The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marc Savlov, April 20, 2001, Screens

Academy Does Something Right for a Change Dept.: Ragging on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- the fine folks who bring us the Oscars every March -- is too often like shooting screenwriters in a barrel, but every now and then they do something pretty great. This year they cut those godforsaken musical numbers from the televised proceedings and now they've awarded $400K to 32 deserving cinema programs across the nation, among which is our own Austin Film Society, which has received a $15,000 grant for the Austin Airport Studio's paid internship program, slated to help kids in their local area get a leg up in the arena of local film production. The grant arrives with perfect timing, too, as the local economy has begun to mirror the national downturn and the looming possibility of protracted strikes from the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild places the immediate future of film production in Austin (and pretty much everywhere else) in question… Speaking of kids and movies, Barna Kantor's Center for Young Cinema will be screening its semester-end showcase Sunday, April 22, 11am, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The program includes nine films from last year and six new ones, all of them by CYC graduates ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old. In other CYC news, the group, which has recently attained nonprofit status, is looking for volunteers to help out with its summer course program (dates TBA). Kantor says a grant is set to come through at the end of April so a stipend may indeed be available by the time the program is set to begin, tentatively June or July. An office manager and assorted assistant/teachers are also needed -- anyone wishing to help out should give Kantor a call at 469-0114… It's all about the Benjamins Part II: The monthly Association of Independent and Video Filmmakers (AIVF) salon will be held Monday, April 30, 7pm, at the Bad Dog Comedy Theater (110 E. Riverside Dr.) and will feature Elisabeth Sikes of the Austin Film Society's Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund 2001. Sikes will present a workshop on the nature of the fund, an annual grant awarded to emerging film and video artists in the state of Texas that has thus far awarded more than $230,000 to 92 individuals since its inception in 1996. As usual, the salon is free and open to the public. More info can be had by calling Ms. Sikes at 322-0145… It's not exactly local but it's bound to be cool: Texas filmmakers Christopher Hrasky and Kurt Volk will premiere their film The Last Hope: A Document of the Six-Week Wait for Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, Wednesday, May 2, at 9:15pm at Dallas' Cinemark 17 Theater (11819 Webb Chapel Road). The film "explores the rise and near-collapse of a makeshift society composed of people who, for six weeks, lived on the sidewalk in front of Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood to await the release" of George Lucas' film. There were similar camps in and around Austin, of course, and I know for a fact more than a few of you out there were sweating in them, so this is right up our/your alley. For more info on either the film or the USA Film Fest, check out their site at… Finally, the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival's outdoor screening of Queen of Outer Space has had a date change due to inclement weather and is now scheduled for Tues., May 15, at dusk, at the M.A.C.C. (600 River St.). Call 302-9889 for more info.

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