Bob Byington's Taking Lousy Carter to Locarno

Austin filmmaker kicks off the festival season internationally

David Krumholtz as the titular Lousy Carter, the new film from Austin filmmaker Bob Byington, premiering next month at the Locarno Film Festival

Fall festival season is almost upon us, and Austin director Bob Byington is ensuring a high-profile start for the ATX film community as he returns to the prestigious Locarno Film Festival with his latest movie, the Austin-shot Lousy Carter, as the only American film in competition.

The new dry comedy reunites Byington with Numb3rs star David Krumholtz (Slums of Beverly Hills, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) after the pair worked together on Byington's South By Southwest-selected Frances Ferguson.

Here's a brief synopsis:

It is said that those who can't do, teach, but what about those who can't do, or teach? Variously labeled as a deadbeat by his Ex, a failure by his Mother, and a shell of himself by his best friend, Lousy Carter (David Krumholtz), is having a hard time getting anybody on his side. Debt-ridden and cast adrift on a soulless college campus, Carter is interpreting The Great Gatsby for an antipathetic graduate class when one of the students (Luxy Banner) offers him one last chance at living the dream.

The film also stars Byington regulars like Martin Starr (Infinity Baby, Adventureland) and Stephen Root (7 Chinese Brothers), alongside newcomers including Olivia Thirlby (The Wackness, Dredd) and Jocelyn DeBoer (Greener Grass), and up-and-coming Austin actor Luxy Banner (The Get-Together, Scare Package).

It's a return to the Swiss festival for the filmmaker, after his film Somebody Up There Likes Me took the Special Jury Prize in 2012. Locarno artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro told Variety, "Lousy Carter is one of the first films we selected. It’s a comedy that says a lot about the ways in which white males have to rethink who they are, especially in relation to what is going on in the world, and ideas of gender and bodies and so on."

Byington wrote the script in Milwaukee in the first months of COVID lockdown. He explained, "When the pandemic hit and it was clear it was here for a while, the script was sort of a response – death draws nearer."

He was finally able to film it in Austin in December 2021, his first movie since 2019's Frances Ferguson and his first shot in Austin since 2017's Infinity Baby. The bulk of filming took place at the Baker Center, the former Austin ISD facility in Hyde Park acquired by Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League and now operating as an arts hub. Byington said, "The offices were empty because of the pandemic, so we had the run of the place and used it for nearly all of our locations."

The 76th Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 2-18 in Locarno, Switzerland.

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Bob Byington, Locarno Film Festival, Lousy Carter, David Krumholtz

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