Short Cuts

Mark Miks and Murder in Small Town X, festival season upon us, and pre-production on The Life of David Gale.

Your Reality Show Is My Nightmare Dept.: Regardless of what you may think about the current infestation of so-called reality programming that has won the hearts and minds of both cost-conscious network execs and the people who love them, Fox's new faux-murder mystery series, Murder in Small Town X, which had its premiere this past Tuesday evening to moderate acclaim, bears watching due to an unlikely Austin connection. Longtime local filmmaker, actor, and general man about town Mark Miks is one of the series' directors. Miks' credits run the gamut from his acting gig on MTV's late, lamented Austin Stories to indie feature work on such films as Purgatory County, the PBS doc series Into the Light, as well as second-unit work on the Willem Dafoe/Donnie Wahlberg vehicle Bullfighter and his own short film "Muddy Fork," with L.M. "Kit" Carson. The show, which places 10 "real" people in a small Maine hamlet and then sends them off in search of a (fictional) serial killer, evokes Stephen King by way of Thornton Wilder, and promises plenty of guilty pleasures to those so inclined. The Miks-helmed episode's air date is as yet unannounced, but we'll let you know as soon as we do… The dog days of summer typically mean sweltering heat and humidity so high you might as well be underwater, but here in Austin it also means the commencement of film festival season and a chance to take advantage of local theatres' supercool air conditioning. Tickets are already on sale for QTV -- not another home shopping network as the uninformed may surmise, but instead the annual Quentin Tarantino Film Festival V, during which the esteemed indie film icon brings a wealth of exploitation films from his own personal collection to the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre Downtown (409 Colorado) and allows us mere mortals to bask in their reflected glory. This year's fest runs from Friday, Aug. 17 through Sunday, Aug. 26, and will likely sell out, so purchasing advance passes is recommended. Ten-day and five-day passes are currently on sale at the Alamo box office at $125 and $75, respectively. Single-night tickets are $30 (Friday-Saturday) and $20 (weekdays). Call 476-1320 for more info… The other big fest looming on the horizon is the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, the oldest and largest festival of its kind in the U.S., which runs Friday, Aug. 24 through Thursday, Sept. 6. Tickets are not yet on sale but aGLIFF is actively seeking volunteers for this year's fest. A series of volunteer orientations will be held on Saturday, July 28, noon, at the Dobie Mall Food Court (second level, right by the Dobie Theatre), 2205 Guadalupe. Volunteer information and registration forms are available on the aGLIFF Web site at www.agliff. org… Congratulations to UT Professor of Radio/ Television/Film Paul Stekler and Daniel McCabe, whose documentary film George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire has been nominated for two Emmys -- one for writing, one for research -- by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences… The Austin arm of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers is holding a salon Monday, July 30, 7pm, at the Bad Dog Comedy Theater (110 E. Riverside Dr.). Director Jeff Stohland will present clips from his film Master of the Game and discuss working with Sony's new Hi-Def 24P video camera. Admission is free. Call 507-8105 for more info… Finally, the latest news from Austin Studios: Universal's film The Life of David Gale begins pre-production July 30, with Alan Parker directing and Kevin Spacey starring as a fictional UT prof and death penalty abolitionist "who through a series of events winds up on death row, convicted of murder."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mark Miks, Murder in Small Town X, Austin Studios, Kevin Spacey, QTV, Quentin Tarantino, Alan Parker, aGLIFF, Jeff Stohland, Masters of the Game, Paul Stekler, Daniel McCabe, George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire, AIVF, The Life of David Gale

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