Short Cuts

The Austin Film Society (AFS) has scheduled three special events this week designed to make the most of the days spent in Austin by this year's review panelists for grants by the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund (TFPF). In addition to donating their time and talents to the TFPF, three of the four distinguished panelists will present screenings of their own work. The events all take place in Studio 4D of UT's Communication Bldg. B (the huge, brown building at 26th & Guadalupe -- just take the elevator to the fourth floor) and admission is free to the public. Sunday, Aug. 24 at 9pm, film and videomaker Jim McKay (director of Sundance prize winner Girls Town and producing associate of Michael Stipe) will present a rare screening of his Direct Effect public service announcements created by filmmakers, musicians, and artists, along with his documentary Lighthearted Nation about the men of Duplex Planet, a fanzine out of a Boston-area nursing home that features the art of Ed Rogers, the poetry of Ernest Noyes Brookings, the music of Francis McElroy and Jack Mudurian, and much more. Next, on Monday, Aug. 25 at 8:30pm, legendary producer's rep John Pierson (She's Gotta Have It, Roger & Me, Slacker, Go Fish) and author (Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes) will present an hour-long program of highlights from his new Independent Film Channel TV show Split Screen that scrutinizes and celebrates the world of independent filmmaking. Pierson will also share his insights during an extended Q&A session. Pierson's appearance, appropriately enough, is also being co-hosted by the Austin chapter of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), whose regular monthly gathering will be combined with this Monday night's event. Then, on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6pm filmmaker Judith Helfand will present her documentary A Healthy Baby Girl, one of the most powerful films shown at this year's Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals. The movie recounts Helfand's traumatic health experiences as a DES daughter and serves as a rousing diary of her resultant politicization. Helfand will be on hand to discuss the film and other issues related to the responsibilities of the health industries. The fourth TFPF panelist, George Huang (Swimming With Sharks) has completed a feature film for Warner Bros. which will be released this fall...

Also, the AFS Summer Free-for-All series concludes this week with Hou Hsiao-hsien's Dust in the Wind, a Taiwanese film about young love lost that will be presented in a new 35mm print on Tue. Aug. 26 at 7pm in the Texas Union Theater...

The first in an ongoing series of events dedicated to presenting the works of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin will focus on their film output. The Johnson Family and the Sirius Business Consortium will "enchant the Awakening" with a screening of some film collaborations by Burroughs, Gysin, and Anthony Balch from the period of 1961-66. Included will be Towers Open Fire, The Cut-Ups, and Bill and Tony. (Proceeds from the screening will go toward funding the groups' recently confirmed Austin appearance by the peerless experimental film master Stan Brakhage on Sept. 12.) Subsequent Burroughs and Gysin events will focus on music, spoken word, and art installations. The film-oriented Awakening is scheduled for Sat. Aug. 23 at 9:31pm at Movements Gallery (211 E. Sixth). There will also be performances by Trance Syndicate recording artist Cyrus Rego, the Very Quentin Terronteenoes, and G. Price and the Fall of the Finger Haus Ensemble. For more info call 481-0493...

A couple of weeks ago in this column, we talked about Austin filmmaker Don Howard's hour-long documentary Letter From Waco, the top prize winner at both SXSW and the USA Film Festival and how disappointed we were that our local PBS affiliate KLRU had programmed the film to air two weeks after its national television premiere on other PBS stations. To its credit, KLRU jumped in to do what it could to correct the oversight by hosting a screening party with a satellite feed on Aug. 12, the night of the national broadcast. Now, for those of you who have yet to see this personal documentary or would like to see it again, it will air this Tue., Aug. 26 on KLRU (Ch. 9) at 10:30pm...

Two for Texas, a Turner Network Television original feature shooting in the Austin area and starring Kris Kristofferson, has issued a casting call for extras. The story is based on James Lee Burke's novel Sabine Spring which takes place in the 1830s and involves two Louisiana penal colony escapees who join up with Sam Houston's Texas Volunteers and play pivotal roles in the defeat of General Santa Anna's Mexican army. Adult men of all ages are needed, especially those with an appropriate period look. Particularly needed are Native Americans, Hispanics, African-Americans, Anglo men with facial hair, and people who ride horses very well or drive wagons. Some Hispanic and Native American women are also needed, although no children will be cast for the project. If interested, come to the open call on Sun. Aug. 24, anytime between 2 and 6pm, at the Holiday Inn South (I-35 & Woodward/St. Edward's).

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