Short Cuts

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

Satellite of Love, Redux Dept.: Comedy Central's groundbreaking show Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which Minnesotean comic Joel Hodgson and a group of "robots" were jettisoned into outer space and forced to watch (and make fun of) grade-Z movies, went the way of the rotary phone back in 1998, but fans of the show should have reason to rejoice this Sunday, Sept. 24, at 9:30pm when the Alamo Drafthouse begins Mr. Sinus Theater 3000, a locally produced live-version of a similar idea featuring Austin comics Jerm Pollett, Owen Egerton, and John Erler. Pollett, who scored a spot on the Steven Soderbergh film The Underneath with his band Gal's Panic a few years back, was approached by Alamo head Tim League with the idea of creating a live version of what most people do in the privacy of their own homes (i.e., tie one on and make fun of bad movies). "Tim had had a lot of fans of MST3K contact him hoping that he would show old episodes at the theater," explains Pollett, "and he approached me with the idea of doing the whole thing live, which allows for more spontaneity and wacky hijinks." As in the TV version, the trio of comics will sit in the front row of the theatre with microphones and toss out ad-libbed wisecracks. Pollett says to expect more than that, though: As the driving force behind local group-of-one Tall, Dark, and Lonesome, he'll also feature live music, of a sort, sketches, special appearances, and best of all, a drinking game. No, seriously. The first film to fall under Mr. Sinus', uh, gaze is Doris Wishman's 1962 clunker Nudes on the Moon, which, oddly enough, was one of the films screened at the Alamo in 1998 with Wishman herself in attendance. If all goes well with the Mr. Sinus debut screening, the Sinusmen plan to continue gutting the bad, the worse, and the awful every last Saturday of every month. "Right now," explains Pollett, "we're renting bad movies nonstop. There's lots of possiblities, because on MST3K there were only so many things they could do with their budget. At the Alamo we can offer more risque fare and take it to a whole new level of badness. We'd eventually like to take on some more recent films like Battlefield Earth." Ah, the horror, the horror... Interested in making some bad movies yourself? Maybe not, but you can learn the rudiments of bad filmmaking (lens cap should be off, okay?) when emissaries of the Vancouver Film School appear tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10am-1pm at the Sheraton Austin Hotel (500 N. I-35) for an "information session" on "the third largest film and television production center in North America." More info at 800/661-4101... You say you're already out of film school and have wrapped post on your own bad (-ass) film project but nobody's seen it yet? Lucky for you SXSW 2001 is now accepting submissions. Their early submission deadline is Nov. 15 (with a $20/$30 processing fee for shorts/features). There's also a late submission deadline ($25/$35) on Dec. 8, so there's still time to mix down that ADR work if need be. For complete info, call 467-7979 or e-mail sxsw@sxsw.com... And move fast if you want to register for the Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference and Film Festival at the early discount rate. Friday, Sept. 22, is the deadline, and forms and other info can be downloaded at www. austinfilmfestival.com. Confirmed panelists include Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), David Chase (The Sopranos), Anne Rapp (Cookie's Fortune), Paul Mazursky (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice), actor Fred "Hammer Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn), and Bill Wittliff (The Perfect Storm).

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mr. Sinus Theater 3000, Mystery Science Theater 2000, Alamo Drafthouse, Jerm Pollett, Owen Egerton, John Erler, Nudes on the Moon, Vancouver Film School, SXSW 2001, Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference and Film Festival

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