Daily Screens
A Family Fractured
To call the Maysles Brothers (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens) iconic in the world of documentary filmmaking is a little bit like calling the sun yellow, the grass green, the price of oil outrageous... Well, you get our point. So it was a particularly ballsy move on the part of Celia Maysles to pick up a camera and dig into the backstory of her deceased father David and somewhat-estranged uncle Albert.

We haven't seen her new film, Wild Blue Yonder, yet, but we hear Al doesn't come off that great in it... and apparently, Al agrees. "[A]s you see in the film, I come off as the bad guy," he told The Reeler in a piece published two weeks ago. (Thanks to SpoutBlog for the link.)

Check out the Chronicle's SXSW Film issue (on the streets and the web next Thursday) for Anne S. Lewis' interview with Celia Maysles, and about a gadjillion other SXSW Film-related pieces.

4:28PM Sun. Mar. 2, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Pay It Forward
With SXSW Film less than a week away, it's inevitable people will start talking – and arguing – about mumblecore again. UT alum and Variety associate editor Peter Debruge has a good primer here on the DIY film movement that caught traction and its marblemouth name back at SXSW '05.

Our favorite part of the piece? "But new equipment, like the DVX100 cameras these mumblecore pals FedEx back and forth to one another, means they can keep making films with or without the studios."

They FedEx a camera back and forth? Say what you will about mumblecore – we'll say it's produced some real winners and a few dogs – but that's just about the nicest thing we've heard all day.

4:00PM Sun. Mar. 2, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Bagging Rights
SXSW '05 was where the Duplass Brothers broke big with The Puffy Chair, which went on to a successful theatrical run and netted some serious Hollywood attention. They already premiered their latest, Baghead, at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was bought by Sony Picture Classics, but Austin's got major love for its former native sons, so a showing at SXSW '08 was inevitable. Alas, only one showing, at least according to the program book. But a little birdie tells of us there's a midnight sneak next weekend, open to anybody (meaning non-badgeholders) but requiring a ticket. Want more? The guy at the right's got all the details.

4:15PM Sat. Mar. 1, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Oh, it is ON
SXSW Film passes are now on sale at Waterloo Video (600 N. Lamar) for $70. They're guaranteed to sell out, so if you want one, you better hop to it... Or just walk. You know. But either way, you'll have to do it in-person – no online purchase. and no reserving either.

3:21PM Fri. Feb. 29, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Books! And Movies! And Bulls!
We've never been huge fans of Ernest Hemingway – the effect of too many fiction workshops with tortured boys-who-would-be-Papa, writing "muscular" prose. But we are big fans of free books, and the makers of SXSW film The Matador, which screens in the doc competition, will be giving away copies of Hemingway's bullfighting book The Dangerous Summer to the first 200 in line at The Matador's March 10 premiere. Another 100 will be given away at the second screening on March 11. Olé!

3:14PM Fri. Feb. 29, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Hall of Fame Shuffle
The Texas Hall of Fame Awards are always a good time, boozy and freewheeling, with an "anything goes" attitude. Well, something's up and gone already, actually – previously announced inductee Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) had to cancel for the March 7 ceremony. Additionally, the Austin Film Society has announced a new drop-in: Those famously hairy hellcats ZZ Top will accept the AMD LIVE! Soundtrack Award, with Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard in attendance.

Other honorees include Mike Judge, Morgan Fairchild, Jayne Mansfield (accepted by her daughter, Mariska Hargitay), and the film Urban Cowboy (accepted by Debra Winger).

Dan Rather will host, and Tess Harper and Luke Wilson will present awards.

For more info, check out austinfilm.org.

12:56PM Wed. Feb. 27, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

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Dance, Extra, Dance!
Want to get your pop groove on with Vanessa Hudgins of High School Musical and A.J. Michalka of singing sisters Aly & AJ (not to mention Lisa Kudrow of Friends, Scott Porter of Friday Night Lights, and Gaelan Connell of Chocolat)? Lots and lots of extras are needed for the pivotal battle-of-the-bands sequence in the film Will this Sunday. You must sign up in advance by calling Beth Sepko Casting/Third Coast Extras: 472-5385 x1.

2:26PM Tue. Feb. 26, 2008, Joe O'Connell Read More | Comment »

Andrés Useche Sings for 'Change' (the Obama Kind)
We freely admit to having teared up at the end of a recent Obama campaign ad, so it goes without saying that we were just about wrecked by a four-minute-long Spanish-language music video promoting cross-cultural support of Barack titled "Si Se Puede Cambiar (Yes We Can Change)".

The video was originally intended for Spanish-speaking Texans but, as with seemingly all things in life, this one's gone viral – netting a national audience and 50,000 hits in three days.

Produced by filmmakers Eric Byler (AMERICANese) and Annabel Park for United for Obama, an Asian-American and Latino organization, "Si Se Puede Cambiar" features singer-songwriter Andrés Useche woefully asking (in Spanish) "What did FEMA do after Katrina?" and "What was the purpose of this war?", played out over black & white photos of flood victims and the commander-in-chief in that dumbass flight suit. Oh, and Kal Penn, too! We're sold.

5:32PM Mon. Feb. 25, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Spirit Huzzahs
Texas was well-represented – and rewarded – at this year's Independent Spirit Awards, with Laura Dunn nabbing the Truer Than Fiction Award for The Unforeseen and Chris Eska winning the John Cassavetes Award for August Evening. Both films premiered at last year's South by Southwest Film Festival – and speaking of, SXSW Film producer Matt Dentler co-hosted coverage of the awards on IFC.com with IFC's Matt Singer and Alison Wilmore. Check out Dentler's indiewire blog for all the dirt, as well as snaps from the event.

11:26AM Mon. Feb. 25, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

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