Austin Represents on Indiewire Influencers List

From Alamo to Tugg, ATX film industry favorites make the cut

Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez (Photo by John Anderson)

In a profile on Austin filmmakers in The New York Times last month, Melena Ryzik said: "This may be the year that Austin earns its place on the map as a movie capital."

Well, if the ATX representation on the 2013 Indiewire Influencers list is any indication, it's a sure thing.

It's about damn time.

The list – "dedicated to 40 of the people and companies who have captured our attention as we watch them try to figure out what the independent film industry is today and, more importantly, what it will become" – is divided into five subcategories – brokers, early adopters, creators, curators, and shapeshifters – and there's an Austin tie (or two or three) in each and every one.

Nicolas Gonda, co-founder of Tugg, is our local broker for his company's attempts to crowdsource and curate independent film screenings through a "collective action web-platform." Tugg did a lot of beta testing in Austin last year, and it's picked up partnerships with Alamo Drafthouse, Cinemark, AMC, and Regal Cinemas.

Veronica Mars may have been shot in Los Angeles, but showrunner Rob Thomas was a University of Texas student in the Eighties who went on to play in three local bands. And with $5.7 million raised on Kickstarter for the Veronica Mars movie, things are definitely still moving and shaking in this world, honored in the early adopters category.

• Former Austinites Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen get some love for their production studio Parts & Labor, based in Brookyln. P&L's next project to hit theatres will be Ain't Them Bodies Saints, the forthcoming feature by Texas filmmaker David Lowery. UT grads the Duplass Bros. also made the creators shortlist, as did director Joe Swanberg, whose Drinking Buddies premiered at South by Southwest 2013 and will return to cinemas for a full run in August.

• Speaking of SXSW, Film Conference & Festival Producer Janet Pierson leads off the list of curators for her obvious and extensive contributions to one of the largest film festivals in the nation. She's followed closely by Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, whose cinemas are quickly spreading throughout the state and the rest of the U.S. on one endless quest for quiet, well-fed moviegoing.

• Last but decidedly not least, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is among the eight honorees in the shapeshifters category. His Sin City sequel may have been bumped back to 2014, but he has plenty on his plate with two planned shows for the El Rey network: a From Dusk Till Dawn adaptation and a "Latino James Bond-type series."

Congrats to all you industry mavens; Austin is incredibly proud.

It's only the inaugural list of indie film influencers, but Indiewire Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris said in her introduction that "independent film has more heroes than we can include in one feature [and] we intend to make this an annual event." Good, so we can keep our eyes peeled for more hometown heroes in years to come.

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awards, Indiewire, film industry, Janet Pierson, South by Southwest, Robert Rodriguez, El Rey, Sin City, independent film, Duplass Bros., Parts & Labor, Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse, Nicolas Gonda, Tugg, Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas, Joe Swanberg

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