Pick of the Litter: 'Sean Connery Golf Project'

Recommended at SXSW Film 2002

Pick of the Litter: 'Sean Connery Golf Project'

Script Rustlers or Audience Hustlers?: 'Sean Connery Golf Project'

Two kids infiltrate Sony Pictures' studio, steal a screenplay, rewrite it, and return it as a better movie. Is it legit, or one of those complex, Blair Witch-style hoaxes? The concept behind "Sean Connery Golf Project," a short doc from two Austinites, seems suspect, but co-director (co-conspirator?) Rhys Southan assures me that he did in fact take the law into his hands. Videotaping the escapade just made it art.

Southan, a film student at UT, spent last summer as an intern in Los Angeles. In his time off, he attended screenings at the studios. "All the advance screenings I saw that summer were really bad," says Southan. Failing to make it into the focus group of a particularly bad movie at Sony, Southan elected to explore the lot rather than leave right away. He found the story department, where he stole as many scripts as would fit in his totebag -- including the titular screenplay. "It didn't occur to me to have a moral problem with it. I just walked past the guard and rollerbladed back to my apartment." When he told his co-worker, UT grad Sara Rimensnyder, about his adventure, she pressured him into returning the scripts and suggested turning the escapade into a documentary. Reading the loot convinced them that, first, the scripts needed improvement. "That's what made it acceptable to Sara. That we were going to return them in better condition."

So it isn't a hoax. But how about a callous attempt to gain notoriety? "I don't think it's callous," denies Southan. "I think it's pretty original and inspiring. Sort of an anarchist thing. Most people have really been into it." The movie they rewrote is reputedly in pre-production, although it's unclear if anyone ever saw the altered script. "If we saw a clip that has something we wrote in it, it would be the best day of our life."

"The Sean Connery Golf Project" screens Friday, March 8, 10:30pm, at the Convention Center; Sunday, March 10, 8:45pm, at the Hideout; and Wednesday, March 13, 2pm, at the Hideout. The filmmakers will be in attendance.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sean Connery Golf Project, Sara Rimensnyder, Rhys Southan

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