The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marjorie Baumgarten, June 25, 1999, Screens

One of the nation's most phenomenal indie film success stories of the past year has happened right here in Austin. The documentary, Hands on a Hard Body -- Bob Bindler's hilarious, insightful, and life-affirming slice of Texas life -- is closing in on its one-year anniversary of continuous play at the Dobie Theatre, where it premiered nationally last July following a presentation by the Texas Documentary Tour. Since then it has opened in various theatres around the country to good reviews and audiences, but no city has matched the Austin phenomenon, which still has viewers turning out in droves, frequently in greater numbers than the turnout for the newer releases. The Landmark chain and Dobie are planning big hoopla to celebrate the anniversary in a few weeks but in the meantime, for a warm-up, they heaped surprise awards on the lucky 50,000th patron to see Hands on a Hard Body. Dayne S. Choate was the fortunate winner; he received 50 free passes to the Dobie Theatre and, of course, a large soda and popcorn. ... Beth Sams, the multimedia educator at the Austin Children's Museum, is looking for film- and videomakers to volunteer for a variety of summer projects. Coming up this week on Wednesday, June 30, 6-8pm, is a Multimedia Extravaganza at which the Giga Gals (love that name, by the way) will meet with the teen group to screen a teen-made documentary and other projects. The museum is seeking public submission of film and video projects of all kinds that are under 15 minutes in length and suitable for screening to 9-18-year olds. The museum is also looking for volunteers with their own cameras for their Wednesday, July 9 Feel the Beat event to tape the Giga Gals as they interview local musicians about their instruments. Also in the works is Austin's Own Youth Film Festival. Entries are due by August 1, and the museum is looking for volunteers willing to help a Giga Gal complete a video from beginning to end by that date or to volunteer to help out at the festival. See or contact Beth Sams at for more info... If, like me, you're always eagerly waiting for the next Spike Lee movie to be released, it seems like a long time 'til next week's opening of Summer of Sam. (Expect the rest of the summer to be jam-packed with lots of interesting, challenging adult entertainment once the studios start releasing all the stuff they held in wait for the passing of the Phantom Menace juggernaut.) An interesting, and focused, hour-long interview with Lee, Delroy Lindo on Spike Lee, premieres on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) on Monday, June 28, 7pm. Lindo, an actor who is frequently showcased in Lee's films, conducts the one-on-one dialogue as well as capturing "man in the street" interviews that shed intriguing light on the public perception of the Knicks' biggest fan... It's last call to make the July 1 deadline for applications for 1999 Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund grants administered by the Austin Film Society. Awards up to $5,000 are provided to Texas artists whose work shows "promise, skill, and creativity." Over the first three years of its existence, the TFPF has awarded over $130,000 to 49 individuals. The funds are derived from those splashy benefit premieres held throughoutthe year and from private and corporate donations. Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from the Web at or call 322-0145 for details -- but act quickly.

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