is on fire this month, I swear. You can catch her 2006 feature jumping off bridges tonight at the Windsor Park branch of Austin Public Library at 6:30 pm. She also has two new short films playing at Austin Film Festival later this month: Quarter to Noon and Love Bug. Finally, a feature-film screenplay that she wrote with Chris Mass (Chalk), The Spider in the Bathtub, has just been optioned by LAF Studios, with Candler to direct.
  • Speaking of AFF, Austin Business Journal has an interview with festival co-founder Barbara Morgan.
  • Renovations on Austin's (now all-digital) public access television studios are complete. This Saturday, Oct. 10, the public is invited to digital fusion fest, an open house for the upgraded facility. Stop by and learn how you can create your own video for cablecast and other media.
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