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Cinematexas International Short Film and Video Festival: An Introduction

By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Sept. 17, 1999

Now in its fourth year, the Cinematexas International Short Film and Video Festival continues to grow and expand, taking on more screenings and sidebar presentations. The University of Texas student-run festival begins on Wednesday, September 22 and continues through Sunday, September 26 at numerous venues around town. Check the schedule on p. 66 for information on the following events.

Mainstays of the festival are the UT undergraduate and graduate student film competitions, as well as the international competition, which includes entries from around the world. These programs are broken into several finalist, semi-finalist, and midnight showcases. Also on tap are three programs that focus specifically on the contemporary Russian avant garde.

Kicking things off again this year is a presentation by the Cinemaker Co-op, which will include a film projection installation by Luke Savisky, the conclusion of Aaron Valdez's windowfilm. project, Cinemaker's Top 11 of 1999, and live music by TikTok. In addition to this showcase of Cinemaker Co-op work, Cinematexas is also presenting the best of two other festivals. "The Queer Show" is a program of "the queerest of the queer" shorts at the recent Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and the Conduit Digital screening features some of the best new media and digital works from around the country.

Other program highlights include a screening of works by the jury panelists, including Cauleen Smith (Drylongso), Jay Rosenblatt (Human Remains), David Barker (Afraid of Everything), Lee Daniel (Dazed and Confused), Jim Mendiola (Pretty Vacant), and Gonzalo Gonzalez (managing director of the Cinemaker Co-op). A screening of works by the UT film faculty will include short films by Mitko Panov, Karen Kocher, Richard Lewis, Nancy Schiesari, Ellen Spiro, Don Howard, Andrew Garrison, and Francesca Talenti.

Another returning highlight is the Cinematexas "Big Directors/Small Films" series. In past years, the sidebar presented works by Hal Hartley and Robert Altman. This year the honoree is internationally acclaimed British film director Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Naked). Three of his rarely screened short films will be presented: "A Sense of History" (1992); the hilarious "The Short and Curlies," featuring David Thewlis (1987); and "The Five Minute Films" (1975).

New this year is the Austin Eye and Ear Film and Music Series, which is co-presented with Epistrophy Arts. A unique event, the program features musicians whose work has inspired or instigated the process of experimental and improvisational filmmaking. Canadian film artist Michael Snow will also perform with his free jazz ensemble, CCMC, in addition to showing his film work (including his four-and-a-half-hour-long Rameau's Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen).

The Miranda July extravaganza promises to be another unique event. July was the grand winner of Cinematexas last year with her film "The Amateurist" and is the creative inspiration behind the novel women's film distribution project, Big Miss Moviola. This year she returns to present her performance art piece Love Diamond.

Michael Snow and Miranda July are both profiled in interviews in the accompanying pages. Keep in mind, however, that in a festival such as this with so much going on, that the real delight lies in the discovery of the unknown. This roundup presents a mere taste of the overflowing items included in this multimedia buffet. For more info see http://www.cinematexas.org or call 471-6497.

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