Robert Rodriguez

Candid 'Machete' Photos Catch Glimpses of Stars



If you spend time on Twitter, or Facebook, or have friends who like to share a lot, you may have noticed  a lot of people in downtown Austin spotting location shooting for Machete, Robert Rodriguez's latest feature currently in production. Or maybe you're one of the lucky people spotting the cameras and celebrities yourself. Since the cast includes some big-name stars (at least for Austin), it seems like more people than usual are interested.

Even if people don't know the movie by name, I'm seeing tweets like "OMG I am less than 20 feet away from Robert De Niro!" "There's a film crew across the street from my office, anyone know why?" Filming has been spotted at the Stephen F. Austin, at Congress and 11th, near the downtown Whole Foods, and in other downtown locations. Some bystanders have been taking pictures -- you can see the occasional iPhone snapshot on Twitter, but I've been able to find something a little better.

Hunting the Snark, a local gossip/celeb blog, has been following the Machete shoot closely. They linked to some photos that I traced to their source: The Jessica Alba fan site generously gave me permission to post a few photos from their very large set of images snapped near the Aug. 17 location shoot for Machete. They also have an article of their own about the photos.

Review: Shorts


I had the opportunity to attend the Shorts premiere here in Austin last Sunday, with writer/director Robert Rodriguez and the young cast in attendance. The film is about a group of kids who find a magical rock that like the morbid "Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs that does more damage than good.

Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock takes place in the fictional surburbia of the Black Falls, where most residents work for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated. Mr. Black (James Spader) has created the Black Box do-it-all gadget that is found in everyone's household. The Wishing Rock can do even more, and everyone including the megalomaniacal Mr. Black wants to get their hands on the rock. Wishes wind up with unexpected results, leaving the residents of Black Falls dealing with walking crocodiles, tiny spaceships and a monster from a most disturbing origin. The kids must band together to save the day.

Just as Racer Rodriguez had inspired his dad to create The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl, older brother Rebel came up with the basic concept of Shorts -- it's a series of shorts, the kids are short, and they wear shorts -- after watching the classic kids' gang comedy series The Little Rascals.

'Shorts' Premiere Turns Congress Ave. into a Carnival

Red carpet events continue in Austin this week, and I cut my Cinemapocalypse experience a few hours short at 7:30 am so I could rest before another special event on Sunday afternoon.

Writer/director Robert Rodriguez, producer Elizabeth Avellán, and cast members Jimmy Bennett, Trevor Gagnon, Devon Gearhart, Jake Short, Jolie Vanier and Rebel Rodriguez walked the red carpet this past weekend at the Paramount Theatre for a special screening of their new movie Shorts. The event was a benefit for local organization Thoughtful House Center for Children, and included a free post-screening carnival including rides, sno-cones, cotton candy and more. Danny Trejo, whom I photographed at Cinemapocalypse, made an appearance as well as Richard Linklater. Rebel and Racer Rodriguez worked the red carpet like pros, answering questions and posing for photos.

When I'm working the red carpet I will rarely ask folks the same question, but due to Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán's strong involvement in the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and film incentives I wanted to hear from both of them on the subject. Here's how they answered the following question:

Red-Carpet Mania in August

Grindhouse Red Carpet, April 2007The last week or so has been crazy with announcements for red-carpet film events in Austin, so much so that keeping them all straight is enough to keep your eyes crossed. Count 'em, no less than three in four days in August:

  • Saturday, August 15: Cinemapocalypse kicks off with Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds
  • Sunday, August 16: Austin premiere of Robert Rodriguez's Shorts
  • Tuesday, August 18: World premiere of Mike Judge's Extract

To ease the vertigo and help you schedule your ticket buying, we've compiled the relevant information below. You will notice that there are benefits to membership, as AFS members and Fantastic Fest 2009 badgeholders have an advantage over the general public.

Triple-Digit Slackery News Tidbits


Funniest Filmmaker in AustinIt's too hot for film news, isn't it? It's too hot for just about anything except sitting in the air conditioning and watching movies. And yet, some of you have the energy to make movies in this weather, which brings us to some of this week's local movie news:

  • Austin Film Festival is co-sponsoring the Funniest Filmmaker in Austin series for the fourth year. Send them your short film (under 5 minutes) by August 10, and all films will be screened the following week. The winning film will be screened at AFF this year, and the winner also receives two AFF producers badges for the 2009 fest. There's no entrance fee, so why not take a chance?
  • Another great chance: SXSW is still accepting panel submissions for the 2010 Film, Interactive, and Music conferences until 11:59 pm tomorrow night.
  • BookPeople is hosting a book signing next Wednesday, July 15 at 7 pm for stuntman Gary Kent's book Shadows & Light: Journeys With Outlaws in Revolutionary Hollywood. As if that's not cool enough, special guests that evening include "entrepreneur/philanthropist/stuntman Rex Cumming (Walker, Texas Ranger); actor/stuntman Bob Ivy (Bubba Ho-Tep, Phantasm); writer/director Don Jones (Lethal Pursuit, The Forest); producer/author Michael MacFarland (The Pyramid, The Ultimate Joy); and iconic director/actor/stunt legend Chuck Bail (The Stuntman, Freebie and The Bean, Beastmaster)." (Thanks to Lars for the heads-up.)

Tix on Sale for Rodriguez's 'Shorts' Premiere at Paramount


R. Rodriguez at Troublemaker, by Jette KernionThe splashy movie premieres that the Paramount sometimes hosts are rarely for family films. However, you now have an opportunity to take your children to a kid-friendly gala premiere, when Robert Rodriguez's upcoming film Shorts gets the red-carpet treatment.

Tickets just went on sale this morning (10 am) for the Sunday, August 16 regional premiere of Shorts at the Paramount. Tickets are $30 plus service charges, and include not only the movie but a children's carnival nearby on Congress Ave. afterwards. There are also VIP badges you can buy ($125), but I don't know what extra perks they provide apart from better seats. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit a local nonprofit, Thoughtful House Center for Children.

Shorts, written and directed by Rodriguez and produced by Elizabeth Avellan, was shot here in Austin. The PG-rated film is about a mysterious Rainbow Rock that falls from the sky and grants people unlikely wishes. The cast includes Rebel Rodriguez (Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan's son), Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, and James Spader.

Slackery News Tidbits: From TXMPA to Trinidad

Here's a roundup of recent Austin film news:

  • The Central Region of TXMPA is holding a meeting Monday, June 8, at 6:30 pm at Mother Egan's. If you are a member, you can participate in the election for Central Region board representative and alternate.
  • If you haven't seen P.J. Raval and Jay Hodges's film Trinidad, check it out on Showtime this month (or if you're me, find a friend with Showtime). The documentary about a Colorado town known as "the sex-change capital of the world" will screen on Showtime channels this week and then be available on Showtime On Demand until the end of June.

Quick Snaps: Echoes of 'Grindhouse'


Movie Set 3, from JimNtexas

I've heard people argue that Grindhouse, which was shot in Austin, was so overhyped and underattended that it actually crippled the local film production industry in some way. I'm not sure I agree with that -- I think that better film incentives in other states was a much bigger factor. I admit I wish that Grindhouse had been made with a much lower budget, rather like the Masters of Horror series on Showtime, and then it might have built more of a cult following instead of ending up a box-office flop. But we'll never know.

I do know this: I use my SXSW Film 2007 canvas bag, the one with the Grindhouse picture splashed on it, as a grocery bag. And every time a cashier under 40 sees it, they grin at the bag or tell me how they loved Planet Terror, or they can't wait for Quentin Tarantino to make another film. (Then I cheer them up by telling them about Inglourious Basterds -- my inner film geek wants to see it, but my inner grammar geek HATES the title.) There are still a lot of fans of this movie, and filmmakers Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, here in town.

Rodriguez Reveals His Next Projects at Film Incentives Bill Signing


Film incentive bill signing

Yesterday, I headed over to Troublemaker Studios to attend the bill signing for House Bill 873, which improves the incentives that film, video, and game productions receive when they work in Texas. Troublemaker had set up a studio for the event, which was packed with locals who work in the film industry and a few politicians. I suspect some people not only wanted to see the signing but also get a peek at even a bit of Troublemaker Studios, and the event area was nicely dressed with some cars used in Robert Rodriguez's films. Yes, I've got photos after the jump.

Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin introduced the bill in the legislature this session, and spoke at the event along with Bob Hudgins, director of the Texas Film Commission. Gov. Perry was confident that the incentives would help bring enough film production to Texas to give the economy a huge boost.

Quick Snaps: Robert Rodriguez, Troublemaker


Robert Rodriguez

I'm still working on an article about today's signing of the film-incentives bill, which took place at Troublemaker Studios. But while I'm slaving away, here's a photo of Robert Rodriguez taken at the event. I really like this one. I've got more good photos that I'll post with the article.

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