Austin Movie Events

Austin Cinematic Limits

I have been attending the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) religiously for the last six years (and a bit more sporadically for the eight years prior to that). Sure, I do not consider myself to be lesbian, gay, bi or transgender, but I do have a soft spot for New Queer Cinema. I consider Todd Haynes, Gus Van Zant, Gregg Araki, Pedro Almodóvar, Jamie Babbit, Derek Jarman, James Cameron Mitchell, Céline Sciamma and Xavier Dolan to be some of the most adventurous and exciting filmmakers of the last couple of decades. Not only do they expand upon the traditional cinematic representations of sexuality and gender, but their films push the boundaries of the narrative form. That said, I feel like my choices have been kind of limited when it has come to aGLIFF’s programming; because, to be brutally honest, there is such a thing as “too queer” for my tastes. I was clearly not aGLIFF’s target demographic, and I totally understand that; but, despite being an outsider, I have consistently walked away from each aGLIFF with three to five stand-out films that have ended up on my year-end lists. This being its 25th year, aGLIFF opted for a major face lift. A clever new re-branding scheme changed the name of the festival to Polari, thus removing any gender-specific terminology (which seems to be in a constant state of flux anyway) in an attempt to make the festival open to everyone (not just gays and lesbians, as suggested […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

  I was going to yell at most of you (yes, even you!) for not buying an advance ticket to Cinema East‘s Tugg screening of I Am Not a Hipster. Why? Because I really want to see that film, but not enough pre-sale tickets were sold so it was cancelled. But as I thought about it some more, I realized that my yelling would have probably come off as being condescending or patronizing. Besides, it is not my job to lecture the Austinites reading this column about their lack of support of independent film, now is it? It does sound like Cinema East is going to give us another chance to see I Am Not a Hipster in the near future, so stayed tuned…and please don’t let me down ever again. While on the subject of cancelled screenings… You know those high winds that came in with the “cold front” on Saturday? Well, those very same winds that brought our daytime temperatures down into the 80s (!!!) destroyed the screen at the Blue Starlite! For those of you who were disappointingly turned away from the sold out Saturday night screening of Grease, there will be a “wind check” (you know, like a rain check but without the rain) date on September 28 but you do need to send an email to them to confirm your slot. If you cannot make it that screening, you can use your “wind check” anytime before the end of the year; you just need email the Blue Starlite […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

P.J. Raval and Kelly Williams had barely unpacked from their trip to the Sundance Creative Producing Labs when IFP announced that Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary and Hellion were selected as part of its Project Forum for the 34th edition of Independent Film Week (September 16-20, 2012). Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary (directed by P.J. Raval, produced by Sara Giustini) was chosen in the Spotlight on Documentaries category which contains 49 other documentary features currently at an early financing stage to those nearing completion. Hellion (written and to be directed by Kat Candler, produced by Kelly Williams) will participate in the No Borders International Co-Production Market which includes 42 other narrative projects in development. Austin will be represented by a third film at IFP, Clay Liford‘s script-in-progress, Cutlet (written and to be directed by Clay Liford, produced by Angie Meyer and Brock Williams), which will participate in the Emerging Narrative section with 24 other feature scripts in development. The purpose of Independent Film Week is to provide opportunities for filmmakers to connect with financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers who can help them complete their projects. A slate of 165 films were selected by IFP for this year’s Project Forum.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Austin will be representin’ at the Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. As if winning the Truer Than Fiction Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards weren’t enough, Austin filmmaker Heather Courtney’s Where Soldiers Come From (which was broadcast on PBS’s POV series) just received an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story – Long Form” category. The awards ceremony will take place Monday, October 1 at the Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have not seen Where Soldiers Come From, it will be rebroadcast in September. And, don’t worry, I will remind you again. Former Austinite Kyle Henry‘s Fourplay (which boasts an Austin-centric cast and crew including producer Jason Wehling, cinematographer PJ Raval and actor Paul Soileau) premiered at San Franciso’s Frameline36 in June and it just screened last night in Los Angeles at Outfest 2012. I can only assume that Fourplay will be screening at many more LGBT festivals in the coming year and the Austin premiere will probably take place at aGLIFF 2012 (October 3-7, 2012) but that’s merely an assumption. Austin filmmaker and graphic designer, Yen Tan (Ciao) wrapped principal photography on his newest feature Pit Stop last week. Pit Stop tells the parallel stories of two gay men living in a small Texas town. These two men are “country queers” who have opted to live someplace where their lifestyle is not tolerated. Being gay is part of their identity, but they are not “out”; instead, they find ways to blend […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Kyle Day’s first feature, Cherry Bomb, plays as an homage to the gritty and sexy grindhouse and sexplotation flicks of the early 1980s. The film’s protagonist, Cherry (Julin Jean), is an exotic dancer who is attacked by a group of men in the strip club where she works. When the hospitalized Cherry learns that her assailants have avoided arrest, she vows to kill them all and let god sort them out. Thanks to an impressive trailer that spread like wildfire throughout the blogosphere, Well Go USA Entertainment took notice and snagged the rights to release the Austin-filmed Cherry Bomb on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. To celebrate the film’s official home video release on July 10, The Show! Austin is screening Cherry Bomb at the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane. There will be a Q&A after the screening with director Kyle Day, writer-producer Garrett Hargrove and actors Julin Jean and Denise Williamson. Of course, the screening sold out well in advance via Tugg; so if you do not already have a ticket, you will just have to read our interview with Kyle Day and then watch Cherry Bomb on Blu-ray, DVD or Digital (or vice versa).

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Austin Cinematic Limits

How many movie fans does it take to paddle down the Guadalupe River to a Drafthouse Films screening of Klown? Even after the Ultimate Klown Canoe Trip on Saturday, there’s still no answer for that. All I know is that film critics are much better at being witty and snarky than they are at canoeing. Nonetheless, the endless amounts of free beer definitely helped distract us from the fact that we were outside and exercising. The weather was even somewhat pleasant — low 90s and cloudy. Twitch’s Josh Hurtado and I did not know each other beforehand, but everyone else had already paired up and we were the odd men out. So, we grabbed our life jackets, paddles and canoe, hit the river and became fast friends. Right at the onset of our journey there was a massive pile up of canoes (and we had not even reached the “canoe-eating tree” yet!). Once we cleared ourselves of that mess, Josh and I opted to distance ourselves from the pack and never look back… We navigated the shallow river quite well — only having to get our feet wet a few times — and if it was a race, Josh and I won (just barely beating Tim and Karrie League who came out of nowhere in the closing quarter mile). Sure, we did not get to paddle in the pack of critics alongside Klown‘s Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam (though I did sit beside Hvam on the bus ride), but Josh […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it was the Paramount Theatre’s Summer Classic Film series that lured me to Austin 14 years ago, but Austin truly became the city of my dreams during the Summer of 2010 when Cinema East began. Life really does not get much better than spending warm summer nights, outside on a picnic blanket, with a six-pack of beer (or bottle of wine), watching some of my favorite films of the festival circuit with an audience of 400-700 people. Sure, I could do without the humidity and the mosquitoes, but otherwise Cinema East is as close to heaven as I might ever get. Now in its third summer, Cinema East kicks off on June 10 with Bob Byington’s newest feature, Somebody Up There Likes Me, with Byington and star Nick Offerman in attendance for a Q&A. Cinema East will run every other Sunday through August 19, featuring screenings of Gayby (June 24), Kid Thing (July 8), Sun Don’t Shine (July 22), King Kelly (August 5), and Girl Walk // All Day (August 19).

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Summer is almost here. Are you still looking for something to keep your movie-loving kids (ages 9-18) busy this summer? Sure, you could drop them off at the multiplex every morning on your way to work, but allow me to recommend something much better — Austin Film Festival’s Summer Film Camp. Don’t worry, I am thinking exactly what you are thinking. “Why didn’t something like this exist when I was a kid?” Yeah, I know, kids have it so much easier nowadays! For example, I remember when I had to walk barefoot in the snow, uphill for ten miles to get to some lame-ass summer camp when I was a kid. Twenty years from now, do you really want your kids to be stuck in mindless office jobs reminiscing about their oh-so-boring childhoods while stressing out about what to do with their kids over the upcoming summer? Yes, that’s right, maybe if you enroll them in AFF’s Summer Film Camp they won’t grow up to have tedious office jobs; but, first and foremost, they certainly won’t have bad memories of their childhood summers.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Flashback to the spring of 1998 — yours truly is living in Philadelphia and desperately looking for another city to call my home. I am not ashamed to admit that I plan on basing a significant part of this decision on the quality of programming at movie theaters in each city. Austin is the clear favorite in this category. I fondly remember falling in love with the Alamo Drafthouse during SXSW 1998 (beer! food! movies!), but it is my virginal foray into the Paramount Theatre that remains emblazoned upon my mind. Despite earning a masters degree in cinema studies, I never had access to a repertory cinema before. Sure, I studied the history of cinema but I watched all of the films on television. Now, I am finally experiencing those films in the way that they were intended to be seen! It might be hard to believe, but up until that fateful summer, I had never seen a film released prior to 1975 on the big screen. Flashforward 14 years — I find myself at the Hideout Cafe sitting across the table from the Paramount’s film programmer, Jesse Trussell, on the eve of the official release of the 2012 Summer Classic Film series schedule.  Trussell hands a photocopy of the schedule to me. I scan it quickly. My jaw drops.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Ever since I moved to Austin 14 years ago, the summer has meant one thing to me (well, besides several months of brutal triple digit temperatures): Paramount’s Summer Classic Film Series. More recently, Cinema East has developed into a staple for my Sunday evenings during the summer months. While I anxiously anticipate announcements from the Paramount and Cinema East regarding their 2012 summer programming, the Alamo Drafthouse is the first out of the gate with a couple of announcements that have pushed my calendar well beyond its cinematic limits for the next few months. First off, Alamo Drafthouse and Mondo announced their partnership with Martin Scorsese’s film preservation organization, The Film Foundation. Created in 1990 by Scorsese, The Film Foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with the leading archives and studios, the foundation raises awareness of the urgent need for preservation and has saved over 560 films.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Up until last week I never heard of Adventure Time. (I will chalk this up to not having easy access to cable television, specifically Cartoon Network, rather than my utter lameness.) So, it was not until the announcement that Mondo Gallery was opening an Adventure Time themed art show — featuring 40 pieces of original art and posters from 31 artists (the show is on display through May 26) — that I first heard of Finn and Jake and the Land of Ooo. Considering that Mondo’s tastes are typically in line with my own, their love for Adventure Time intrigued me. Luckily, the gallery opening was to be paired with an Adventure Time Marathon Screening and Feast — hosted by Mondo and featuring series creator Pendleton Ward and voice actor Tom Kenny (Ice King) — at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. What better way to get introduced to Adventure Time than with a two-hour immersion into nine episodes (including two world premiere episodes), served up with a three-course menu (including “Everything Burrito”, “Wizard Rainbow Dogs”, “Decorpsinator Puffs” and “Meatman Meat”) designed by Alamo Executive Chef John Bullington, and seated alongside a sold out audience of rabid Adventure Time fans? Oh, yes, the fans! Seeing all of the fans decked out in Adventure Time costumes got me all the more excited to experience whatever it was I was about to see. I mean, how often do people dress up like characters from bad television shows? (Okay, don’t answer that.) I was […]

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