The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marjorie Baumgarten, October 30, 1998, Screens

Austin loves its stars ... and deservedly so. We love the celebrities among us and the way their presence, more and more, blurs the borderlines separating Austin from Hollywood -- or Silicon Valley or the New York publishing centers. The celebrities are easy to spot and fame always seems to attract more fame. (Though we have to wonder about that statement in light of Entertainment Weekly's annual listing of the Top 100 powerful people in Hollywood. Last year, Austin's Internet spymaster Harry Knowles debuted on the list at number 101.5 in recognition of the Hollywood sleuth work disclosed on his site ( In the 1998 list published in this week's EW issue, Knowles has slipped off the magazine's radar.) The point here is that we pay so much attention to the actors and directors that we too often lose sight of all the stars who toil behind the scenes. One of those people is Elizabeth Peters, who has just announced her departure from Austin to move to New York in December to begin work as the new executive director of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). People in Austin have come to know Peters mainly from her work in several different capacities. Until earlier this year, she served as the managing director of the Austin Film Society (AFS) and then continued on the organization's board of directors. She has also served as the director of the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund. University of Texas students may know her from her guiding role as an instructor of filmmaking. Many may not even be aware of their contact with her over the years, but her fingerprints are everywhere in the Austin film community. Austin's film infrastructure is so much richer for Peters' presence. Her talents and skills will now be brought to bear on a national level in an organization that provides support for media artists throughout the country and has a strong chapter also functioning here in Austin. Stars of the infrastructure may not be as glamorous or as appreciated as the famous celebrity artists, but the work they do may be more intrinsic to the sustenance our everyday culture. If ever there was a time for recognizing our stars of the infrastructure, Peters' departure gives us the occasion to do so. We wish her the best...

If you tuned in this past Tuesday for the premiere episode of this season's independent short film and video showcase, The Territory, on PBS (cable 9/channel 18), you were confronted with the rude realization that we're in the throes of a heated election season. Instead of the opening episode devoted to two short narratives focusingon the subject of "Crazy Love," you were greetedby two crazed Texas attorney general candidates locked in heated debate. Art was pre-empted last week by politics. But good news -- the opening show will be seen back-to-back with the second episode (which includes the Gus Van Sant short with Allen Ginsberg called "Ballad of the Skeletons") this Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 10pm. The entire Territory schedule can be found in last week's Chronicle (

In other television scheduling changes, look for ACTV's freewheeling movie review show, The Reel Deal, at a new time and channel. Still on Wednesday nights, the start time has inched up to 10:30pm and the channel location has slipped down the dial to cable channel 10. The Reel Deal gang have also set up a Web site at

The Texas Association of Film/Tape Professionals (TAF/TP) is hosting an equipment expo this Sunday, Nov. 1, 2-5pm, in the Pecan Grove Lot of Zilker Park. Called Production in the Park '98, display will feature exhibition trucks and gear from vendors around the state. The expo is free and open to the public. TAF/TP members who are interested in displaying their own gear at the expo should call 888/630-7373.

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