by Jen Scoville

We'll be in the dark over the next few days -- watching lots of independent films, to be sure. The SXSW Film Festival and Conference opens this Friday with screenings at the Dobie, the Paramount, and the Alamo -- our new drafthouse/cinema located at Fourth and Colorado. More than 60 programs of films will be shown (Check pull-out section for a complete schedule, film descriptions, and ticket info.) and SXSW-related events abound. Tonight (Thursday, March 6) at 10pm, KGSR 107.1FM will broadcast an hour long Film Festival Preview Party with critic Kevin Phinney, featuring interviews with Bill Paxton and Robert Rodriguez (both of whom are attending the festival) among others. A special SXSW AIVF (Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers) salon will meet on Saturday, March 8, 10-11:30am at the Public Domain Theater, 807 Congress, which will be attended by AIVF's executive director Ruby Lerner. Discussion topics will focus on the Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM), involving writing an effective film synopsis; targeting buyers, programmers and sales agents; preparing a press kit, etc. IFFM alums Thomas Pallotta (The High Road), George Ratliff (Purgatory County), and Jacob Vaughn (Jesus of Judson short) will also be in attendance to share their experiences with last year's event. And the AIVF Austin salon (along with Southwest Alternative Media Project) are hosting a multimedia exhibit in the gallery at the same space, March 8-11, 11am-5pm, with an opening reception and video screenings taking place on Sunday, March 9, 7:30-11pm. The show incorporates large-scale, two-dimensional digital collages by Austin painter Wes Hicks, ambient video by Ben Davis, and a number of video and multimedia presentations including Liz Belile's Body of Words (html, '97), Nate Pagel/Sharir Dance Co.'s
Virtual Bodies
(video, '96-97), Janice Inskeep's The Box (video, '96), Engine: Live Nude Girls #10 -- Japanese Pop Culture (video, '96), Jen Schultes' CoAx, Princess, Beauty Rest (video, '96), Bob Sabiston's Project Incognito (animation, '97), and God's Little Monkey (animation, '96), and video selections from the University of Texas Art Department. There's no scheduled order of the screenings as of yet; Q&A's with filmmakers in attendance will follow...

Austin Cinemaker Co-op actually had to turn people away from two sold-out showings of their Super-8 film festival Reel of Fortune at the Ritz last week, so they've organized two more screenings on Monday, March 10,
8 & 10pm. The Austin Independent Cinema Series at the Ritz continues on Tuesday, March 11, 8 & 10pm, with Dorian Ramierez's Pushing the Envelope, a fictional account of obsessive Internet enthusiasts. Ramierez will be present for a Q&A following the screenings. AFS' Sam Fuller Series will return after SXSW...

Richard Linklater's The Newton Boys, is casting "unique faces" as extras -- Send photos to: Newton Boys Casting, PO Box 12607, Austin, TX 78711.

Send info regarding local film projects, multimedia development, contests, special screenings, industry gatherings, unique Web sites and any interesting rumors to "Short Cuts," P.O. Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765 or

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