The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marc Savlov, January 7, 2000, Screens

Y2K came and went and, thankfully, all of our VCRs and Avids still work. Of course, now we have to deal with all those extraneous cans of Beanie Weenies and Super 16 film that we have stockpiled in the pantry just beneath the razor wire and six reels of pristine copies of Red Dawn. (Contemplative sigh.) Bad stomach fuel aside, there's good news and bad news this week -- let's begin with the bad and get it out of the way. Screenwriting workshop teacher Aubrey Horton sends the disturbing news that one of his students, Ken Gonzales, was murdered over the pre-holiday week. Although exact details are slim as we go to press, Horton has posted a short memorial on with details and a brief eulogy of sorts. Tragedies such as this are usually, hopefully, confined to the scripts and films we follow, and this kind of terrible reality break in a screenwriter's craft and life is not only sorrowful but also wholly unexpected. Our condolences go out to Gonzales' family and friends. On an more upbeat note, Horton will be offering a free lecture on "How to Win a Screenwriting Contest," Sun., Jan. 23, 3pm at the Barnes & Noble on the Drag. Horton boasts a number of students who have snagged various screenwriting awards. In addition, Horton will be teaching a pair of screenwriting classes scheduled for this winter, both a four-week and and eight-week, with application deadlines of Jan. 29. For more information on these and other Horton-related goings-on, check out the above Web site or call 835-7639... There are plenty of local access TV shows that we mention from time to time, but one I've consistently been drawn to and never seem to get in this column is Movies on MoPac, which airs Wednesdays at 10pm on cable channel 16. You may have come across their intelligent, insightful takes on Kubrick and football films, and other theme shows, and wondered, "Who are these people?" Well, we haven't met them yet, but their press releases label them as Amy (not blonde) and Shelly (blonde). Aided by a heaping helping of Shiner Bock (near as we can tell) and a whole lot of ciggies (brand unknown), they dish the dirt on the films we know and love, all to the backdrop of the bustling MoPac expressway. Never was a back yard used so well in the service of indie and studio film critiques. Check it out and check out their site at Sure, you can write, but can you screenwrite? Tad Cobb, competition director at the Screenplayoff (like shuffleboard, only tougher), sends word that Jan. 15 (postmarked) is the final deadline for the, you know, Screenplayoff, which to date has received only 110 entries, frankly making the odds of winning pretty good for unknown writers. The one, the only, the recently-one-year-older Harry Knowles will be among the judges for this competition, and though the entry fee is $50 (yeah, I know -- that's a whole cartridge of Epson ink), you stand to win $5,000 for the "Championship" level, and $1,000 for runners-up. Get crackin'!... Finally, a reminder, the Cinemaker Co-op, in collaboration with the RTF Dept. at UT, has booked underground filmmaker David Gatten -- "an expert at cameraless filmmaking" -- for the weekend of Jan. 15-16. Gatten will be screening some of his odder works and then presenting a workshop on his techniques the following day. Call Cinemaker at 236-2877 for more info.

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