Cinema East

Austin Cinematic Limits

As many of you probably know, I have been juggling an all-consuming day job with various writing gigs, essentially leaving no time for anything else (life, sleep); and, as the saying goes, all work and no play makes Don a dull boy. We have enough Jack Torrance’s in this world, and before I start running around abandoned hotels with an ax, I figured it was in my best interest to start hacking away at my current workload.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

For those of you who reside in the Big Apple and want to see one of Austin’s finest films of the last few years, Clay Liford‘s Wuss will be screening at the reRun Theater in Brooklyn on September 17 courtesy of Filmwax. Wuss is a masterful work of sound and vision, clearly exceeding the production values of most independent cinema. Liford’s uniquely desaturated, nearly monochromatic aesthetic visually binds this feature with his debut feature (Earthling), while clearly separating himself from most other filmmakers. If Wuss was produced in Hollywood, it would certainly include bright, cheery and over-saturated cinematography and a Billboard Top 40 soundtrack, but that is clearly not how Liford sees (or hears) the world. Lastly, Nate Rubin‘s lead performance as Mitch — a meek and measly twerp of a high school English teacher (technically, a substitute with a long-term assignment) who is otherwise known as “Little Bitch” — is nothing short of masterful. Speaking of Rubin, have you seen this Papa John’s commercial?

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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

I received ton of emails after my “What Works for Austin Filmmakers?” post last week, which provided me with motivation to continue on with part two this week. One thing is obvious, this is a very touchy and emotional subject. Several filmmakers contacted me with their personal insights, all of which will appear one way or another in this or subsequent posts. Some emails were critical of certain members of the local film community, but I will not mention anyone’s names. My goal is to do whatever I can to help foster a more supportive and successful film community, so I am not here to get in the middle of any personal grievances. I do think there is a certain level of validity in many of the claims, but I will keep the criticisms as general as possible. So, I ended my last post with my thoughts on micro-budget genre films and promised to discuss comedies next. Comedies have long been a part of micro-budget filmmaking (especially student films), but most of the time these comedies lack a strong script and passable production quality. Austin is extremely lucky in that it has a very talented go-to pool of comedic actors (I’m looking at you, Chris Doubek, John Merriman, Kerri Lendo, Ashley Spillers, Heather Kafka, Kelli Bland, Paul Gordon and everyone else whom I am forgetting at this particular juncture), but its the films with impressive writing and production values that have historically achieved a higher level of success. This is how […]

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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

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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