Short Cuts

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

What happened to spring? Here it is muggy as Randall "Tex" Cobb's armpit already and it's not even mid-May. Global warming or just the massive influx of freshly transplanted Austinites in my downtown neck of the woods? All I know is that the sky over our fair city yesterday around 5pm was as murky as one of Sidney Greenstreet's backroom schemes -- "the stuff that breaths are made of," as Bogie would say. Take a deep pull off that respirator, then, and get those aching lungs inside where a plethora of events worthy of your attention is taking place across town. Beginning in June, the Austin Museum of Art's Art School at Laguna Gloria is offering a series of three cinema-studies classes that should make your post-film, opening conversational gambits that much more incisive. "Cinema Eye: Film Appreciation," featuring Statesman (and former Chronicle) film critic and writer Alison Macor, begins a four-week run on June 4. Registration is $61 and the class "introduces the basic elements of film by screening a variety of works by filmmakers worldwide and examining how their stories are told through visual and narrative techniques." Macor will also be helming the five-week "Film Theory Goes to the Movies," starting July 10, $88 (plus $28 for film tickets), which will discuss narrative structure, themes, and style in current films. Finally, Jay Needham's 12-hour "Video Art" course, beginning June 10 for $144, "is for people who want to produce more artistic, 'watchable' short videos. It covers filters and creative lighting techniques" as well as other aspects of videography. Registration continues "right up to the last minute," says Art School director Judith Sims, and more information is available at or by calling 323-6380... Austin's film-femme collective Reel Women has scheduled its next meeting for Wed., June 17, 7:30pm, at GSD&M. The featured speaker will be Barbara Sonnen-Hernandez, director and executive producer of Kid's Ideas, a children's educational program airing every Saturday morning on KXAN. Admission is free and open to the public... Screenings abound as the movie-going season approaches, beginning with Amy Heckerling's brilliant Fast Times at Ridgemont High at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, May 11-13, midnight, May 13-14, 4:30pm. If you missed the Saturday Morning Film Club's showing of Forbidden Planet last Saturday, this is the other studio-produced film you have to see at least once a summer, by law, no exceptions. Vans, Van Halen, and Mr. Hand -- what more could you ask for? Tix and prices available at Finally, the Austin Film Society and the Paramount Theatre begin their series,"The Subversive and the Soap Opera: Douglas Sirk in the Fifties" beginning with 1954's Rock Hudson/ Jane Wyman weeper Magnificent Obsession, Tue., May 16, 9:30pm, at the Paramount. Fans of John Waters may recall that director's loving tribute to the sublime melodrama of Sirk during last year's aGLIFF stopover, and following Tuesdays include a chance to see some of Sirk's greatest, oddest films, including The Tarnished Angels (May 23), There's Always Tomorrow (May 30), and the explosively bizarre Imitation of Life (June 27), as well as others. Sirk, who died in 1987, remains one of Hollywood's most original artists -- his fan club ranges from Fassbinder to Godard, although after 1959 he pretty much vanished off everyone's radar. Recent critical attention has stirred a new interest in his work, and this is your chance to see what all the hubbub is about, bub.

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Austin Museum of Art classes, Alison Macor, Jay Needham, Judith Sims, Reel Women, Barbra Sonnen-Hernandez, Douglas Sirk, Austin Film Society

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