Short Cuts

by Jen Scoville

To be sure, the Austin Heart of Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference that took place last weekend had its many attendees thinking about the bones of a movie, the artistic process from script to finished film. Motion-picture industry professionals, independent filmmakers, and Hollywood writers shared their experiences with conference-goers who just may prove to be the future lot of creative talent (see story p.52). Wannabe screenwriters who might have missed the conference, or who would like to put their new knowledge to the test, have a couple of ways to do so. Empire Productions' Empire Screenplay Contest is soliciting original screenplays in three categories: feature-length scripts of any genre with no production budget restriction; feature-length scripts of a highly marketable story that could be produced less expensively (contemporary setting and minimal cast, special effects, camera set-ups, exterior night scenes, car scenes, etc.); and Spanish-language screenplays (no budget restrictions). The winning script in each category receives $1,000 and a possible option for production. Contest judges include Hollywood and independent producers and agents. Deadline for submission is Nov. 2; entry fee, $30. Send manuscript with a SASE to: 2121 San Felipe Ste. 138, Houston, TX 77019-5600. For more info call 713/521-7230, or visit Empire's website at: http://www.neosoft. com/~empire/. It's also time again for the Lone Star Screenplay Competition sponsored by Crescent Films and PB Productions, open to original feature-length scripts of all genres. Prizes include cash awards and winners are eligible to sign an option with either sponsor to represent and develop the screenplay for a period of one year. Entries must be postmarked by Nov. 15; call 214/606-3041 for an entry form and a list of regulations. L.A.-based Screenwriting Partners Unlimited is sponsoring The Silver Mining Screenwriting Workshop in Dallas, November 9-10. On top of the conference taught by three seasoned professionals, the $345 registration fee includes "a lifetime privilege of ongoing consultation with Screenwriting Partners." For more information and a list of instructor credentials, call 310/594-8028... NY gonzo-shock filmmaker Joe Christ will be back in town this Sunday, Oct. 20 (9pm, Casino El Camino), on a screening tour of his counter-culture shorts including Sex, Blood and Mutilation, a documentary that gives the words "body modification" new meaning, and a preview of Christ's new sequel-in-progress. The film stars Genesis P-orridge (of Throbbing Gristle fame) and Coney Island's late Tattoo Mike Wilson. Not for the faint of heart, P-orridge is shown manipulating his many piercings and sitting through ritual cuttings... Brainchild Productions film group is sponsoring a Super-8 film party at Ozone Bike Shop (510 W. 35th), 7pm, on Friday, Oct. 18. Shorts to be screened include Feral Edd and Feral Edd 2 by Jamie Saunders and A Short Film by Death by Ament Escalante. Anyone with a film to submit, call Jamie at 454-8371 or bring it along for consideration... Three must-see films will be shown this week as the Austin Film Society's trio of series continues. October 22nd's British Playwrights on Screen (Tuesdays, 6pm, Union Theatre, $3) selection is the classic French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), a film following the parallel romances of a Victorian couple and the contemporary actors (Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep) playing their roles in a movie. Immediately following is Pageantry and Pathos: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (Tuesdays, 8pm, Union Theatre, free admission). The series progresses with what is probably The Archers best-known film -- The Red Shoes -- a modern adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's short story of a ballerina who dances herself to death. The film is widely regarded as the best ballet movie ever made, and is said to be Martin Scorsese's favorite film of all time. Wednesday's Film Noir at the Dobie (7:30pm, $5) is Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973), Raymond Chandler updated-to-Seventies L.A. with Elliot Gould playing a non-traditional Phillip Marlowe. Independent filmmaker George Ratliff (The Plutonium Circus) will introduce the film at its first screening; it shows a second time on Sat,
Oct. 26 at noon... Don't miss Evolving Images, the thematic title of this week's PBS independent film and video series, The Territory (Tue. Oct. 22, KLRU, 11pm), which includes Requiem, a film by Austinite Sara Whiteley... MFA, Houston's Latin American Film Festival begins this weekend and runs through Nov. 17. Eleven recent films from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Cuba will be shown, including Pain-flower, a modern Hispanic love story that made its world premiere last year at the SXSW Film Festival. Director Fred Garcia will be in attendance along with three additional filmmakers. Call 713/639-7300 for a festival schedule... The women's film collective Reel Women is meeting tonight, Thu., Oct. 17 at 7:30pm. Filmmaker K. Bradford will discuss her racial documentary White Out. Call Cyndy Kirkland at 280-8706 for info and location.

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