Short Cuts

Atom Egoyan, currently a nominee for a best director Oscar for his haunting screen adaptation of Russell Banks' novel, The Sweet Hereafter, has been added this week to the SXSW Film Festival lineup. He will be in attendance to present a rare American screening of four of his short films and videos: "Portrait of Arshile," "Open House," "En Passant," and "Sarabande." See the insert in this issue of the Chronicle for details about these films and the screening. The insert includes the complete Film Festival screening schedule along with film descriptions, in addition to a complete guide to the Interactive Festival. Additionally, prior to the Festival, the Austin Film Society has scheduled a free screening of Egoyan's Exotica (1994) on Tuesday, March 10, 7pm, at the Union Theatre...

An exhibit of the photographic art of experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger opens at the Pro-Jex Gallery (1705 Guadalupe, #122) on March 5 and continues through April 9. Titled "Icons From the Pleasure Dome: The Magickal Imagery of Kenneth Anger," the exhibit includes film stills from such cult classics as Scorpio Rising and Lucifer Rising. In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be a public reception at the gallery on Friday, March 20 (the spring equinox), 6-9pm, with Kenneth Anger in attendance. It seems that the filmmaker, who was just in Austin last Halloween screening his work at the invitation of the film group in*situ, just can't stay away. There are even rumors that Anger is planning to film a new project while in town...

This week Variety published its list of the 20 Most Profitable Films of 1997, and coming in at #20 is Austin artist Mike Judge's animated feature phenomenon, Beavis and Butt-head Do America. (Okay, so the movie was, technically, a late 1996 release, but according to Variety, it did most of its business in 1997.) Granted, this is the kind of list in which the little guys tend to fare well, given that the revenue ratio is reached by dividing the global box-office grosses by the budget. In the Top Ten, the only blockbuster-mentality movies to scratch the surface are Star Wars and The Lost World. Otherwise, the list represents the vain hopes of indie filmmakers everywhere - that a zero-budget movie can get picked up for distribution and become a quick ticket to riches, glory, and Easy Street. And while it's good to know these success stories are out there (the top six titles are The Full Monty, Chasing Amy, When the Cat's Away, In the Company of Men, Shine, and Scream), the whole thing is a needle-in-a-haystack scenario, especially considering the ever-increasing glut of independent features that are being produced today. At any rate, congratulations are due Mike Judge, along with our sincerest hope that he's reaping his full rewards. Maybe the next film installment could follow his animated doofus boys on a trip to their investment banker...

Some upcoming feature films are about to place Austin movie-making in the spotlight, yet again. The Newton Boys, by Richard Linklater, is due to open on March 27 following its world premiere at SXSW. Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick, Jr., and Gena Rowlands and directed by Forest Whitaker, is scheduled to open on April 24. Both projects were filmed in the Central Texas area. And Digital Anvil's Chris Roberts is presently in Luxembourg shooting Wing Commander, a film based on the characters, storylines, themes, and other creative elements of the first four titles of the bestselling computer game created by Roberts. (See the story in this week's "Screens" section for a full update on activities at Digital Anvil.)

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The Conrans will 'Captain' 'Princess of Mars'; plus, Linklater headed for 'Bad News'

Marc Savlov, Sept. 17, 2004

Short Cuts
Short Cuts
Invest in the fests!

Marc Savlov, Sept. 3, 2004

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