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?
Something I have yet to mention in this column is that Rafael Antonio Ruiz and Jennymarie Jemison’s short film The Quiet Girl’s Guide to Violence will celebrate its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2012. The film follows Holly (Jennymarie Jemison), a quiet girl who basically just fades into the background of everyday life. As it turns out, Holly is the victim of childhood bullying. After an encounter with her childhood bully, Holly grows increasingly empowered in her life, especially when facing other possible bullies. As the title suggests, it is violence that Holly resorts to – but is revenge really a viable long-term solution?
Brandon Dickerson’s Sironia continues its theatrical tour as Dickerson prepares to shoot his sophomore effort – a 1960s New York City gang drama – in Los Angeles. Dickerson will be present at the Violet Crown Cinema screening of Sironia (presented by Texas Independent Film Network) on September 18. Sironia will then be screening one more time in Austin, on September 20 at Alamo Lake Creek. Dickerson’s debut feature about giving up on one’s dreams is visually impeccable and an all-around solid piece of filmmaking. It is quite astounding that Dickerson was able to construct a film with such high production values as an independent filmmaker. Even with the casting of Sironia, Dickerson is able to blend established acting talent such as Amy Acker, Jeremy Sisto and Tony Hale with novices like Wes Cunningham, all of whom lend the film a very authentic Texas air. These two screenings will probably be the last opportunities for Austinites to witness the sheer beauty of Jordan Valenti’s 35mm cinematography on the silver screen.
While I impatiently await an announcement of a local festival or theatrical screening of Cinema Six, I am very excited to announce that the Austin-produced comedy will have its international premiere at the Raindance Film Festival (September 26 – October 7) in London. (One more reason for me to respect the comedic sensibilities of the Brits.) I have said it before, and I will continue saying it – Mark Potts and Cole Selix have taken a giant leap forward with Cinema Six (Liford’s impeccable cinematography certainly lends a helping hand), proving themselves to be mightily adept comedy writers; yet they have been snubbed by more major U.S. film festivals than I ever care to mention. I guess those certain major U.S. film festivals do not enjoy highly quotable and irreverent comedies, because Cinema Six has at least one hundred masterful one-liners (each carefully sprinkled with profanity) for you to regurgitate ad nauseum. (Kudos to Dallas International Film Festival, deadCENTER and Indy Film Fest for having big enough balls to program Cinema Six at their festivals!) Okay, yeah, I get it. You have never heard of the film’s three lead actors – John Merriman, Mark Potts and Brand Rackley – but I trust that you will warm up to them rather nicely if only you give them a chance. My prediction is that the Raindance announcement is just the beginning of an exciting fall festival season for Cinema Six…or at least here’s hoping!
I suspect that Bryan Poyser’s The Bounceback will have fewer problems getting the attention it deserves following Poyser’s success with Lovers of Hate. The Austin-based production which stars Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield), Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers) and Addison Timlin (Californication) – and also boasts a hefty Austin-centric supporting cast – will be featured as this week’s Austin Film Society Narratives-in-Progress screening at the AFS Screening Room on September 17. Assuming that the film has wrapped post-production in time, I bet that The Bounceback will world premiere at Sundance 2013 or SXSW 2013.
Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund’s Now, Forager will be kicking off its theatrical release at the IFC Center (October 3–9), followed by engagements at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago and the Downtown Independent theater in LA (October 12–18), courtesy of their U.S. theatrical distributor Argot Pictures. Now, Forager was first screened as a work-in-progress at the 2011 US-in-Progress Filmmarket in Poland where it won a Special Jury Prize, while also gaining a Polish co-producer (who donated color-correction and mastering services) and an international sales agent. Now, Forager’s official world premiere was at the 2012 International FilmFestival Rotterdam, and their North American Premiere was at New Directors/New Films (New York City) in March 2012.
Honorary Austinite Alex Karpovsky will be screening Red Flag outdoors at Cheer Up Charlie’s on September 30 thanks to Austin Film Society’s Best of the Fests and Cinema East. In Red Flag, Karpovsky plays a somewhat fictionalized version of himself. His character, Alex, embarks upon a tour of the southern United States with his cinema verite mockumentary, Woodpecker. The trip immediately follows an emotionally tenuous break-up with his longterm girlfriend, Rachel (Caroline White). Taking a cue from the neo-realists, Karpovsky intersperses his fictional characters within real settings and among real people. Then again, this might be another elaborately staged ruse along the lines of Woodpecker – maybe it really is all just fiction. Karpovsky is one of my favorite directors and actors of the burgeoning micro-budget movement in the U.S., and Red Flag is one of my favorite films from the 2012 LA Film Fest, so I strongly recommend this one!
Austin Movie Events This Week:
9/18 – Alamo South Lamar – AFS’s Essential Cinema Series features A Burning Hot Summer. (More info)
9/18 – Alamo Slaughter Lane – Alamo’s Cinema Cocktails series presents Some Like It Hot with Alamo Beverage Director Bill Norris pouring various Champagne mixes and Manhattans made in hot water bottles. (More info)
9/19 – Alamo South Lamar – AFS’s Doc Nights features The Light in Her Eyes. (More info)
9/19–9/20 – Alamo Slaughter Lane – Big screen classics presents Hausu, a mind-blowing Nobuhiko Ohbayashi film from 1977. (More info)
9/20–9/27 – Alamo South Lamar – Let the wild ruckus begin as Fantastic Fest 2012 invades the Alamo South Lamar. (More info)
9/21 – Blue Starlite Drive-In – Texas at the Drive-in selected by AFS presents Raising Arizona. (More info)
9/22 – Blue Starlite Drive-In – Texas at the Drive-in selected by AFS presents True Grit and The Big Lebowski. (More info)