Austin Film Festival

Last week, filmmaker Joe Berlinger tweeted about a review of West of Memphis at DocGeeks in which the writer wrote, “I’ve never had the time or the energy to watch all 3 Paradise Lost films and, having seen West of Memphis, I’m glad I never bothered to.” As the co-director of the Paradise Lost trilogy, Berlinger had a right to be annoyed with that opening line and not just because West of Memphis probably wouldn’t exist without Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky‘s coverage of the West Memphis 3 cases over the last 20 years. If there’s one thing we as film critics and/or fans should be good at it’s considering the distinction of individual works and the independent perspectives that go into their storytelling craft. With more and more documentaries being made it’s understandable that multiple films will tackle the same specific story. Sometimes they will seem like competitors, and sometimes, as in the case of this year’s two AIDS treatment docs, How to Survive a Plague and United in Anger, they’re actually linked through overlapping producers. Another new film, which just won a Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 DOC NYC documentary film festival and also recently received the Best Documentary Feature award at the Austin Film Festival, is one of the greatest examples of why it’s a wonderful thing that so many docs are being produced, even if some appear to be redundant on the surface. Titled Informant, this film tackles the exact same incident already covered by the […]

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Austin Film Festival 2012

The first five days of the 2012 Austin Film Festival have been a challenging frame. For a festival with such a rich history and strong commitment to promoting the work of great storytellers, the overall line-up has been anything but noteworthy. The fest’s biggest (and arguably best) film, Silver Linings Playbook, is an obvious stand-out. But I’ll have more on that later. For now, we’re going to take a look at three comedies that have emerged as clear reasons why there’s hope for the Austin Film Festival programming staff. While much of the rest of their line-up underwhelms, they’ve provided their audience with a number of gems, all of which are sure to make us laugh.

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Austin Film Festival 2012

As the leaves begin to turn (not really) and the temperature begins to cool (again, not actually happening), it’s clear that fall is upon us here in Central Texas. But even more so than the slightly reduced electric bills due to being able to turn your AC off for one day, there’s no better sign that fall is here than to see the Austin Film Festival and Conference roll into town. It’s the third of the major festivals on Austin’s yearly film calendar, and like its brethren SXSW and Fantastic Fest, has a unique appeal. It is first and foremost a conference for industry folk, namely screenwriters, that often brings the likes of Mitch Hurwitz, Shane Black and this year, Sopranos creator and Not Fade Away director David Chase in to talk to crowds of industry hopefuls. They also do show a number of films, which is ultimately what has our interest. Sure, there may be a lot to learn in the “Improving Your Logline” panel, but we’re not sure that too many of you would want to read the resulting article. So we’ll stick to the films, as we’ve done since 2006 when AFF became the first festival we ever covered as a site. As we look down the line-up of AFF 2012, it’s hard not to think that we’re seeing the festival equivalent of a rebuilding year. The entire line-up of films is undoubtedly lean, with only a few hot titles. What once was a refuge for Toronto Film Festival hold-overs has become a mish-mash of […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

University of Texas at Austin senior Irene Georghiades is the producer of two short films that have been selected to premiere at the 2012 Austin Film Festival (October 18-25). Andrew Tilley‘s Incident at Public School 173 and Zach Endres‘ The Teleported Man could not be more different from each other, but they share strong artistic visions and impeccable production values. Thinking back to the olden days when I was working on student films, I cannot believe that students are able to churn out such high quality work nowadays. It is really exciting to me that these films represent the future of the Austin film community. I chatted with Georghiades about working in the Austin film community, her role as a producer, and what she hopes to get out of her first film festival experience.

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