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Changing of the guard at SXSW Film, the Alamo Ritz gets boozy, Austin Golden Hour wants nothing to do with its namesake, and more

By Joe O'Connell, Fri., April 25, 2008

Dentler dashes; Pierson steps up

Bid a fond farewell to 28-year-old wunderkind Matt Dentler, who leaves the helm of the South by Southwest Film Festival for a gig running marketing and programming operations for Cinetic Digital Rights Management, an offshoot of John Sloss' Cinetic Media. And say howdy to Janet Pierson, a four-year Austin resident and current vice president of the Austin Film Society, who steps into big shoes with a big film background of her own. "I'm going to miss Austin and the film community here," says Dentler. "I think it's the right time for me to get a change of scenery, and hopefully I can make Austin proud from New York City." Pierson credits him with putting SXSW on the map "in a louder and bigger way" during his tenure. Pierson has been a film force since the late Seventies, first leading the Cold Spring Film Workshop, then working as assistant director of New York City's Film Forum. She and husband John Pierson served as producer reps on such influential independent films as Richard Linklater's Slacker, Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It, and Michael Moore's Roger & Me. "Austin has welcomed us so strongly," she says. "I took this [job] to nurture and care for something I already love in a place I've come to love. I hope to do service to what Matt built and keep it exciting and vital."

Alamo Ritz goes on booze cruise

I'm looking forward to drinking a Caucasian soon at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz with the announcement that booze has joined the menu at the theatre already known for buckets of beer and most excellent pizza. It makes sense with the tent-pole Alamo's move to Sixth Street and marks the theatre as the only one in town serving mixed drinks. And it also leads to some interesting upcoming theme drinks: scotch flights for Iron Man, tequila for the ¡Three Amigos! sing-along in honor of Cinco de Mayo, cosmopolitans for the big-screen release of Sex and the City, and martinis for Master Pancake Theater's take on the James Bond classic Goldfinger. I'm feeling woozy already.

And the rest ...

Todd McMullen, cinematographer for NBC's Friday Night Lights, has optioned Godforsaken, a script based on the true story of American atheist and activist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, with plans to shoot and direct... IFC Films will launch the doc Before the Music Dies, which had its world premiere at SXSW 06, on iTunes on June 2... Upstart premieres its short film "The Sea Captain" in Bastrop on April 27. Directed by Conor McAnally, the short stars McAnally's mother, Irish stage and screen star Ronnie Masterson (Angela's Ashes). The script was an Upstart contest winner written by Austin's Steve Warren and produced by Carolyn Banks... The CW's series pilot Austin Golden Hour will indeed shoot in Los Angeles despite an Austin setting (and name).


Sent tips to filmnews@austinchronicle.com.

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