Short Cuts

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

Who You Callin' Short? Dept.: Last week in this space we gave you a brief rundown on the seventh annual Austin Film Festival and Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference, which is commencing as you read this (800/310-FEST or www.austinfilmfestival. com for all the info). This time out, let's focus on the other upcoming film smorgasbord, the CinemaTexas 2000 Short Film + Video Festival, which kicks into high gear next week, Oct. 18-22 (471-6497 or hit their site at for more info). A couple of thoughts: Austin is a city blessed with a virtual year-round e-ticket of film festivals (or cursed, if you hate film, and if that's the case what on earth are you doing here? Oh, right, the engineering degree. Gotcha.) Between the two current ones, add SXSW, aGLIFF, Reel Women, Cinemaker Co-op, and whatever the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre and the Quentin Tarantino/Harry Knowles/Stephen Romano division of All Films, All the Time Inc. is up to at any given moment, and it's pretty much a 24/7/365 slate. Compared to heavy hitters like AFF and SXSW, CinemaTexas is a smaller, more intimate fest that provides a much-needed forum for screening wonderful stuff you're just not likely to find anywhere else. Coming out of one of Hollywood's worst summers in recent memory -- at least in regard to quality of "product" -- it's doubly heartening to know that, yes, Virginia, there is a vital independent film community toiling underneath the radar. A recent talk with CinemaTexas guest Jim Jarmusch (featured in next week's Chronicle) yielded mutual disappointment at the seemingly dismal fate of -- for want of a better word -- the "short film." In the increasingly cutthroat world of mainstream filmmaking, "short" has become something of a dirty word. There's no place apart from 2am on the cable networks or lodged between features on AMC that short subjects can find a home these days. That is, unless you count little miracles like CinemaTexas. In addition to presenting a collection of Jarmusch's favorite short films (Sat., Oct. 21, 8pm, location TBA), the fest kicks off Wed., Oct. 18 with a Cinemaker Co-op party at the Austin Museum of Art's Laguna Gloria campus, 7-10pm, featuring a grip-gagging wealth of Super-8 films and installation art. Also of note is the "Video Art Drive-By," Thu., Oct. 19, 9:30-11:30pm (location TBA), and memorial screening of seminal avant-gardist Kurt Kren, Sat., Oct. 21, midnight (location TBA). Who was Kurt Kren? Apart from being immortalized in song by early-Eighties Houstonian punk band Really Red, you mean? Go find out, and then go make your own movie, already!... The fine folks at Alchemy Works will be presenting a reading of Susan Lehman and Jennifer Platzkere's Summer Raines, the 1999 AFF Heart of Film Family screenplay winner, Fri., Oct. 13, 7pm, at the Driskill Hotel (604 Brazos). More info at 443-8229... A fond farewell is in order for Austin Film Society co-programmer Mitchell Alexander who's vacating the post -- and the state -- after a two-year tenure to head to Colorado with wife Linda and "beloved office baby" Emerson in tow. Our best wishes go with them as well as the hope that no one along the way confuses Emerson with KNAC's beloved "Psycho Baby." Hey, it could happen... In other farewells, we must say goodbye to the Regal Cinema chain's Riverside 8 theatre, which is closing its doors for good after Tue., Oct. 19. Another one bites the dust.

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Austin Film Festival and Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference, Cinematexas 2000 Short Film + Video Festival, Riverside 8, Regal Cinemas, Jim Jarmusch, Kurt Kren, Mitchell Alexander

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