It’s always nice to see a labor of love make its way to the big screen. More often than not, film festivals are the proving grounds where young filmmakers cut their teeth seeing their low budget passion projects play before audiences and critics. Austin is home to several film fests, and it’s always great to see a local production find a home at one of them.
Austin High is the brainchild of Will Elliott and Kirk Johnson, and it’s having its world premiere at this year’s Austin Film Festival. They co-wrote the screenplay (from a story by star Michael S. Wilson), co-produced the shoot and then co-edited the footage to create the final product, a feature length comedy. While making a film is a collaborative effort that requires lots of hard work from multiple people, Elliott, Johnson and Wilson seem to be the main creative force and in a lot of ways the film is their baby.
Austin High tells the story of Samuel Wilson, the principal of Ladybird High School in beautiful Austin, Texas. Sam is a laid back guy who enjoys the occasional herbal remedy as do more than a few of his students. But when a new crackdown on marijuana is initiated, Sam must figure out how to get his school to comply without comprising his own ideals.
Admittedly, it sounds a bit like a standard pot comedy and coming-of-age story, but if the trailer is any indication it should be pretty damn funny. You can view the trailer below or over at the film’s official site. It also apparently includes an appearance from reality TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter so there’s that. You might recognize stars Byron Brown and Sam Eidson, who, along with Kirk Johnson, are members of the Old Murder House, a comedy troupe who made a big splash in Austin putting on live stage play versions of classic films at the Highball. I saw their rendition of Robocop, dubbed Robocop Live! which I can assure you was flat out hilarious, and I hear they have a new play in the works for November.
Austin High plays tonight and again on Monday night as part of the Austin Film Festival.