Austin Cinematic Limits: Predicting SXSW, Slackerwood Moves and A Badass Oscar Nomination

Austin Cinematic Limits

As Austin’s filmmaking community migrates back to Austin from the snowy slopes of Park City, everyone is anxiously awaiting to hear whether or not their latest film(s) has been accepted into the 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival (March 9-17, 2012). According to SXSW,  “no news is good news! If you haven’t heard from [SXSW] yet it means your film is still in the running.” All filmmakers will be sent notification one way or another by Thursday, February 9, 2012.

What are my predictions (and hopes) on the local front for SXSW 2012? Well, I do not want to start rumors, but I am fairly certain that the Zellner Brothers’ Kid-Thing will be getting a regional premiere at SXSW 2012 — that is, after they celebrate their European premiere at Berlinale (February 9-19, 2012)! Also, Kat Candler’s short film Hellion is as close to a sure-thing as SXSW applicants can get. But if I was a praying man, I would be praying that Don Swaynos’ Pictures of Superheroes and Mark Potts and Cole Selix’s Cinema Six will get accepted into SXSW 2012, because if I have to wait much longer to see either of those films I am going to freakin’ explode! For now, we all just need to be patient and stay tuned to Film School Rejects for any breaking news about SXSW 2012.

One of the most surprising recent developments in local film news is that our good friends over at Slackerwood will now be published by the Austin Film Society. What does this mean?! According to Slackerwood’s founder and Editor-in-Chief Jette Kernion’s recent post about the merger, the hope is that Slackerwood’s content will now be able to expand beyond Austin’s city limits, incorporating film coverage across the state of Texas. To assist with the wider scope of focus, AFS staff and interns will be contributing to Slackerwood. Don’t worry, Kernion will remain at the helm, while Jenn Brown, Don Clinchy and the rest of Slackerwood’s local team of contributors will continue to bring us news and features about the Central Texas film community, as well as reviews of films screening in Austin theaters. Most importantly, there will be a party on February 1st to celebrate the merger at Red’s Porch (more info).

As for other exciting news… Drafthouse Films, the distribution arm of Alamo Drafthouse, got their very first Oscar nomination! Holy crap! When Drafthouse Films bought Bullhead (after it played at Fantastic Fest 2011), no one ever expected the Belgian film to make the Oscar shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film category, let alone snag an actual nomination. Bullhead has done very well on the U.S. festival circuit, winning Best Actor (Matthias Schoenaerts) at Fantastic Fest and the Palm Springs International Film Festival, as well as Best Director (Michael Roskam) and Best Film at Fantastic Fest. However, Bullhead is very raw and brutal story set in the world of the meat industry. The lead character, Jackie (Schoenaerts), is haunted by childhood trauma and shoots mafia-controlled steroids into himself to bulk up. Let’s just say that Bullhead is not your traditional Oscar fodder, especially in a year with such strong contenders in the foreign language category. I do not know who deserves greater congratulations, the Bullhead team for the nomination or the Academy for making such a bold, frakked-up choice?

Cinematic Things To Do in Austin This Week:

1/30 – Alamo South Lamar – Not to be confused with Matthew Robbins’ Dragonslayer (1981), Tristan Patterson’s documentary is about skateboarding, relationships and getting totally fucked up. The Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW 2011, Dragonslayer is totally a must see. (More info)

1/30 & 2/1 – Alamo Ritz – A relentless action film that does not hesitate to find harsh — and occasionally, lonely — ways to kill its protagonists, Fantastic Fest 2011 alumni A Lonely Place To Die returns for a brief reprise in Austin. (More info)

1/31 – Alamo South Lamar – Invited to Hollywood by studio mogul William Fox, F.W. Murnau’s first American production became one of the most beautiful silent films in the history of cinema. The Austin Film Society screens Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (1927) as part of their series The Great Escape: Three European Émigré Filmmakers. (More info)

2/3 & 2/4 – Alamo Ritz – Playfully directed and co-written by Edgar Wright and reverentially based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s uber-hipster series of wide-eyed manga-styled graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World offers a peachy keen pop perspective of the worlds of indie-rock bands and video games. Thanks to The Late Show for bringing my favorite Michael Cera film back to ATX for a few late night screenings! (More info)

2/4 – Blue Starlite Urban Drive-In – In preparation for Valentine’s Day, I recommend taking that certain someone in your life to see Harold and Maude at the Blue Starlight (make sure to take advantage of their “Be My Valentine at the Drive-In” package)… but then again, I’m single, so what do I know? (More info)

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The very first films that Don remembers seeing are Star Wars IV: A New Hope, The Black Hole, and Moonraker. He also recalls watching The Elephant Man at way too early an age, having a demented effect on his psyche for several years. During his high school and college years, Don randomly selected film directors and rented every VHS tape he could find by them. His discovery of the amazing TLA Video stores (Philadelphia, PA) thrust this obsession into overdrive. Don then dove with eyes wide open into a Cinema Studies Master’s program at Temple University. He soon found himself covering film festivals for Ain't It Cool News, which got him started on the path he finds himself on today. Besides contributing to Film School Rejects, Don is also the Senior Editor for Smells Like Screen Spirit.

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