Kat Candler

Sundance Institute

Kat Candler expands her short film of the same name to feature-length with Hellion, in which she explores the warm-tinted indie trend of faux-nostalgia for small Southern towns, where the ruffians – or hellions – learn to be men. Subplots abound in this tale of men on the Texan coastline, but there’s no strong central plot to be found. Aaron Paul plays Hollis Wilson, a grieving husband who’s lost his wife and is trying to keep custody of his two sons. Paul brings a level of emotional depth to the character that audiences have come to expect from the Breaking Bad actor, but it’s really 15-year-old Josh Wiggins who steals the show – in his first film to date – as the older son, Jacob. Deke Garner and Juliette Lewis round out the cast as Wes, the younger brother, and Pam, the boys’ aunt. A combination of Hollis’s parental absence and Jacob’s delinquent behavior eventually exposes the family to Child Protective Services, putting Wes in the custody of Aunt Pam and pushing the father and protective older brother to a breaking point.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

I had no intentions of making this another “news” post (this was supposed to be a rambling soliloquy on micro-budget genre filmmaking in Austin), but shortly after I had published last week’s Austin Cinematic Limits column on The Latest Austin Movie Success Stories, I heard yet another fantastic Austin movie success story. Two of the eleven projects selected for the Sundance Creative Producing Labs this year are from Austin! Color me impressed…and incredibly proud. Kelly Williams (who was featured in Austin Cinematic Limits in February 2012) has been selected to participate in the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab, a five-day Lab where narrative feature film producers work with an accomplished group of Creative Advisors to develop their creative instincts, communication and problem-solving skills in all stages of film production. This year’s Creative Advisors include producers Anne Carey (The American, Adventureland), Karin Chien (Circumstance, Exploding Girl), Lynette Howell (Terri, Blue Valentine) and Paul Mezey (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sugar). Williams was selected for his work on writer-director Kat Candler’s Hellion, which premiered at Sundance 2012 as a short film and is now in the early stages of being developed into a feature-length production.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Writer-director Kat Candler (Cicadas, Jumping Off Bridges) has an undeniable knack for creating lush atmospheres within her films, developing cinematic worlds that relish in youthful ecstasy and naivete. The dreamlike visual qualities of Candler’s films play like not-so-distant memories of youth; yet the characters and their actions are incredibly realistic. All of Candler’s films remind me in one way or another of my own youth, and that right there is something very few filmmakers have ever captured. I hate to play favorites, but Candler is one of my favorite Austin-based filmmakers. Her latest film Hellion (which premiered at Sundance 2012) is programmed in what is clearly the strongest Texas Shorts program in SXSW Film history. I chatted with Candler on the eve of her regional premiere of Hellion to discuss her career as a filmmaker in Austin…

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