Cinema Six

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

A New Orleans native, writer-director Todd Berger moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas. After graduating from UT’s Radio-Television-Film program, Berger was quickly swept away to the always sunny shores of Los Angeles. With The Scenesters (2009) and It’s a Disaster (2012), Berger has become yet another success story to come out of UT’s film program; and even though he did not spend very much time in Austin, Berger has maintained very strong ties with the Austin film community. So, when we heard that Berger was coming to Austin for the regional premiere of his latest directorial effort, It’s a Disaster, at the 2012 Austin Film Festival we thought it would be fun to get his outsider perspective on the Austin…

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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 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

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

Occasionally, Austin Cinematic Limits is going to post interviews with key players in Austin’s film community. It might be common knowledge that there is a rich pool of directors in Austin, but there are also a ton of fantastic actors, cinematographers, composers, animators, make-up artists, and other cinematic people with whom we also want to converse. Maybe — just maybe — we will gain a better understanding of why all of these talented people have chosen to live and work in Austin rather than Los Angeles or New York City. We are starting with producer Kelly Williams — partly because there are only a handful of producers who actually live and work in Austin, but also because he is currently juggling so many great projects. Since resigning from his role as Film Program Director at the Austin Film Festival in June 2011, Williams has already produced Kat Candler’s Hellion (premiered at Sundance 2012), the anthology film Holiday Road (premiered at Slamdance 2012) and Mark Pott’s Cinema Six (scheduled to premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival in April 2012). Don Swaynos’ Pictures of Superheroes just completed post-production and Williams has two more films already in the pipeline, the feature-length version of Hellion and Yen Tan’s Pit Stop.

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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.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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