Wuss

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 first became aware of Jonny Mars during SXSW 2010, thanks to his role as Donnie in The Happy Poet. I have never been one to judge an actor on one performance, so it was not until I saw Mars the next time – as Steve Worth in Wuss – that I realized his talents as an actor. I remember wondering to myself, why hasn’t Mars run off to Los Angeles to become a big star? Then, after watching Mars truly own his couple minutes of screen time in Hellion, I knew it was time to pose that question to the man himself. Before I got a chance to speak with Mars, a funny thing happened: I learned that Mars is also a director, and his directorial debut, America’s Parking Lot (which premiered at SXSW 2012), is a multi-faceted documentary about the renowned Dallas Cowboys’ Gate 6 tailgaters. Mars once again astounded me, this time for his astute understanding of the documentary form. In terms of its narrative arc and development of conflict, America’s Parking Lot is damn near perfect. If I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed America’s Parking Lot was directed by a seasoned veteran, not a first-time director. Now I really needed to chat with Mars, post-haste!

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As this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi winds to a close with this evening’s Closing Night Gala of The Adventures of Tintin, it’s time to start celebrating the films and talents that made this year’s festival such a massive success. The festival announced their full listing of award winners and prize recipients at their annual awards brunch, held this morning. There are a number of winners here that have already racked up some wins and notice throughout the festival season, including Michael R. Roskam‘s Bullhead, Athina Rachel Tsangari‘s Attenberg, and Clay Liford‘s Wuss, but the festival also paid special notice to Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts, along with their selections of shorts. The festival ends this evening with that very special Tintin screening, which both Ms. Loring and I will be attending, with animated bells on. Look for Allison’s review of the film tomorrow, one she is excited to write because “this film is about pirates – my people!” Nothing but professionalism here, folks. Check out the full listing of AFI FEST’s award winners after the break.

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With AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi rapidly approaching, the festival has just announced their first slate of film selections, including the full line-up for three of the festival’s most unique and important sections – Young Americans (which features film from up-and-coming American filmmakers), New Auteurs (which gives a platform for first and second features from around the world), and Spotlight (which picks one filmmaker for special recognition and screenings of their work). This year’s AFI FEST is already shaping up to be a fine festival for the fall season (alliteration is so choice), and the announcement of these selections only highlights that. Today’s announced films include a bevy of already buzzed-about titles from the festival circuit, including Sophia Takal’s Green, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg, Michaël R. Roskam’s Bullhead, Markus Schleinzer’s Michael, Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, Clay Liford’s Wuss, Alison Bagnall’s The Dish & The Spoon, and many more. This year’s Spotlight will also shine on filmmaker Joe Swanberg, who will show all three films of his Full Moon Trilogy, including the World Premiere of the final chapter, The Zone. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list and descriptions of the films to be featured in AFI FEST’s New Auteurs, Young Americans, and Spotlight sections.

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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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