Travel to 'Far Marfa' at Stateside


Far Marfa Still PhotoThe Stateside Independent film series and the Texas Independent Film Network are co-hosting the Austin premiere of the understated comedy Far Marfa, on Monday, February 25, at the Stateside Theatre. The 7 pm screening is already sold out, but tickets are still available for the 9:30 pm slot. This 2011 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund (TFPF) recipient film project features original music by local composer Graham Reynolds (Bernie, Before Midnight). Filmmakers will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

Writer/director Cory Van Dyke currently resides in Marfa, Texas, the west Texas town where this movie is set. Carter Frazier (Johnny Sneed) is just barely hanging onto an existence in a town where not much is needed much to get by. Without money or a job and a girlfriend who's recently moved out, Carter is desperately in need of a wake-up call, which comes from a brief but life-altering encounter with a stranger who turns out to be a famous modern artist, Steve Vincent (Steve Holzer).

Early-Bird Special on 'Cinema Six' Austin Premiere


Cinema Six

So have you bought your tickets to see Cinema Six yet on Friday night at Blue Starlite Urban Drive-In? As you might remember, Slackerwood and Austin Film Society are presenting the Austin premiere of Cinema Six, and we'd love to see you there at Austin Studios. So would Mark Potts, one of the filmmakers, who will be at the screening and will hold one of his infamous post-film Q&A sessions. Who knows what he might do? Who knows who else might be there from the Central Texas-shot movie? Show up and find out.

But wait, there's more: You can buy a double-feature ticket and see both Cinema Six and A Movie To Be Named Later. Josh Frank at Blue Starlite has kept this title a surprise even from us! But he promises something good that we won't want to miss.

Blue Starlite is currently running an Early Bird Special discount on car prices for both Cinema Six and for the double-feature on Friday night. You can get three people in a car (well, more if you stuff some folks in the trunk, but we don't condone that behavior) so it's a great deal. But you have to buy your ticket by Wednesday, yes, that's tomorrow. So do it now. You can always buy a single-admission ticket, but you'll need to bring a lawn chair or blanket or you'll end up like those two characters in the above photo.

Local 'chunky_bacon' Doc Premieres at ... a Software Conference?


Well, this is a first. Slackerwood often publishes movie reviews from film-festival screenings. Even film conferences. But software conferences? Never been done -- until now.

chunky_bacon is a short documentary from Austin filmmaker Kevin Triplett. The film premiered earlier this month at the Lone Star Ruby Conference. Ruby is a programming language that's been the foundation for many of the so-called Web 2.0 sites that ushered in the age of the interactive and social web.

The doc recounts the work and ultimate death of the persona known as Why the Lucky Stiff, or just _why to his friends. _why was known throughout the Ruby community not only as a stunningly prolific programmer, but also an artist. His most famous creation was a free book called Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. It's an odd, loopy software manual intertwined with strange narrative and punctuated by twisted Lynda Barry-like cartoons. It aims to teach Ruby programming to non-programmers -- you know, artsy types, not pocket-protecter-wearing, technical certification wielding, Microsoft-worshipping nerds.

Then one day, _why decided -- for reasons unknown -- to commit digital suicide. He removed all traces of his creations from the web: the posts, the code repositories, the wonderful book. And then he died.

Austin-Shot 'Goliad Uprising' Packs the Spirit Theater


By Tyler Draker

On June 21, the Spirit Theater at the Bob Bullock State History Museum was nearly at capacity for a screening of Goliad Uprising, an independent film by director Paul Bright.

The event, like the film it was built around, was modest. Not much more than a simple sign on an A-frame stand greeted people and told them where to go. But, like the film, it did a good job of working with what it had. The facilities were nice and, perhaps most importantly, the atmosphere was very upbeat and friendly. There was a feeling in the air that these people loved what they were doing and loved working together.

Indeed, most of the people who were at the screening were involved in some capacity with making the movie. Roughly half of the 99 (yeah, 99) actors were in attendance, as well as several other key crew members. For many of them, this was the first time they were seeing the culmination of their efforts.

The results were good. But this isn't a movie review. It's a success story! Goliad Uprising got made, and that's no small feat in and of itself. I have first-hand knowledge only about trying to make short films, and I can imagine how much more numerous the challenges would be in trying to make a feature-length film. Bright even highlighted a few of these challenges in his acknowledgements at the end of the film. One challenge that he brought up was that most of the film's projected funding dried up very close to the beginning of production.

While that's certainly no small mountain to overcome, I think it is important to note that perhaps as recently as 10 years ago, this might have meant the film wouldn't have gotten made. Goliad Uprising certainly looks like it was made with either a tiny budget or no budget at all. But it hasn't been that long that such a thing was even possible. Filmmaking used to be much more expensive. The cost of film stock alone can often break the bank, not to mention the cost or rental fees of a film camera. Suddenly, with the release of HDSLR (5DmkII, etc.) cameras, it's possible to get a camera and lens for under $4,000 and shoot nearly indefinitely.

'Get the Gringo' Premieres in Austin


Mel Gibson at Get the Gringo Premiere

The movie Get the Gringo premiered in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar last Wednesday night, followed by a special Q&A with producer and star Mel Gibson (seen above on the red carpet), young actor Kevin Hernandez, director Adrian Grunberg and producer Stacy Perskie. What made this Q&A moderated by Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News so special was that it was streamed live to audiences in nine other cities that viewed a simultaneous screening of the film along with Austin. Audience members were able to submit questions directly to Knowles via the internet.

In Get the Gringo, Gibson portrays Driver, a career criminal who is nabbed by corrupt Mexican police and then hidden away in a tough prison where he must learn to survive through his own street smarts along with the help of a 9-year-old boy and a not so reputable U.S. Consulate representative. There were a few technical issues during the Q&A, and Gibson was a bit abrupt on the red carpet -- perhaps due to bad and sensationalist publicity earlier that day from a celebrity gossip website. Find out more about this crime drama including what I thought of Mel's onscreen performance in Get the Gringo after the jump.

Photo Essay: Blood and Bones at Drafthouse Sneak Previews


Franco, Yelchin, Mintz-Plasse

Austin film fans were treated to two very special events last week as the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar hosted advance screenings with special guests for both Fright Night and Conan the Barbarian.

At the Fright Night screening, stars Dave Franco, Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse showed up for a post-movie Q&A, as shown in the above photo.

Mintz-Plasse, who was in Austin for his third Drafthouse premiere (Superbad and Kick-Ass were #1 & #2, respectively) dominated the Q&A with the comfort and confidence born of familiarity with Austin audiences, while Yelchin and Franco were generally more shy and reserved, as you can see in the following picture.

Interview: Tim Blake Nelson and Edward Norton, 'Leaves of Grass'


Edward Norton at CYRUS Premiere

Austin fans of actor Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X) will be able to get a double -- or should I say triple -- dose of him this weekend with two major film events. Norton will be in town for the premiere of Stone at Fantastic Fest on Friday, September 24 at 7 pm -- a gala screening at the Paramount Theatre. He'll also be at Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz for the sold-out 8 pm showing of Leaves of Grass, which opens in Austin this weekend.

Don't assume Leaves of Grass is a "stoner comedy," as I almost did. This movie defies typecasting into one genre, as it ranges from comedy to drama to thriller. Norton stars as twin brothers -- Bill, a straight-laced Ivy League professor; and Brady, an uncultured pot grower in the backwoods of Oklahoma. Actor and director Tim Blake Nelson also wrote the screenplay, which is centered more around classical tragic themes in such a manner that viewers won't take long to forget that the characters are played by the same actor.

I sat down with several other film critics during SXSW this past March for a roundtable discussion with Norton and Nelson the day after Leaves of Grass played the fest. To find out why Nelson has inspired me to read classic Latin literature, read his and Norton's responses to our questions after the jump, and check out my review of the film appearing later this week:

Photo Essay: 'Machete' at the Paramount


Last Thursday night, the Paramount was completely sold out for the local premiere of Machete, the latest film from Troublemaker Studios. The event was a fundraiser for the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund and the Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA). Director Robert Rodriguez was on the red carpet along with a number of stars and supporting cast from the locally shot film: Danny Trejo (shown above, naturally), Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Daryl Sabara, Elise and Electra Avellan, Billy Blair, Mayra Leal, and several others.

Paul Gandersman took some excellent photos for Slackerwood from the Machete red carpet, as well as a few from the intro and Q&A inside the Paramount. This was an impressive feat since the red carpet was extremely crowded that night, both with celebrities on the actual carpet and media surrounding it. Here are some of the best pictures from that evening -- mouse over them if you want to know who's in them. For more info on Machete itself, read Jette's review. Many thanks again to Paul for the following photos.

Photo Essay: 'Predators' Red Carpet

A note from Jette: I'd like to introduce you all to our newest Slackerwood contributor, Paul Gandersman. Paul is an amazing photographer who attended the Predators red carpet and world premiere. My own red-carpet photography skills have come a long way since my first experience with them, but Paul's photos leave mine in the shade. He captured some great photos of Predators producers Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan, director Nimrod Antal and star Adrien Brody. In addition, red carpet appearances included a couple of actors from previous Troublemaker Studios films who Joe O'Connell tells us are about to star in blacktino, a movie produced by Avellan (that I'd love to hear more about): Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids, World's Greatest Dad) and Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror).

I'm posting these photos without any descriptions in between them -- I think they stand on their own very well. For those of you needing a hint, you can mouse over the photos themselves. Enjoy.

Austin Lands World Premiere of 'Predators'


Robert RodriguezThe Troublemaker Studios-produced summer action blockbuster Predators will have its world premiere here in Austin, at -- where else? -- The Paramount. Austin Film Society is hosting the gala event on Wednesday, July 7 at 8 pm. Tickets go on sale this Thursday at noon via the Paramount website.

No word yet on which cast and crew will be there, but a red carpet is planned so we know some celebrity-spotting will be happening. I assume we'll see director Nimrod Antal there as well as Austin producers Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan. I'm hoping for Danny Trejo, myself.

You may remember that Fox hosted some sneak peeks at bits of Predators during SXSW this year: Rod Paddock gave us the scoop on the extremely popular "first look" event, and I was up bright and early the next morning for a press conference (where I took the picture of Rodriguez at right).

Predators was shot here in Austin (as well as in Hawaii), but I don't think any of it was shot outside of Troublemaker Studios, so we may not see any recognizable landmarks in the film. After all, it is primarily set on the Predator planet, so far as I can tell. Although I'm not normally a big summer action-film lover, I liked what I saw at the SXSW preview and the cast is a very interesting combination: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga and -- the man who probably steals the film -- Laurence Fishburne.

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