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  • Dan Eggleston
    ON LOCATION ... While some film projects are at the ready from Austin names, there s lots = of action on projects slated for TV, too By Joe O Connell The
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 5, 2004
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      >From stick figures to stars, Austin's latest television prospects

      While some film projects are at the ready from Austin names, there's
      lots =

      action on projects slated for TV, too

      By Joe O'Connell

      The Austin film scene has long awaited the next Robert Rodriguez or

      Linklater. The latest contender is an Argentina-raised engineer who has
      penned a pair of software books and owes his budding success to the

      Jeffrey Travis, 32, is on the leading edge of the Lone Star State's

      small-screen movement. Next week he'll shoot a few sample scenes for
      "Except for Danny," a potential Fox television show. A full-fledged
      pilot m=

      follow, and if that's picked up, expect the series to be shot locally.

      Meanwhile, Christine Lahti is signed on for "Jack and Bobby," the WB

      pilot shooting in Austin starting next week with Lahti's husband, Thomas

      Schlamme ("The West Wing"), producing.

      And in Dallas, NBC is gearing up for "HUB," a high-profile pilot
      featuring =

      Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood in an airport setting.
      Unfortunately, =

      word is HBO may pass on Linklater's Austin-shot pilot, "$5.15/Hr." Calls

      office to confirm were not returned.

      Travis' show, which features a crayon stick figure, is the more
      improbable =

      perhaps more exciting development. Consider his career a reverberation
      the late '90s tech boom. With a master's in engineering from the

      Texas, he created one software company, worked for another, then
      reconsidered his options when the latter's Austin office closed. He

      chase a longtime dream and started making small films that he looked on
      as =

      homework assignments. He bought Rodriguez's book about guerilla
      filmmaking and asked questions of any film pro he could find.

      Travis and pals formed Project Seven, an effort to push themselves to
      make =

      seven short films in one year. Some got shown at film festivals. A

      film about a kid (Travis' son Aidan) whose crayon goes out of control
      made =

      onto film Web sites including Atomfilms.com. A Fox development executive

      saw the short, "What's Wrong With This Picture?" which includes flash
      animation by David Young, and gave Travis a call.

      "You always hear the hype about the Internet changing things — blah,
      blah, =

      blah — but in this case it really happened," Travis said.

      Travis, a descendant of Alamo hero William B. Travis and the son of
      missionaries, is trying to stick to his guns as the network weighs in
      with =

      suggestions. The final product may end up in Fox's Sunday night lineup
      quirky family shows. This one features a family of prodigies and

      Danny, the average son. A stick figure drawing comes to life and tries
      to h=

      the boy, but often creates chaos instead. One sample scene involves an
      exploding television. If the pilot fizzles, Travis vows to remain

      a film career, while keeping his day job as a software consultant.

      Big screen news: Linklater is indeed set to direct an adaptation of
      Philip =

      Dick's sci-fi tale "A Scanner Darkly," according to Production Weekly.

      filming in Austin and a return to Bob Sabiston's rotoscope animation
      used i=

      "Waking Life." Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney are producing for
      Section Eight films.

      Robert Byington ("Olympia") wrote and will direct "Ghetto Blue" in
      Austin t=

      summer with a cast including Kevin Corrigan, Paul Rudd, Stephen Root,
      Seda, Tom Guiry and Will Patton. Tom Richmond, who shot "Love and a
      will be behind the camera.

      "The King," which is shooting in Austin and Corpus Christi with Gael

      Bernal, Sam Shepard and Daryl Hannah starring, is seeking funny and
      embarrassing home videos to use in the film. Send your worst to
      corpusllc@.... Those chosen get to visit the set for lunch
      with c=

      and crew.

      "Friday Night Lights" has turned out the lights in Austin and moved on
      Odessa. After Odessa, the film shoots for a few weeks at the Astrodome

      Mike Judge's futuristic comedy "3001" has opened an Austin office and is

      slated to start shooting next month.

      No confirmation from Rodriguez's corner, but rumor is his

      noirish "Sin City" will feature a unique semi-animated style. The
      quietly b=

      auteur also has the Edgar Rice Burroughs science-fiction classic "A

      of Mars" on the burner.

      ON LOCATION appears the first Friday of the month in the Austin
      Statesman. Got a tip about the Texas film industry? Send it to
    • Dan Eggleston
      DECEMBER 10, 2004 Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Rosanky resident Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions) has just turned in the first draft of A Spell for Chameleon,
      Message 2 of 19 , Dec 9, 2004
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        DECEMBER 10, 2004

        Film News
        Rosanky resident Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions) has just turned in the
        first draft of A Spell for Chameleon, which might be Warner Bros.' next
        big fantasy franchise and the wordsmith's highest-profile script since
        The Iron Giant. Warner has optioned the entire run of author Piers
        Anthony's Xanth series, which includes 29 books, beginning with Spell.
        The story follows a boy trying to discover his power in a world where
        everyone claims some magical gift. "With Harry Potter winding down,"
        McCanlies says, "they need a new series." McCanlies is working with
        Wolfgang Peterson on the project, which he terms a comedy in the Shrek
        vein, and either of the two men could end up directing. Meanwhile,
        McCanlies hopes to be behind the lens by spring in Austin helming his
        lower-budget project, described as a capital city take on The Big
        Lebowski. He'll be polishing a script over the holidays.

        Frequent Austin visitor/resident Dennis Quaid is also taking pen in hand
        for the Spade Cooley biopic Shame on You, which he'll also direct and
        star in. Western swinger Cooley was a music star in the Forties who
        killed his wife in the Sixties while his daughter watched. He died
        backstage at a 1969 benefit concert for which he was granted special
        permission to perform. Katie Holmes is in talks to portray Cooley's
        wife. Sounds like a natural for an Austin shoot, but don't quote me on

        South Austin Pictures has wrapped its first project, Everything or
        Nothing, starring Natasha Melnick (Freaks and Geeks) as a young woman
        who must re-create herself after falling into a life of drugs and
        prostitution. Gary Chason (Dusty in Dear Pillow) directed Mary Sue
        Duetz's script. Also in the cast are Frank Sinatra Jr., Joe King
        Carrasco, and Chasen's lovely Pillow castmate Viviane Vives.

        Props to my homies: Richard Linklater's Before Sunset continues as a
        critics' darling with a best picture nomination for the Independent
        Feature Project's New York Gotham Awards (Sideways won), special
        recognition for excellence in filmmaking from the National Board of
        Review (along with Undertow, penned by Austin's Joe Conway), and an
        Independent Spirit Award nom from IFP's West Coast branch for
        screenwriting (along with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy)... Dear Pillow
        writer/director Bryan Poyser and producer/director of photography/editor
        Jacob Vaughan are also up for an Independent Spirit Award in the Someone
        to Watch category... Texas native Thomas Haden Church took best
        supporting actor from the National Board of Review for Sideways...
        Austinite Kyle Henry's "Room" and former Austinites Jay and Mark
        Duplass' "The Puffy Chair" have been selected for the 2005 Sundance Film
        Festival... "Rio Peligroso: A Day in the Life of a Legendary Coyote,"
        co-directed by Duane Graves ("Up Syndrome") and Justin Meeks, won the
        first round of Kevin Smith's Movies Askew contest and will be featured
        on a DVD release next year as well as considered for a feature-length
        project. You can watch it at www.moviesaskew.com.

        Funny business: The University of Texas steals the show in the first
        trailer for Tommy Lee Jones' Austin-shot Man of the House (formerly
        Cheer Up). See it at
        www.sonypictures.com/movies/manofthehouse/index.html... And Harold Ramis
        is directing Owen Wilson in a comedy? Sweet. I'll pass on details when I
        get them.

        Send tips to filmnews@....
      • Dan Eggleston
        Film NewsBY JOE O CONNELL No good deed goes unpunished. Just ask Kevin Triplett at Mopac Media, who came to the rescue of fellow film folk whose computers were
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 3, 2005
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          Film News

          BY JOE O'CONNELL
          No good deed goes unpunished. Just ask Kevin Triplett at Mopac Media, who came to the rescue of fellow film folk whose computers were damaged in a recent Guadalupe Arts Center fire. He may title his next movie Breaking and Entering, as that's what thieves did to his office, making away with a bevy of cameras and the Macintosh G4 computer on which he'd been editing his eight-years-in-the-making Blaze Foley documentary. He was cleansing one of those cameras of smoke damage for Picture Box Productions from that aforementioned fire.

          "I was hoping to finish it within the year," Triplett says of his doc about the legendary singer-songwriter, which he'll have to begin editing again from scratch. "I still think I can get back on schedule despite this." And despite insurance that covers only a tiny fraction of the $23,000 loss. Police have alerted pawn shops and Triplett is keeping an eye on eBay. "I've been real impressed with the film community, how they came out in support after the fire and now how they've come out in support of me."

          Taylor-Made: A coming-attractions poster for Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality 2 adorns the Howard Theatre in downtown Taylor. A block away, Bullock herself has been busy filming scenes for the Truman Capote biopic Every Word Is True, in which she portrays author Harper Lee. Passersby have done double-takes at the 1950s-era pointy-finned automobiles parked in front of downtown shops hawking ancient washing machines and cool-cat tuxedos. Shooting continues in the Austin area through April.

          No More Yankees, Ever: Joan Crawford as Scarlett O'Hara? It could've happened, and you can see the proof this Saturday as part of fun filmic events during Explore UT, which invites the community to explore the 40 Acres with myriad free events. Crawford's Gone With the Wind screen test will be shown at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center starting at 11am. Other coolness planned includes showcases of film faculty and student work, an examination of John Ford's Westerns, a basic editing course, and the (buhaha!) origins of the vampire. See details at www.utexas.edu/events/exploreut.

          And the Rest: Related to unsung Alamo heroes Gregorio and Ana Esparza? MGU Productions wants to interview you on camera Friday, March 4, at Alamo Hall in San Antonio for posterity. Contact filmmakers at mguproductions@...... Georgetown is getting a multiplex. Cinemark plans to open a 10-screen theatre in Simon Properties' Wolf Ranch development at the intersection of I-35 and Highway 29 in July... Stacy Schoolfield's feature doc Rescue Me, about animal rescue volunteers, including gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, is one of 10 projects selected for the Working Films at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art residency. Recent UT film grad P.J. Raval won the Student Heritage Award from the American Society of Cinematographers and will be profiled this spring in American Cinematographer magazine... Brian Satterwhite of Austin is wrapping the score for Houston-shot Mr. Hell with the aid of local musicians David Neubert, Joanna Winters, and Katie Morrison. Next up, Satterwhite scores Nick Jayanty and Justin Gilley's short, "Young Mutt," and Mustafa Razvi and Robert Garza's short, "Priya"... Syndicated courtroom television series Judge Alex begins shooting in Houston any day now... The Mexico-shot feature Veritas, about a comic-book hero who comes to life and starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Amy Jo Johnson, and Tyler Posey, is shooting a few additional scenes in Dallas... See the trailer to Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly at www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2665143?htv=12&htv=12.

          Send film tips to filmnews@....


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        • Dan Eggleston
          Film News BY JOE O CONNELL • Look no further than this alternative weekly s South by Southwest coverage and the festival insert for proof that Austin is the
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 10, 2005
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            Film News
            BY JOE O'CONNELL
            � Look no further than this alternative weekly's South
            by Southwest coverage and the festival insert for
            proof that Austin is the film capital of Texas.
            Locally made features abound, including opening
            night's The Wendell Baker Story, as well as Drop Dead
            Sexy. Then there's University of Texas film prof Ellen
            Spiro's intriguing doc Troop 1500, Dwight Adair's Bob
            Wills doc "Faded Love," and the long-awaited Be Here
            to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt from
            Margaret Brown. But visitors to our fair city should
            also take note of current projects that have Austin
            Studios, the nonprofit facility of the Austin Film
            Society, full to overflowing: Truman Capote biopic
            Every Word Is True, starring Sandra Bullock as Capote
            pal Harper Lee, is in full swing there, and is about
            to be joined by Revolver, a thriller starring Sarah
            Michelle Gellar. And don't forget Roller Girls, the
            A&E reality show following the badass ladies of the
            Lonestar Rollergirls. Hmm ... all this and not a
            single mention of Austin auteurs Richard Linklater or
            Robert Rodriguez? Of course, you might want to check
            out the final poster for Rodriguez's much anticipated
            Sin City at www.comingsoon.net/news.php?id=8597. The
            film opens April 1, but, you know, we wouldn't be
            surprised if somebody around town might be showing it
            before then. No kidding.

            � Oil's Well for TV: Austin screenwriter Mike Murphy
            sold Chameleon Entertainment on a reality TV show
            concept in November during the Screenwriting Expo in
            Hollywood, and Chameleon looks poised to sell Gusher,
            which is being described as The Apprentice for the red
            states. Murphy, who grew up in Refugio and has worked
            both in the oil business and on the rodeo circuit,
            conceived of the show in which teams work toward
            drilling for black gold, Texas tea, oil, that is.
            "I've been on drilling rigs and know how exciting it
            is," he says. "I just thought it would make a great

            � Demon Loving: Warner Bros. has optioned Georgetown
            author Julie Kenner's upcoming novel Carpe Demon:
            Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom for Chris
            Columbus and Michael Barnathan's 1492 Pictures, the
            same folks who brought us the Harry Potter films.
            Kevin and Dan Hageman, newcomers who are also penning
            Steven Spielberg's pet project Charlie Dills, have
            been brought on to write the screenplay. The book, to
            be released in July by Berkeley, is about a former
            demon-hunter turned professional mom who is forced
            back into her old biz. Kenner, an attorney who turned
            to full-time writing, was Julie Beck when she attended
            Austin's LBJ High.

            � TV on Film; Film on TV: Look for Between the Scenes
            on Time Warner Channel 16 at 8:30pm this Sunday and
            every Sunday in the near future. The show looks at
            area film productions and filmmakers, including Kat
            Candler (Cicadas), Bryan Poyser and Jake Vaughan (Dear
            Pillow), and the Mr. Sinus gang of toughs. Show
            producers Justin Johnson and Erik Mauck are also
            negotiating for a spot on the Austin Music Network.
            Are these the guys to fill the shoes of the late,
            great Show With No Name? Only time will tell.

            � And the Rest: TLC is scouting Austin-area small
            towns for the reality show Town Haul, in which an
            entire community gets a makeover. Buda and Coupland
            are on the list... Houston filmmaker Joe Grisaffi's
            independent film Laughing Boy is now available on
            Netflix. The film was named most original feature at
            the New York International Independent Film and Video
            Festival in 2000.
            Send tips to filmnews@....


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          • Dan Eggleston
            Film News BY JOE O CONNELL The Legislature s $20 million in proposed incentives to lure more film projects to Texas is emphasizing jobs and aiming to boost
            Message 5 of 19 , Mar 20, 2005
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              Film News
              BY JOE O'CONNELL
              The Legislature's $20 million in proposed incentives
              to lure more film projects to Texas is emphasizing
              jobs and aiming to boost rural areas as well as larger
              cities like Austin. And, of course, it's all about
              turning back the infidels in Louisiana and New Mexico
              whose similar incentive programs have cut into our
              slice of the auction. Early wording has landed in two
              House committees, and it offers a grant per film of a
              max of $750,000 for each $3.75 million spent on
              below-the-line wages to Texans for work done in Texas.
              That doesn't include large salaries for directors and
              star actors. To qualify, the projects have to spend at
              least $500,000 on Texas wages, while national and
              multistate commercials must spend $50,000 to qualify.
              In an interesting twist, movies that spend at least a
              quarter of their shoots outside Austin, Houston, and
              the Metroplex can get additional bucks. And a separate
              $10 million would be earmarked to promote the Texas
              film industry under the proposal with the belief that
              movies filmed in Texas raise the state's profile. The
              one-time (at least for now) incentive funds are
              projected to create 7,600 direct jobs and 15,200
              indirect jobs each year, if the proposal passes. More
              important, they could end the migration of Texas film
              crew and talent to Louisiana, which was highlighted
              recently when one of Austin's largest talent agencies,
              Jeff Nightbyrd's Acclaim, opened a New Orleans office.
              Film folk should do the necessary at the earliest:
              Contact your legislators.

              � Heard at SXSW: Luke Wilson, who, along with older
              brother Andrew premiered The Wendell Baker Story on
              South by Southwest Film 05's opening night, said
              during a press conference for the Austin-shot film
              that he's considering returning to the capital city
              for his upcoming adaptation of Jim Lehrer's novel
              White Widow. The story is set in 1950s Texas and
              centers on a bus driver with a fertile imagination.
              But first, Luke is working on a project with Matthew
              Lawrence set in Florida. Meanwhile, Owen Wilson
              spilled the beans on the next film for his frequent
              writing partner Wes Anderson. It's an adaptation of
              Roald Dahl's children's book Fantastic Mr. Fox
              featuring evil farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean ("one
              fat, one short, one lean") vs. a sly critter. Wendell
              Baker co-star Harry Dean Stanton, who chain-smoked his
              way through the press conference, proclaimed that
              "Austin is the cultural center of Texas, frankly."
              Also of note, recent Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church
              said the stoner comedy Rolling Kansas, which he
              directed in the Austin area in 2003, was sold to
              Comedy Central.

              � The untitled Focus Features film formerly known as
              Revolver has started shooting at Austin Studios.
              Joining Sarah Michelle Gellar in the cast are Sam
              Shepard, Kate Beahan (the upcoming Flight Plan), J.C.
              MacKenzie (Dark Angel), Adam Scott (The Aviator), and
              Aussie actor Peter O'Brien.


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            • Dan Eggleston
              Film News BY JOE O CONNELL • A Bill on Capitol Grounds: Efforts to boost the Texas film industry and fight off the evil hordes from Louisiana and New Mexico
              Message 6 of 19 , Mar 31, 2005
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                Film News
                BY JOE O'CONNELL

                • A Bill on Capitol Grounds: Efforts to boost the Texas film industry
                and fight off the evil hordes from Louisiana and New Mexico are
                percolating at the Capitol, and cities may soon be able to play the
                incentives game. Senate Bill 1142 sets aside $20 million to lure
                projects to Texas, based largely on the use of state film crews. The
                good news is it's been assigned to the Subcommittee on Emerging
                Technologies and Economic Development, which is chaired by bill sponsor
                state Sen. John Carona of Dallas. An aide to Carona says a public
                hearing is coming any day now. State Rep. Peggy Hamric of Houston is
                behind House Bill 2954, which is identical to the Senate version. It's
                in the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee, chaired by Rep. Harvey
                Hilderbran of Kerrville. The committee includes Austin's own Reps.
                Dawnna Dukes and Todd Baxter. Meanwhile, Rep. Rafael Anchía of Dallas
                has a so-far committee-less bill that would allow counties and cities to
                offer their own incentives through sales taxes. Want to urge them on
                (and make sure I've got something to write about in the future)? See
                www.house.state.tx.us and www.senate.state.tx.us for contact info.

                • A Scanner Delay: Warner Independent has pushed back the release of
                Richard Linklater's Philip K. Dick adaptation A Scanner Darkly from
                September of this year to March 2006 citing delays in the animation
                process. Rumors are swirling that Bob Sabiston, the creator of the
                rotoscoping process that Linklater also employed in his dreamy Waking
                Life to turn live-action into art, is no longer involved with Scanner.
                Sabiston says he cannot comment, and film producers did not return calls
                as of press time.

                • Private Idaho, First Class: Austin design guru Marc English has
                followed up his cool do-it-yourself, punkish design for the Criterion
                Collection release of Linklater's Slacker with the Criterion version of
                Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, and he hopes Wal-Mart is paying
                attention. English used the film's Shakespearean influences in the
                design to give it a more classic appearance and added a dreamy quality
                to the DVD menus in fitting with the plot. English says the key is to
                make the look timeless. Oh, and he designed the letter "O" in the cover
                with a cute cherub exposing his backside, something he particularly
                enjoys in light of self-censoring Wal-Mart's decision to carry the DVD
                version. Bring on the sales-boosting controversy. Up next for English is
                the DVD design for Mojados: Through the Night, Tommy Davis' doc that
                played South by Southwest in 2004, as well as a Criterion DVD to be

                • And the Rest: Austin screenwriter Joe Conway (Undertow) is now
                Hollywood Joe, as he has followed the work to L.A. Conway is adapting
                the nonfiction book Journal of the Dead, about two 25-year-old friends
                who get lost while camping, resulting in the suspicious death of one.
                Tobey Maguire is sniffing around the project... On the press tour for
                Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, Sandra Bullock continues to
                profess her love for Austin, but when asked by Jon Stewart what that
                famous old-time hamburger place is in town, she was stumped. Somebody
                drive that lady to Hut's, Dirty's or, my favorite, Top Notch... Street
                Tale of Terror from J.D. Hawkins and Corey Shields is just out on home
                video as part of Maverick Entertainment's Creep FX horror line. The guys
                are in preproduction for a Houston shoot of the sequel in May.

                Send tips to filmnews@...
              • Dan Eggleston
                APRIL 15, 2005 Film News BY JOE O CONNELL • Chainsaws n Fried Worms: Multiple sources say Austin s film summer looks to include How to Eat Fried Worms, a
                Message 7 of 19 , Apr 14, 2005
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                  APRIL 15, 2005
                  Film News
                  BY JOE O'CONNELL

                  • Chainsaws 'n' Fried Worms: Multiple sources say Austin's film summer
                  looks to include How to Eat Fried Worms, a Nickelodeon/Imagine
                  adaptation of the Thomas Rockwell kids' book. The film has been floating
                  around in development limbo since 1996. Meanwhile, will the delayed
                  Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel (as in prequel to the remake) shoot in
                  Austin this summer, as well? Horror Web site Bloody-Disgusting.com
                  quotes producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form as saying just that. The
                  producers also say R. Lee Ermey (from Full Metal Jacket, you maggots)
                  will play a major role as Sheriff Hoyt alongside our old pal

                  • Incentives Update: Senate Bill 1142, which sets up $20 million in
                  incentives to lure Hollywood to Texas, has passed unanimously through
                  subcommittee on to the committee on Business and Commerce from whence it
                  is expected to move on to the full Senate. Need more proof the
                  incentives are needed? New Mexico just upped its hand by increasing the
                  cap on film loans from $7.5 million to $15 million and allowing projects
                  to receive 80% of their expected tax rebates up front. A $4 million,
                  three-year, interest-free loan allowed New Mexico to nab the Lions Gate
                  television series Wildfire. Call or write your Texas representative and
                  senator pronto, bubba.

                  • Festivus for the Rest of Us: Bob Burns' obituary rightly emphasized
                  his role as production designer on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre,
                  but folks may not know the artsy Austin High and UT grad (he was wearing
                  an ascot the first time I met him) was also a fine actor and writer.
                  I've got his excellent script about the film star Rondo Hatton on my
                  desk, and it deserves a home. Burns, who took his own life last summer,
                  will be honored by Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon at the sixth
                  annual Spindletop Film Festival, which runs Friday to Sunday at Lamar
                  University in Beaumont. Irma P. Hall (Collateral, The Ladykillers) also
                  will be inducted into the Southeast Texas Filmmaker Hall of Fame on
                  Saturday. More info is at dept.lamar.edu/advancement/spinfest…
                  Meanwhile, in Austin, mark your calendar for the second TriPartIte Film
                  Festival at 8:30pm on May 6 at Jo's to benefit SafePlace. A friendly
                  donation gets you nine short films from local filmmakers: "Pilot & Olo"
                  by Kat Candler, "Santa Ana" by Ryan Cox, "When the Cat's Away" by Aaron
                  Marshall, "The Keening" by Alex and Andrew Smith, "Lost Not Found" by
                  Sean Ripple, "Daniel" by Jason Cooper, "Barney" by Stacy Schoolfield,
                  "Lead Role: Father" by P.J. Raval, and "The Color White" by Angela K.
                  Pires... and Blowin' Up a Spot! Film Festival is coming April 21-24 at
                  the Carver Museum and the Hideout featuring 27 works by 27 independent
                  women filmmakers with Austin poets and musicians performing between
                  films. More info is at www.blowinupaspot.com. And speaking of film
                  festivals, if you've never seen fest veteran Dear Pillow, it's available
                  at the Vulcan Video south location for rent.

                  • Toying With Film Fans: Legendary Texas stuntman Bob Ivy will soon be
                  openly playing with dolls, er, action figures. Ivy, better known to
                  Bubba Ho-Tep fans as the mummy, reports that the gauze-covered one will
                  soon be immortalized by NECA/Reel Toys. He'll join other upcoming film
                  action figures, including Leatherface and the whole black-and-white gang
                  from Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. By the way, Rodriguez should be
                  basking in the glow of amazing box office for Sin City, but we know he's
                  up all night perfecting The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in
                  3-D. See the title characters from the latter in full garb at

                  Send tips to filmnews@...
                • Dan Eggleston
                  Film News BY JOE O CONNELL • Austin Did It: Kyle Henry s Room has been selected for the Cannes Film Festival, this on the heels of a Sundance screening. And
                  Message 8 of 19 , Apr 28, 2005
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                    Film News
                    BY JOE O'CONNELL
                    • Austin Did It: Kyle Henry's Room has been selected for the Cannes Film
                    Festival, this on the heels of a Sundance screening. And the former Rice
                    University biology major blames it all on Richard Linklater and the
                    Austin Film Society. "Slacker probably is why half the people came to
                    the graduate film program at UT," he says, because it made true
                    low-budget filmmaking seem realistic. Room was shot in 2003 in Austin,
                    Houston, and New York with Cyndi Williams starring. Henry describes it
                    as a "midlife crisis psychological thriller." The project rated not one,
                    but two grants from the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, the second
                    when Henry had run out of cash during editing (it's since been picked up
                    by French company Celluloid Dreams, which financed conversion to 35mm).
                    "What's special about Austin is the community of people to support you,"
                    Henry says. And you can support Room by attending a pre-Cannes screening
                    at 1pm, Sunday, May 1, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Tickets are
                    $12, $10 if you're an AFS member. By the way, also upcoming at Cannes
                    are Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and Tommy Lee Jones' directing debut,
                    The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

                    • Novices Need Apply: Expect a summer shoot for August Evening, the
                    first feature from Chris Eska, a UCLA film grad whose short "Doki-Doki"
                    showed on PBS's Independent Lens. Eska, who grew up near Gonzales, is
                    actively seeking inexperienced actors to lend authenticity to his tale
                    of an aging undocumented worker and his widowed daughter-in-law whose
                    lives are thrown into upheaval. More info is at

                    • Net Production: Call it independent film 21st-century style. The folks
                    behind Everything in Between, which shoots in Austin and Katy in May,
                    are Internet-savvy to the max. To raise their $60,000 budget, they took
                    donated items and sold them on eBay. And their blog
                    (www.openplanproductions.blogspot.com) is a tale of hope and dreams.
                    "It's an adventure. Something I'm terrified and thrilled by, and I'm
                    focusing every day on being more thrilled than terrified," writes
                    director Alyson Shelton of the shoot. "It's something I've dreamed about
                    and now it's here, four days away. It's like Christmas times 100. It's
                    like getting married for 30 days in a row."

                    • Props From Our Homies: A blood-stained blouse Faye Dunaway wore in
                    Bonnie and Clyde. Oil-drenched duds James Dean wore in Giant. The
                    burlap-wrapped corpse from Lonesome Dove. Got your attention? Some 80
                    artifacts from Texas-shot films will be on display at the Bob Bullock
                    Texas State History Museum starting July 9 as part of the "Texas Movies"

                    • And the Rest: Mike Judge's untitled comedy is shooting a few extra
                    scenes this weekend that include a woman with dexterous tootsies capable
                    of holding a knife and fork well enough to cut food. Revolver continues
                    to film and is on the lookout for a newborn baby (vittles-cutting skills
                    optional)… Two documentaries by Kirby Warnock are upcoming on PBS. Look
                    for Border Bandits, which examines alleged killings of two
                    Mexican-American men by Texas Rangers, to air May 16. Warnock's 1996
                    doc, Return to Giant, about the epic Texas film, gets another showing
                    May 11… Scott Nyerges screens his short experimental video "Means and
                    Meditations" this week as part of the narrative shorts competition at
                    the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The video, which won a
                    Bettye Nowlin Award for Excellence in Student Filmmaking at Cinematexas
                    in 2004, also screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands
                    in January… Burt Reynolds as J.R. Ewing? Brad Pitt as his brother Bobby?
                    Melanie Griffith as J.R.'s drunken wife Sue Ellen? How about Catherine
                    Zeta-Jones as pretty Pam? That's the totally unconfirmed cast rumored to
                    be on tap for the film version of TV's Dallas.

                    Send tips to filmnews@....
                  • Dan Eggleston
                    http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-07-22/screens_filmnews.html Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Austin Film Purveyors: Action Figure Studios, the
                    Message 9 of 19 , Jul 21, 2005
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                      Film News
                      BY JOE O'CONNELL
                      Austin Film Purveyors: Action Figure Studios, the local group behind A&E
                      series Rollergirls, has purchased th e former Texas Meat Purveyors
                      facility at 3000 E. Cesar Chavez with designs on making the about 17,000
                      square feet into a film production hub. "There is a lack of production
                      space of this size ? there are several small stages that struggle to
                      handle larger commercial shoots, and then very large and unfinished
                      stages like those at the old airport ? but there isn't much in between,"
                      says Matt Hovis of Action Figure. Since the building was refrigerated,
                      it comes naturally insulated. If Rollergirls gets a second season it
                      will move there from Austin Studios. Also look for the KLRU show
                      Downtown to film there, as well as another TV project that Action Figure
                      is mulling. Early signs are good for Rollergirls, with A&E publicly
                      vowing an aggressive marketing campaign for the saga of Austin's
                      roller-derby queens.

                      "Chain Saw" in Waiting: The latest reported starting date for Platinum
                      Dunes' prequel to its 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is September.
                      Variety reports that Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) is in
                      negotiations for this tale of Leatherface's origins. Yes, we are
                      assured, it will be shot in Austin.

                      Burnt Offerings: The Burnt Orange Productions machine is rolling along.
                      The Cassidy Kids began filming this week with an all-star lineup of
                      Austin talent: Jacob Vaughan directing, his Dear Pillow pal Bryan Poyser
                      producing, P.J. Raval shooting, Kyle Henry editing, and Leslie Milligan
                      handling production design. They'll be joined by about 30 UT students
                      honing their craft for credit. Film No. 3 from the University of Texas
                      film arm is still up in the air. It won't necessarily be A West Texas
                      Children's Story, which has been pushed back. Country musical Austin
                      Angel remains in the bullpen. "It's a picture we love and will make,"
                      says Carolyn Pfeiffer, president of Burnt Orange. Oh, and did I mention
                      the first Burnt flick The Quiet is set to open at the Toronto
                      International Film Festival in September?

                      High Sundance Moon: Melody Taylor goes to the Sundance Independent
                      Producers Conference in August with hopes of escaping the Texas heat and
                      gathering buzz for High Moon, a supernatural spaghetti horror film that
                      pits Native American shape-shifters against bounty hunters. Sean Bridges
                      penned the script and hopes to direct in Austin later this year. The
                      Sundance conference gives intensive help in marketing, financing, and
                    • Dan Eggleston
                      http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-10-21/screens_filmnews.html Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Filmus Nextus Carolyn Pfeiffer, head of Burnt Orange
                      Message 10 of 19 , Oct 20, 2005
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                        Film News

                        BY JOE O'CONNELL
                        Filmus Nextus

                        Carolyn Pfeiffer, head of Burnt Orange Films, was about to tour area
                        caves the other day as the University of Texas at Austin's film branch
                        embarks on its third feature film, a caveman comedy tentatively titled
                        Homo Erectus and starring, written by, and directed by Adam Rifkin
                        (Detroit Rock City). The project, slated to go before the lens Nov. 7,
                        replaces country musical Austin Angel, which was pushed back so that
                        director Zalman King could take on a higher-profile project. But
                        Pfeiffer says Burnt Orange remains committed to Angel, as well as to
                        Terrence Malick-produced The Marfa Lights, which is expected to be
                        filmed in the spring. Off the development slate is A West Texas
                        Children's Story, which couldn't pull together financing. "With great
                        sadness we had to let it go," Pfeiffer says. Homo Erectus came to Burnt
                        Orange's attention in July, when Jared Hoffman, a UT alumnus and
                        Rifkin's agent, sent along the script. He was sent back photos of
                        Central Texas caves, and the wheels started turning. Casting is in full
                        swing both in Los Angeles and Austin for the film, described as in the
                        vein of Woody Allen's early comedies like Bananas. Pfeiffer just saw a
                        rough cut of Burnt Orange's last project, The Cassidy Kids, and reports
                        she and Tom Schatz of the UT Film Institute are enthusiastic about the
                        Jacob Vaughan/Bryan Poyser project.
                        Texas "Wing'?

                        What television show set in the White House is considering filming part
                        of its upcoming campaign season in Austin? Here's a hint: One of the
                        upcoming candidates for prez on the show is a totally fictional
                        character – a Texas liberal. Also in the shameless rumor department, CBS
                        is said to be scouting Austin for a romantic drama pilot that would be
                        set here.
                        Madonna Drives Me Ape

                        Bob Ray and Jerry Clark (he was Toe in Ray's Rock Opera) of CrashCam
                        Films have signed a deal with Madonna's Maverick to create Ape Shit, an
                        animated television series that Ray describes as "gut-busting,
                        smart/lowbrow, down-and-dirty, pseudo-intelligent potty humor."
                        Meanwhile, Ray's roller-derby documentary Hell on Wheels has been pared
                        down to 85 lean, mean minutes, and an original score is in the works.
                        Casting Call

                        Joining Jordana Brewster in the cast of Platinum Dunes' The Texas
                        Chainsaw Massacre prequel are Taylor Handley (The OC), soap star Matthew
                        Bomer, and Diora Baird (Playboy playmate from August). Oh, and the film
                        recently put out a call for someone to play a 10-year-old Leatherface.
                        Meanwhile, the other Baldwin brother, Daniel, has joined the cast of
                        Pepe Serna-starrer Clean Sweep.
                        And the Rest

                        The Austin Movie Show is outliving the Austin Music Network. You can
                        join their weekly tapings at 7pm on Sundays at the Paggi House or catch
                        up on the Web at www.austinmovieshow.com... Encore Video is moving down
                        the road apiece from its current Burnet Road spot come Nov. 6. Look for
                        your favorite flicks and CDs at 1745 W. Anderson Ln.... P.J. Raval took
                        the Haskell Wexler Award for his cinematography on Kyle Henry's Room
                        from the recent Woodstock Film Festival... Lubbock Lights, the
                        documentary about how great music comes mysteriously from the flat
                        environs up yonder, is out on DVD. More at www.lubbock-lights.com...
                        University of Texas grad Amy Hassler is an executive producer for Rhythm
                        & Hues, the Los Angeles-based animation and visual effects studio that
                        worked on groundbreaking effects for the upcoming Christmas blockbuster
                        The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe... The
                        Breakdance Kid, which showed at last year's Austin Film Festival, comes
                        out on DVD on Oct. 25 and will be available at Netflix, Amazon, Target,
                        and evil, evil Blockbuster. Crockett High School teacher Larry
                        McLaughlin's Austin-shot film transports us back to the Eighties for a
                        tale of "love, rivalry, and parachute pants."… There will be a screening
                        for Viva Les Amis, the documentary about Austin's beloved Les Amis Cafe,
                        on Saturday at 8:30pm at Spiderhouse, 2908 Fruth. DVDs of the film will
                        be available for purchase. Visit www.vivalesamis.com for more information.
                        Send tips to filmnews@....
                      • Dan Eggleston
                        Film News BY JOE O CONNELL The Incredibly Strange Actors Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Rodriguez Zombies! My Magic Eight Ball (and numerous reputable
                        Message 11 of 19 , Apr 6, 2006
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                          Film News

                          BY JOE O'CONNELL
                          The Incredibly Strange Actors Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up
                          Rodriguez Zombies!

                          My Magic Eight Ball (and numerous reputable sources) says Michael Biehn
                          (the good guy in The Terminator) and Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead) star
                          respectively as the sheriff and his deputy in Robert Rodriguez's
                          zombified "Planet Terror," half of a joint film project with Quentin
                          Tarantino with the umbrella title Grind House. In a posting later
                          deleted from his Web site, Savini described arriving on set, watching a
                          scene between Josh Brolin (thus explaining recent sightings of Mrs.
                          Brolin, aka Diane Lane, in Austin) and Marley Shelton (Sin City), then
                          inspecting piles of dead bodies and severed heads. No confirmation from
                          the supremely secretive Rodriguez camp, which is busy filming in the
                          witching hours into May. Oh, one last intriguing tidbit: totally
                          unconfirmed rumors have Sin City's Mickey Roarke starring in QT's half
                          of the project, a stuntman revenge tale dubbed "Death Proof," along with
                          New Zealand stunt pro Zoe Bell, who doubled for Uma Thurman in Kill
                          Bill. Will Tarantino shoot in Austin? Answer hazy. Try again later.
                          Oil's Well in Marfa

                          Bakersfield, Calif., is popping up a few miles outside of Marfa, where
                          There Will Be Blood will shoot soon. The film, directed by Paul Thomas
                          Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, will require a look that changes
                          from the start of the 20th century to about 1930. It is loosely based on
                          Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil! Meanwhile, the Cormac McCarthy novel
                          adaptation No Country for Old Men is now expected to shoot only a few
                          days in the Marfa area, with the majority of filming in the Land of
                          Enchanting Film Incentives, er, New Mexico.
                          They Shoot J.R. Here, Don't They?

                          The campaign to squeeze funding for filming incentives out of the Texas
                          Legislature has a new rallying cry for folks north of here: Shoot J.R.
                          in Dallas. That's the logo on T-shirts and gimme hats as part of the
                          drive to have the $30-million big-screen version of the television show
                          Dallas film in its namesake. The effort is gaining international media
                          attention, but Dallas the city faces tough competition from Florida,
                          which is offering a 15% refund on all funds spent there, up to $2
                          million. It already has a replica of Southfork in Jacksonville and is
                          home to John Travolta, who is pegged to play J.R. Ewing. Don't expect a
                          clear winner anytime soon: Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) is off the
                          project as director, reportedly because of disagreements over casting,
                          rumored to include Jennifer Lopez as Sue Ellen Ewing, Luke Wilson as
                          Bobby Ewing, Shirley MacLaine as Miss Ellie, and Jessica Simpson as Lucy
                          And the Rest ...

                          The untitled war in Iraq film formerly known as Stop-Loss has pushed the
                          start of Austin-based filming until summer, reportedly due to actor
                          availability... His geekiness Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News says
                          the character Harry Knowles in the film Fanboys will not be played by
                          Jorge Garcia of TV's Lost, after all. The second choice was Kevin Smith
                          – yes, the director of Clerks and Chasing Amy fame – but he had
                          scheduling conflicts. Want to see who did portray Knowles? Go to
                          www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=22925... Writer Leslie Belt and
                          director Vicky Boone report that their Attack of the Bride Monster, a
                          short comedy about a lesbian love affair gone wrong, is set to hit a
                          number of film fests soon, including the Tribeca Underground Film
                          Festival in May... THINKFilm has picked up FUCK, which recently made
                          noise at SXSW Film 06. The naughty doc is expected to explode on screens
                          in limited bursts in 2006 then go all the way with Showtime next year.
                          Send tips to filmnews@....
                        • Dan Eggleston
                          Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Hitcher remakes rides into Austin Michael Bay s Platinum Dunes, the company that puts the re- in horror remake, is in
                          Message 12 of 19 , May 4, 2006
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                            Film News

                            BY JOE O'CONNELL
                            'Hitcher' remakes rides into Austin

                            Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, the company that puts the re- in horror
                            remake, is in preproduction for an Austin shoot of The Hitcher. Remember
                            the Eighties flick in which driver C. Thomas Howell is terrorized by
                            creepy Rutger Hauer? Well, at least you remember the two Texas Chainsaw
                            Massacre films that Platinum Dunes has shot in the Austin area in recent
                            years. Bob Hudgins, now Texas Film Commission head, was still in
                            Illinois when The Amityville Horror remake shot there. He remembers
                            producer Andrew Form admitting he'd rather be shooting it in Austin.
                            "Andrew is the guy who brings things back to Texas," Hudgins says. "He
                            loves it here." Indeed. Last I saw Form, he was sporting a Hutto Lady
                            Hippos T-shirt. Somebody quickly give Form a Taylor Ducks shirt. Word on
                            the street is Platinum Dunes fancies a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The
                            Linklater does the Cannes two step

                            Yes, Richard Linklater can, can make it into the Cannes Film Festival
                            with both A Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation. The latter, a fictional
                            adaptation of Eric Schlosser's book, has been chosen for competition.
                            Meanwhile, Link's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel is slated for the
                            Un Certain Regard section. Austin's auteur, you will recall, also had
                            two films – Waking Life and Tape – screen at Sundance in 2001.
                            How not to promote your film

                            Teeth, the film that aims to make vagina dentata the new Austin
                            catchphrase, recently had to fight off neighbors' fears that kiddie porn
                            had come to town. Said neighbors called television and radio reporters,
                            who jumped on the story. However, Teeth is actually a horror film about
                            a woman who, er, takes a bite out of bad guys. Need I say more? Bob
                            Hudgins of the Film Commission, who was called into action to deter the
                            media onslaught, said it best of the film: "It's in incredibly bad
                            taste, but it's not pornography."
                            Chop, chop; Tao's there

                            Tao Video quietly opened a few months ago on the frontage road of North
                            I-35 (and within walking distance of "the store for lovers," aka
                            Dreamers). Chronicle film guru Marc Savlov already has his membership
                            and sees it as taking up some of the slack left by Pedazo Chunk's
                            closing. Tao is a one-stop store for the true chopsocky fanatic. Where
                            else can you buy a sword, a box set of animé, and rent DVDs of the
                            finest Asian action films and obscure television shows? Did I mention
                            they have 30-day rentals and sell remote control Panzer tanks?
                            And the rest

                            Fresh from a role in Robert Rodriguez's section of Grind House, Josh
                            Brolin joins Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem in the cast of No Country
                            for Old Men, the Cormac McCarthy novel adaptation that the Coen brothers
                            are set to film partly in Marfa... Corpus Christi native Eva Longoria
                            (Desperate Housewives) is attached to Deep in the Heart of Texas, a
                            romantic comedy that is set in San Antonio and expected to at least
                            partially film there... Austin native J.M. Logan's first film, a
                            psychological thriller titled Family, will premiere at the Cannes Film
                            Festival... Amy Grappell's doc Light From the East, which played SXSW
                            05, is set to premiere May 11 in New York City at the Pioneer Theater.
                            It follows a U.S. acting troupe visiting the Ukraine in 1991 as the
                            Soviet Union crumbled... Chalk, Austin writer/director Mike Akel's look
                            at public schools from a teacher's perspective, recently won the
                            audience award for Best Feature Comedy at the Cinequest Film Festival
                            and a special jury award for Best Ensemble at the Florida Film Festival.
                            Akel knows his subject well; he's a former Travis High School film
                            teacher... Check out Dano Johnson's short comedic film "In Defense of
                            Definitions" at YouTube.com.
                            Send tips to filmnews@...
                          • Dan Eggleston
                            Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Will Lights shine again in incentive-free Texas? Friday Night Lights has officially been picked up by NBC for the fall television
                            Message 13 of 19 , May 26, 2006
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                              Film News

                              BY JOE O'CONNELL
                              Will 'Lights' shine again in incentive-free Texas?

                              Friday Night Lights has officially been picked up by NBC for the fall
                              television schedule with Kyle Chandler (Early Edition) playing the coach
                              role Billy Bob Thornton won kudos for on the big screen. But will the
                              series shoot in the Austin area? No definite answer yet, but so far so
                              good, local film-industry leaders say. That comes after early hints that
                              Arizona – one of the latest states to enter the film incentive derby –
                              was close to stealing it away. "My sense is they like Austin, and they
                              like what Austin has to offer," says Vincent Kitch, Cultural Arts
                              Division manager for the city of Austin. "They just have to get it all
                              lined up to make it work. We're looking at any ways we can to make
                              something they'd be interested in." One sticking point appears to be
                              finding a good facility in which to shoot. Austin Studios is full to the
                              brim for the time being with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's
                              Grind House, Platinum Dunes' The Hitcher remake, and the untitled
                              Kimberly Peirce Iraq war film formerly known as Stop-Loss, which is back
                              in preproduction.
                              That Austin is having to fight for the project despite director/producer
                              Peter Berg's obvious preference – he shot much of both the film and the
                              TV pilot here – is testament to the power filming incentives play in
                              attracting studio projects. Gary Bond of the Austin Film Office has seen
                              the pilot, which he said is "damn good," but warns that despite its
                              Texas storyline, a local shoot is no certainty. "If we lose it because
                              of incentives, that will be a pretty strong message to the powers that
                              be over in the dome," he says. "If they go somewhere else, that will be
                              proof that incentives work."

                              With that in mind, leaders of film commissions around the state have
                              banded together to form the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, with Bob
                              Hudgins, Texas film commish, leading organizational meetings. The Austin
                              meet is slated for 7-9pm, June 1, in City Council chambers. The plan is
                              to create a unified voice for the film industry as it aims to convince
                              the Legislature to finally fund a film incentives program. Learn more
                              about the alliance at www.txmpa.org.

                              And the rest ...

                              Checking out Austin locations of late is The Highwaymen, about the Texas
                              Rangers who tracked Bonnie and Clyde. Robert Redford is rumored to be
                              involved with the project, which wouldn't start until at least the
                              fall... Remix a trailer for Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly (which
                              was a hot commodity internationally at the Cannes Film Festival) and win
                              tickets to the film's premiere. Deadline is June 7, with more info at
                              scanner.res.com... The hot TV series Prison Break will shoot at least 20
                              episodes in Dallas for the coming season. Austin was also in the running
                              and might still host a few episodes... Steve Bilich's "Native New
                              Yorker" won best documentary short at the Tribeca Film Festival and told
                              our Marc Savlov that it led to a meeting with the Weinsteins... Got an
                              RV and want to spend the summer in Marfa? There Will Be Blood needs
                              extras of all ages for June and July and will provide RV hookups.
                              Contact brock_allencasting@...... University of Texas student Lisa
                              Kaselak's documentary "Let Them Eat Cake" is one of 34 finalists for the
                              Student Academy Awards. Soupies like yours truly know Kaselak as the
                              director of the doc "The Soup Peddler"... Congrats to filmmaker Kat
                              Candler, who got married in the Dobie Theatre's Egyptian Room, then had
                              the reception at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. Also, best wishes to
                              filmmaker Paul Alvarado-Dykstra and wife, Allison, who recently welcomed
                              a baby boy into the world... Last Best Hope, a documentary about
                              Nazi-occupied Belgium that was produced by Ramona Kelly and David
                              Grosvenor and written and directed by Mat Hames, took gold at the
                              WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival and is set to air on PBS
                              nationally this fall... Vicky Boone and Leslie Belt's Attack of the
                              Bride Monster was named best comedy by the online ZoieFest. See the film
                              at www.zoiefilms.com... Fans of Adobe Flash should mark their calendars
                              for the Flashforward Film Festival on Sept. 13 in Austin... Could
                              Richard Rush make his next film in Austin? Rush's fave stuntman, Gary
                              Kent, speaking at a showing of Rush's Hells Angels on Wheels at the
                              Alamo Drafthouse, says that's the plan.
                              Send tips to filmnews@....
                            • Dan Eggleston
                              Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Altman at the end A fictional take on S.R. Bindler s 1997 documentary Hands on a Hard Body was on the fast track when Robert Altman
                              Message 14 of 19 , Dec 1, 2006
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                                Film News

                                BY JOE O'CONNELL

                                Altman at the end

                                A fictional take on S.R. Bindler's 1997 documentary Hands on a Hard Body
                                was on the fast track when Robert Altman died, with an early 2007 start
                                to filming planned. Now, the project is in limbo. "All I know at this
                                point about the future of Hands on a Hard Body is that Robert Altman
                                will not be directing it," says Stephen Harrigan, who had penned the
                                screenplay. "But I'm grateful I had the chance to work with him and
                                happy that he was so excited about the movie. The last time I talked to
                                him, about a week and a half before he died, he was brimming over with
                                enthusiasm and energy about the casting and the shooting schedule. It's
                                nice to know that, until the last day of his life, he was looking
                                forward to his next project." As you read here back in October, Hard
                                Body was to be Altman's fictionalization of the Longview contest in
                                which contestants vied for a free vehicle as the last one to take a hand
                                off of it. Variety quotes Picturehouse head Bob Berney as saying no
                                final decision has been made. No matter the outcome, Harrigan counts
                                himself lucky to have worked with the famed director. "He had no
                                tolerance for anything that struck him as cliched or conventional or
                                predigested," Harrigan says. "He had no apparent interest in character
                                or plot. He just wanted to create, with every movie, something authentic
                                and new."
                                Shots fired in film incentives war

                                Is Angelou Economics of Austin working to pump up Alabama's film
                                industry? That's the gist of an editorial in The Anniston Star that
                                eagle-eyed Angela Lee sent my way. Seems the effort aims to turn a
                                former military installation into an economic hub, including a one-stop
                                film-production shop. They've already hired a main player behind
                                Louisiana's surge onto the film scene. Of course, Alabama's plan depends
                                on its Lege approving filming incentives. The firm, headed by Angelos
                                Angelou, former honcho with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, also
                                prepared an economic development plan for the city of Santa Fe in 2004
                                that advised using the Austin Film Commission as a model to take
                                advantage of New Mexico's filming-incentives program. We can only hope
                                he's also putting in a good word for filming incentives at the Texas
                                Capitol. More to come when our Lege arrives in town early next year.
                                Now showing (and Netflixing)

                                Two films from Austin creators are finding a wider audience. Turk
                                Pipkin's Nobelity, a doc featuring Nobel Prize winners talking about how
                                to save the world, is now in national release, but just as important,
                                you can find previously unseen footage of Nobel winners including
                                Desmond Tutu and Rick Smalley at Nobelity.org for your perusal free of
                                charge. Also, Pipkin and crew have formed the Nobelity in Schools
                                program aimed at putting the film in eighth- and ninth-grade classrooms
                                across the nation. Meanwhile, film shooter P.J. Raval says you can now
                                find Kyle Henry's Room available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.
                                If you missed the film at the Sundance or Cannes film fests – or during
                                its Austin screenings – you now officially have no excuse.
                                And the rest ...

                                As we went to press, there was word of the Austin-produced Chalk's
                                nomination for the Independent Spirit Awards' John Cassavetes prize,
                                given to the director, writers, and producers of "best feature made for
                                under $500,000." In Chalk's case, those would be, respectively, Mike
                                Akel; Chris Mass and Akel; Akel, Angela Alvarez, Graham Davidson, and
                                Mass. Past Cassavetes nominees with Austin ties include The Puffy Chair
                                and Room. The ceremony will take place on Feb. 24, 2007... Bennie
                                Klain's short film "Share the Wealth" premiered this week on the opening
                                night of the Native American Film + Video Festival in New York City. The
                                short follows the travails of a homeless, middle-aged Native American
                                woman on a busy city street... Eight new programs of East Austin Stories
                                from a class at the University of Texas will be shown at 7pm, Dec. 12,
                                at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and at 9pm the same night at Cafe Mundi.
                                Plus, many of the short docs can be seen at EastAustinStories.org or can
                                be downloaded as podcasts for you iPod-enabled types... Local filmmaker
                                Arnie Reyes has teamed with writer/director Yehudi Mercado to shoot the
                                short "Monster Job Hunter" at Austin Studios early this month. Robert
                                Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios is helping out by donating set
                                materials... Mark your calendar: A holiday party presented by Reel Women
                                and the Alliance is Monday from 7 to 10pm at Hi-Lo, with tickets a
                                measly $5. On Sunday from 6 to 10:30pm at Trophy's Bar and Grill, the
                                oft-postponed benefit for John McLean's Z: A Zombie Musical, which came
                                back from faulty hard-drive hell but still must pay the bills, is
                                expected to finally happen. Really. I mean it this time.
                                Send tips to filmnews@....
                              • Dan Eggleston
                                Film News BY JOE O CONNELL TV saved the 2006 film star The boob tube saved the Texas film industry in 2006. Behind seasonlong shoots for Friday Night Lights in
                                Message 15 of 19 , Dec 28, 2006
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                                  Film News

                                  BY JOE O'CONNELL

                                  TV saved the 2006 film star

                                  The boob tube saved the Texas film industry in 2006. Behind seasonlong
                                  shoots for Friday Night Lights in Austin and Prison Break in Dallas
                                  (both tape through March), television projects were in the range of $70
                                  million for the year. The state saw numbers rise from the mere $140
                                  million in combined film/television budgets for 2005, says Bob Hudgins,
                                  head of the Texas Film Commission. Exact state numbers weren't released
                                  by press time, but Austin saw direct film/TV spending of $63.4 million,
                                  with more than $130 million in combined budgets. Not bad, but the
                                  ominous news is that inquiries to the TFC dropped from 490 in 2003 to
                                  392 in 2005 to about 300 in 2006. Those sucking sounds you hear are from
                                  our neighboring incentivized states of Louisiana and New Mexico. Also
                                  sounding the alarm, Hudgins says, is that 20% of Texas members of the
                                  International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees are now working out
                                  of state. The bright side comes from the Texas Motion Picture Alliance,
                                  which is loading up with weapons for the 2007 Legislature. Chief among
                                  them is the hiring of influential lobbying firm HillCo Partners, which
                                  was founded in 1998 by former state Rep. Neal T. "Buddy" Jones and
                                  insider Bill Miller, who was once on House Speaker Tom Craddick's
                                  transition team and counts first lady Anita Perry as a former employee.
                                  The firm is also allied with state Rep. Diane White Delisi's son Ted
                                  Delisi, a thirtysomething GOP player who bought out Karl Rove's old
                                  lobbying firm when Rove moved on to his White House digs. Expect Gov.
                                  Rick Perry to announce a film incentives proposal in January, and it's a
                                  safe bet it will be a lot more ambitious than the $20 million proposal
                                  approved but left unfunded in 2005.
                                  A "Madman' dream come true

                                  It's no secret that Robert Rodriguez has longed for years to bring the
                                  comic Madman to the big screen. Look for Dimension to finally make it
                                  happen in 2007 while Rodriguez directs one or two Sin City sequels. Mr.
                                  R. will join Elizabeth Avellán in producing Madman to be shot entirely
                                  at their Austin-based Troublemaker Studios. Longtime pal George Huang
                                  (Swimming With Sharks) will direct and co-write the script with comic
                                  creator Michale Allred, who, it was revealed in a press release,
                                  designed props for "Planet Terror," Rodriguez's half of the Grind House
                                  double bill. Quentin Tarantino's half, "Death Proof," is expected to
                                  finish production in January. Madman is described as a reimagining of
                                  the Frankenstein story jazzed up with a superhero costume.
                                  And the rest...

                                  Start brewing the coffee and baking the pie. David Lynch is expected
                                  here Jan. 24 for an Austin Film Society screening of his latest
                                  enigmatic film Inland Empire... Big congrats to Cyndi Williams, whose
                                  acting in Kyle Henry's Room took the Karen Morley Award for "best
                                  exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous
                                  search for identity" from the Women Film Critics Circle... Add Shirley
                                  MacLaine to the list of inductees to the Texas Film Hall of Fame on
                                  March 9. And expect to see Ellen Burstyn, Lily Tomlin, and Anna Deavere
                                  Smith as presenters/special guests... Look for two films shot at Glen
                                  Stephens' ranch in Menard to have limited Texas theatrical runs in
                                  January, followed quickly by DVD releases. Stephens wrote and directed
                                  the horror flick Hoboken Hollow, which features C. Thomas Howell, Mike
                                  Madsen, Dennis Hopper, and Greg Evigan. He also wrote the family film
                                  River's End, which was directed by William Katt and features Barry
                                  Corbin, Clint Howard, Charles Durning, Evigan, and Katt.
                                  Send tips to filmnews@....
                                • Dan Eggleston
                                  Austin Studios looks to the future Expect a new and improved Austin Studios by next summer. Much of the $5 million that voters approved for upgrades to
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Feb 2, 2007
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                                    Austin Studios looks to the future

                                    Expect a new and improved Austin Studios by next summer. Much of the $5
                                    million that voters approved for upgrades to soundproofing, air
                                    conditioning, and digital infrastructure will be spent on the Austin
                                    Film Society facility that since 2000 has been host to more than 40
                                    feature films collectively worth about $800 million to the local
                                    economy. "Seven years ago we had this idea, and the city took a leap of
                                    faith with us," said director and AFS founder Richard Linklater of the
                                    former Mueller Airport site last week. "We realized it was needed as we
                                    competed with film industries around the country. The partnership is
                                    unique to Austin, and many of the films being made here are unique to
                                    Austin." Improvements will focus on two hangars and will add 100 tons of
                                    air-conditioning equipment to each. Austin Studios also will take over a
                                    Texas National Guard facility that AFS Executive Director Rebecca
                                    Campbell envisions as a "hive of activity" with space for low-budget
                                    editing and script-writing. "To invest in this will truly pay off for
                                    the city in economic repercussions," said film producer Elizabeth
                                    Avellán, who, along with Robert Rodriguez, also was key to Austin
                                    Studios' creation. "This is not happening anywhere else, no matter how
                                    many incentives they put down." Speaking of incentives, the Texas Motion
                                    Picture Alliance is having a film incentives party Wednesday from 7 to
                                    10pm at Scholz Beer Garden. It's free, so come join Campbell, actress
                                    Dana Wheeler-Nicholson and SXSW Film producer Matt Dentler in support of
                                    the cause.
                                    Swinging, baby, like a firefly with new chompers

                                    Yes, the Weinstein Co. and Lions Gate jointly bit into Austin-shot
                                    horror flick Teeth following its Sundance Film Festival premiere to the
                                    tune of either $1 million or $2.5 million, depending on who's talking.
                                    Soon the world will embrace the term vagina dentate. Will CBS pilot
                                    Swing Town also get down and dirty in Austin? The television show about
                                    three swinging Seventies married couples living in the Chicago suburbs
                                    examines different views of open marriage and apparently has the hots
                                    for the Texas capital. Also likely to shoot here is Fireflies in the
                                    Garden, an independent film from 2003 Student Academy Award winner
                                    Dennis Lee. The title comes from the Robert Frost poem of the same name:
                                    "Here come real stars to fill the upper skies/And here on earth come
                                    emulating flies."
                                    And the rest ...

                                    Malas Frontera (aka Harvest of Redemption), a film shot on the Texas
                                    border, has been chosen for the 12th annual International Family Film
                                    Festival at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Among its producers are Laura
                                    Perez and director Javier Chapa; Ryan Brooks is an executive producer...
                                    While watching a sneak screening of John McLean's fun and funny Z: A
                                    Zombie Musical (it includes a cameo by yours truly as a scary zombie
                                    casting director), I thumbed through the premiere issue of Caught in the
                                    Act, a new magazine that will highlight the film scene. Look for it in
                                    the usual spots... No, Shoot Out of Luck hasn't shot yet. The Willie
                                    Nelson starrer has been pushed to the spring.
                                    Send tips to filmnews@....
                                  • Dan Eggleston
                                    Incentives push gets a bill (or two) The Texas film-incentives push finally has a bill. Well, two of them, actually. State Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin is the
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Mar 1, 2007
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                                      Incentives push gets a bill (or two)

                                      The Texas film-incentives push finally has a bill. Well, two of them,
                                      actually. State Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin is the sponsor of the Texas
                                      Motion Picture Alliance-backed House Bill 1634, which offers up to $10
                                      million a year in incentives for two years. Eligible projects must spend
                                      more than $10 million in Texas and can receive up to $1.5 million back
                                      based on 20% of the wages they pay to Texans. Episodic television series
                                      (Austin-shot Friday Night Lights and Metroplex-lensed Prison Break, for
                                      instance) that spend at least $10 million locally could get up to $2
                                      million each. In its current form, the proposal leaves smaller indie
                                      films out in the cold. But expect much wrangling in coming weeks to
                                      increase the total amount of incentives offered and perhaps lower that
                                      cap. Bob Deuell of Greenville is the Senate sponsor. Oh, that second
                                      House bill was filed by Rep. Jim Pitts (you'll remember him as the
                                      pretender to the House speaker throne). It's a duplicate minus some late
                                      provisions added to the Dukes bill, including exempting pornographic
                                      films from the mix. Meanwhile, the Texas Motion Picture Alliance is
                                      gearing up for its lobby day at the Capitol this coming Tuesday, when
                                      there will be a House hearing. You can find more details at
                                      www.txmpa.org. The group's formal legislative agenda includes supporting
                                      projects with a budget of at least $1 million in the incentives plan.
                                      Extra! Extra! Mid-March is swingin'

                                      So, you've already gone to Waterloo Video and secured your $65 Southwest
                                      by Southwest Film Festival pass. Perhaps you've polished your boots for
                                      the rodeo. What's left? Get groovy with CBS pilot Swingtown, which is
                                      interviewing male and female extras from ages 18-40 for high school
                                      scenes as well as adult scenes this Friday and Saturday for filming from
                                      March 12 to 19 (the high school scenes during spring break, natch). Come
                                      by 501 N. I-35 between 10am and 5pm on March 2 or 3 dressed as a
                                      Seventies hipster, and expect to get your photo taken. More info at
                                      And the rest ...

                                      It looks likely that independent film Kings of the Evening will alight
                                      hereabouts soon after Los Angeles-based Picture Palace films flirted
                                      with a Georgia shoot last year. Said to be based on actual events, the
                                      story is set in an urban Deep South ghetto during the Great Depression
                                      "where despairing men fight for dignity and self-respect by competing in
                                      an underground contest like no other"… TV Junkie, the gripping
                                      documentary of addiction that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film
                                      Festival and played to strong reviews at SXSW last March, shows up on
                                      HBO later this month… Speaking of the boob tube, the TV Guide Channel is
                                      shooting a reality show in Odessa about the behind-the-scenes world of
                                      TV news at the local CBS affiliate.
                                      Send tips to filmnews@...
                                    • Dan Eggleston
                                      Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Kotowski seeks Forgiveness in Austin It wasn t a good day for writer/director Mariusz Mark Kotowski. One of his lead actresses
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Aug 9 3:30 PM
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                                        Film News

                                        BY JOE O'CONNELL

                                        Kotowski seeks 'Forgiveness' in Austin

                                        It wasn't a good day for writer/director Mariusz "Mark" Kotowski. One of
                                        his lead actresses was home sick, and the Austin rains wouldn't end. But
                                        the shooting went on. Kotowski is an interesting newish face in the
                                        Austin film scene, shooting his first fiction feature, Forgiveness,
                                        around Austin. The story follows two women, one Jewish and the other
                                        Christian, who discover their families' histories are intertwined
                                        through events of World War II. Kotowski, a native of Poland, was a
                                        choreographer in London before studying directing at New York
                                        University. Why the move to Austin? "New York is too busy, and I needed
                                        a change," he says. "Austin is the same as Poland." Kotowski's first
                                        film, a documentary titled Life Is a Dream in Cinema: Pola Negri, tells
                                        the story of Polish actress Pola Negri, who grew up in a small town and
                                        went on to a Hollywood career and torrid personal relationships with
                                        Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. She spent her last days in San
                                        Antonio. Kotowski hopes Forgiveness will be the first of a slate of
                                        features shot in Austin.

                                        'Mandy Lane' welcomes release delay

                                        All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
                                        Facing a very limited release by the Weinstein Co. this month, the
                                        Bastrop-shot horror flick All the Boys Love Mandy Lane received instead
                                        a stay of execution and promises of a wide release early next year by
                                        its new U.S. distributor, German-based Senator Entertainment. The
                                        company is also behind the star-studded independent film Fireflies in
                                        the Garden, which recently lensed in Austin with Julia Roberts among the
                                        leads. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Weinsteins, who
                                        purchased the low-budget film right after its premiere at the Toronto
                                        International Film Festival, saw danger signs in a downturn in the
                                        teen-horror-film market. Chatting after the film's showing to strong
                                        buzz at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March, director Jonathan
                                        Levine told this columnist that the filmmakers looked for inspiration
                                        from two very Texas efforts, the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
                                        and NBC's series Friday Night Lights, as well as John Hughes' teen films
                                        from the 1980s. "We thought it was interesting to take that [teen film]
                                        model and graft a horror film onto it," Levine said.

                                        Festival Buzz

                                        The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival fetes its 20th
                                        year with a trailer competition themed We Speak Film that promises the
                                        winner free entrance to the fest, which runs Sept. 28 to Oct. 6. The
                                        deadline is Aug. 15. More at www.agliff.org. Meanwhile, the Austin Film
                                        Festival trailer contest deadline is Aug. 10! Snap to it! Plus discount
                                        badges for the October fest are now on sale. More at
                                        www.austinfilmfestival.com. And, yes, the SXSW Film Festival 08's
                                        website is now active at www.sxsw.com/film.

                                        And the rest ...

                                        Look for comedy The Sno Cone Stand, Inc. to shoot here in September with
                                        Tony Sirico of The Sopranos and Morgan Fairchild starring. The budget is
                                        reportedly around $1.5 million and marks the debut of
                                        writer/director/producer Travis Knapp... John Singleton has signed on to
                                        direct the true-life Tulia, starring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton
                                        in the adaptation of Nate Blakeslee's book Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and
                                        Corruption in a Small Texas Town about an incident in 1999 when 10% of
                                        the Texas town's black population was dubiously arrested. Look for it to
                                        likely shoot, ouch, in Louisiana in the late fall... Austin resident
                                        (and instructor at the school that shall forever be known as Southwest
                                        Texas State) Tim O'Brien's masterful tale of the war in Vietnam, "The
                                        Things They Carried," will be adapted by AMC as a television miniseries,
                                        with James Sadwith writing the script.

                                        Send tips to filmnews@....
                                      • Dan Eggleston
                                        Good Christian Belles won t shoot in Dallas By JOE O CONNELL Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News Filmnewsbyjoe@yahoo.com
                                        Message 19 of 19 , May 20, 2011
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                                          “Good Christian Belles” won’t shoot in Dallas

                                          By JOE O’CONNELL Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News

                                          Little of the Dallas-set ABC series Good Christian Belles will be shot in North Texas.
                                          “I have been told the Good Christian Belles series will shoot in Los Angeles,” said Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission. “We always knew this one would be more difficult to keep here given its large cast and that it will be heavily shot on interior sets.”
                                          The show’s pilot shot recently in North Texas. Thirteen episodes of the series, based on Kim Gatlin’s book Good Christian Bitches , will be made as a midseason replacement for ABC. Complaints from groups including the Parents Television Council and One Million Moms led ABC to change the show’s name to the acronym GCB before settling on Good Christian Belles.
                                          “There has been some discussion that they might possibly return to Dallas on occasion for some exteriors since it is set here, but nothing is firm yet and likely it’s very dependent on their budget,” Burklund said.
                                          In the series from Darren Star ( Sex and the City ), the “high school mean girl” (Leslie Bibb) returns to Dallas after her divorce and runs into the old gang. That gang includes Kristin Chenoweth ( Glee ), Annie Potts (Designing Women), Miriam Shor (Damages ) and Marisol Nichols (24).
                                          It’s not the only Texas-set television series ready to shoot in Los Angeles. Austin-set Little in Common from Texan Rob Thomas ( Veronica Mars) shot its pilot in Los Angeles and the series will be made there as well if it is picked up by Fox, producer Patricia Fass Palmer confirmed.
                                          TNT’s modern-day tale of Dallas’ Ewing family shot its pilot in North Texas, and officials are awaiting word of a series pickup and a decision on shooting location. “I can assure you Dallas isn’t out of it, and we are still working hard to ensure it stays here,” Burklund said.
                                          The Texas Legislature’s probable cuts to funding for the state’s filming incentives program are also worrying film pros. Burklund previously said at least one series had backed away from a North Texas shoot until the funding issue is settled. The Legislature may cut funding from the current two-year $60 million total to as little as $10 million.
                                          In 2010, television series Lone Star, The Good Guys and Chase shot in North Texas, while My Generation and Friday Night Lights shot in Austin. All of the shows were canceled.
                                          Joe O’Connell is an Austin-based freelance writer.
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