Short Cuts

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

SXSW Film 2000 is finally behind us, which means no more rows of decidedly empty coffee urns in the Four Seasons lobby, no more bizarre Elvis (Mitchell, film critic for The New York Times) sightings, and no more blizzards of misplaced fliers out front of Kinko's Fourth and Congress location. Of course, were this any other town, it would also mean no more brilliant indie films for another 51 weeks. However, as the gang at the Congress Avenue Starbucks will gladly attest, Austin isn't any other town. I never thought I'd see scruffy panhandlers working the line inside a trendy, corporate-owned coffeehouse, but then again I never thought I'd see those same spare-changers claiming they had their own film "projects" to get to, so could I spare a buck for cab fare, buddy? Hey, the Paramount's 100 yards away, pal -- if I can hoof it so can you... Sat., March 25, 9:30pm-?, brings the highly anticipated Savinifest 2000 to the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre courtesy of the Alamo and Austin scribe Stephen Romano. Tom Savini is best known as the effects man behind much of the Eighties splatter movie movement, including such films as George Romero's Dawn and Day of the Dead, the original Friday the 13th, and many, many more squib-heavy exercises crimson. The fest will screen Savini's seminal William Lustig-directed Maniac, the Romero/Stephen King collaboration Creepshow, trailers, prizes, and -- as if you'd expect anything less -- "live on-stage carnage." Tickets are $20 and are available in advance at the Alamo or call 476-1320 to charge by phone. As you might expect featuring the number of exploding body cavities, this is an 18+ affair... The next week brings a free retrospective of Israeli film and television producerdirector Haim Shiran (Pillar of Salt), sponsored by the UT Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Sun., March 27-Tue., Mach 29, 7pm, in Room 4.104 of the UTC Building (UT campus between Speedway and Guadalupe). Titled Jewish Life in Morocco, Tunisia, and Spain, the retrospective will feature several screenings of Shiran's films documenting modern Jewish life in the above-mentioned locales. For more info call Yaron Shemer at 471-1365... Despite the hellish traffic on the silicon corridor these days, a quick jaunt down I-35 this Fri., March 24, might be in order for those interested in honing their scriptwriting talents. CineSA is presenting their March mixer featuring L.A.-based screenwriter and program developer Ellen Sandler (Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach). The mixer kicks off at 7pm at Cafe Soleil, 5800 Broadway in San Antonio. More info at or by calling 210/733-7170... Finally, a truly bizarre bout of Web-based skirmishing has arisen between local mini-fest programmer Ray Melendez (producer of 1998's John Landis tribute) and filmmaker Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis and Butt-head). An e-mail forwarded to the Chronicle offices from the Melendez camp accuses Judge of using his attorney-assisted clout to squash the Melendez-owned site, an apparent fan site with, as yet, little or no content. Currently the site features a posting of the letter Melendez received from Judge's attorneys as well as a few paragraphs decrying the filmmaker's "actions." For his part, a very busy Judge explains he certainly wasn't planning to sue, and had his lawyer send the letter to simply explain he doesn't want -- or have the time -- to be involved in Melendez's project, whatever it may be. One-sided pissing match or precedent-setting, tag team, cage match, Web blowout? Only their hairdressers know for sure.

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SXSW Film, SaviniFest 2000, Haim Shiran, CIneSA, Ellen Sandler, Ray Melendez, Mike Judge

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