Short Cuts

Upcoming events and workshops of interest to the Austin film community.

One step forward, two steps back seems to be the case for Austin's indie filmmaking scene this week. A case in point is that in the wake of the City Council's decision to green-light the Austin Film Society's proposed sound stage plans for Robert Mueller Airport (that would be the step forward), stalwart film networking group the Film Alliance of Austin has packed it in and disbanded. In the three years since the group's formation, the Alliance has made it a point to bring together the various elements of the Austin film community under one roof (and frequently with a cash bar) in order to team up would-be producers with would-be directors, crew, screenwriters, and so on. The group had already suffered a bit of a blow when longtime director and unstoppable schmooze mistress Lisa Maxon pulled up stakes and headed for the Big Apple a year or so ago. At the time, the Alliance was expected to continue business as usual under newly elected director Trant Batey, but Batey now says that he no longer has time to head the organization, and, as no one else seems to have the time to tackle the myriad organizational duties either, it's curtains for the Alliance as of last week's board meeting. "The board members didn't have any clear mission for where to go from here," adds Batey, "and frankly, the business has moved on since three years ago, with much of it going to Canada. It's now starting to come back, but during this dry spot many members left for greener pastures."... Speaking of the AFS, there are still tickets available for the Austin premiere of Ben Younger's new film Boiler Room, (see review) benefiting AFS, Thurday, February 17, 7pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Star Nicky Katt (Dazed and Confused) will be on hand for a Q&A after the film, along with co-stars Scott Caan and Jamie Kennedy. Tickets will go on sale to the general public 45 minutes before the show and are available to AFS members as of now. And yes, a premiere party will follow the show... I haven't had much space lately to mention the AFS's Full Moon Madness film series (which has been going on for several months now), but this week's screening is a personal favorite and bears noting: it's 1943's Val Lewton-produced, Jacques Tourneur-directed RKO masterpiece I Walked with a Zombie, which cleverly updates Jane Eyre for the voodoo-and-chiaroscuro set. It's screening Wednesday, February 23, 9:30 pm, at the Alamo... Tuesday, February 22, 7pm, at the Texas Union Theater, continues the AFS's ongoing Preston Sturges series, which this night features The Miracle of Morgan's Creek starring Sturges stalwarts William Demarest and Eddie Bracken. The 80-year-old Bracken, whose daughter lives in Austin, will be on hand for Q&A following the screening (see feature on opposite page)... The locally made movie Natural Selection, which premiered at the Dobie a couple of weeks ago, returns there as a midnighter this Friday. Sounds like a reasonable spot for a comedy about a couple of serial killers... Finally, Cinemaker Co-op's 8 the Hard Way mini-gauge film fest is scheduled for Sunday, February 20, and Monday, February 21, 7:30 and 9:30 pm, at the Ritz Lounge Upstairs. An evening of booze, disco balls, and more than 20 Super-8 films by local filmmakers, all at a reasonable price ($5). What more could you ask for?

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Austin Film Society, Film Alliance of Austin, Mueller sound stages, Boiler Room, Nicky Katt, Full Moon Madness, Cinemaker Co-op, 8 the Hard Way, Eddie Bracken, Natural Selection

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