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Film, Not Fries: Thus went the chant of students and other concerned filmgoers at the Texas Union Massacre rally last Thursday. A hardy group of 75 or so cineastes braved the bitter cold and the deaf ears of the University and Union management in order to voice their feelings of anger and frustration regarding the unilateral budgetary decision to terminate the Texas Union Film Program. A passionate group they were... and creative, too, if such things can be determined by the quality of a group's chants and slogans. "Film, Not Fries" was the cry heard as the protesters paraded down Guadalupe during rush hour. Outside the theatre entrance to the Union building, the rally heated up the brisk night air as a bay of projectors flung film images up on the exterior walls of the Union and the gathering started to take on the familiar fervor of a political action. Below are a few more examples of the delicious slogans:

"Hey, hey Chick-Fil-A / How many films did you kill today?"

"We Want Fellini, Not Mussolini."

"Art, Not Arby's."

"We Want Godard, Not Corporate Lard."

"Orson Welles, Not Taco Bells."

If nothing else, this shut-down has proven itself to be a big public relations mess for the Texas Union and University management. They now carry the shameful burden of knowing that a university of such vaunted size and stature has utterly dismissed the idea of regular film offerings as being vital to the concept of a well-rounded cultural education. Yes, there will still be sporadic screenings scheduled there on an ad hoc basis next semester and the Austin Film Society will start up another Tuesday night series there in January dedicated to the films of John Cassavetes (also look for the AFS to begin another film noir series at the Dobie in January). But I also know that, speaking for myself, the reduction in screenings means that I will rarely have occasion to set foot in the Union building, thus rarely having the opportunity to spend money and thereby also having an adverse effect on the overall plan to beef up profit margins. In fact, the closure means that my reasons for visiting the Drag will also become much more infrequent and my spillover dollars will also be lost to area merchants. You can be sure that all this will be taken into account the next time I am in the theatre and am looking to have a beer or a soft drink...

Director of The High Road and keeper of the Delta-9 website devoted to info about independent filmmaking (http://www.eden.com/~delta-9/index.html), Tommy Pallotta, is back in town for a while; Saturday night he will be showing some of the work he's been doing in the Big Apple over the last few months. With Bob Sabiston, Pallotta has been filming a series of short, digitally animated interviews for MTV called Project Incognito. These films will be screening Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Ritz, 8-9pm; admission is free...

Last week during opening weekend, Scream 2 boggled prognosticators by raking in upwards of $39 million -- nearly half of all box-office receipts nationwide. One person surely delighted with the success of screenwriter Kevin Williamson's new movie is filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, whose next directing project is slated to be a movie based on a script by fellow Dimension Films talent Williamson.

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