Short Cuts

New digs at dirt-cheap prices for filmmakers, plus Alan Watts' summer camp for kids, a free film series at UT, and some sticky fingers over at News 8 Austin.

Just Because Layne Staley Lived in a Box Doesn't Mean You Have to Emulate Him Dept.: Hey, starving filmmakers: Why live in that refrigerator box in the alley behind G.E.A.R. just to save on production costs when you can just as cheaply live in a film-centric "communal living environment" a stone's throw from the ultra-cool Sanrio store at Highland Mall? Ranch Studios is opening their doors (all 4,000 sq. feet of 'em) to you, Mr. Lab-Costs-Are-More-Important-Than-Adequate-Plumbing, and offering live-in space where "residents can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere conducive to creativity and networking with other filmmakers." Residents will have access to all sorts of cool film gear like cameras, lights, sound equipment, a Mac G4 editing suite, a cargo van, and, best of all, free gaffer tape! But wait! There's more: a 580-sq.-foot indoor/outdoor patio (with a vaulted ceiling) that doubles as soundstage, bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchen, pool room, laundry room, extended cable TV, Road Runner high-speed Internet service, and god knows what else. Swank-tastic, no? Now how much would you pay? How about a paltry $575-$650/month all bills paid? This is hands-down the sweetest deal for local filmmakers we've heard about since Austin's housing boom usurped affordable artist spaces some five years back. Leases begin Aug. 1, with applicants chosen by the end of June. For more information on this hellacool deal, e-mail stevebusti@hotmail.com or call 371-1398... Alan Watts update No. 307: 16color.com's creative overlord Alan Watts (not to be confused with Six Feet Under's Alan Ball) has come up with an innovative way to get kids interested in his lo-res brand of Internet and filmmaking coolness. To wit, he'll be teaching a series of workshops in association with the Austin Public Library's Wired for Youth series of hands-on kids' summer camps. The workshops will teach kids how to make their own old-school video games from scratch after studying (and no doubt playing) the likes of Watts' faves Galaga, Pole Position, Asteroids, and assorted others. Kids' self-made games will then be uploaded to the APL's Web site, where other APL branches will compete for high scores, says Watts. The first workshop is scheduled for Monday, June 24-Thursday, June 27, 1-3:30pm, at the APL's Carver Branch. Call Wired for Youth Librarian Michele Gorman at 477-8679. The second workshop runs Monday, July 8-Thursday, July 11, 1:00-3:30pm. Call Beth Soloman at 462-1452 for more info... War (good gawd, y'all!), what is it good for? Well, quite a bit, actually, when it comes to the military-industrial complex, drawing attention away from Fearless Leader's asinine domestic policies, and, more to the point, left-leaning film festivals like the one the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT is sponsoring. The mini-fest, titled "On War and Peace: Films About World Conflict," will run Monday, June 3-Thursday, June 6, 7pm nightly, at the Texas Union Theatre. Co-sponsored by Hemispheres, a university-based outreach consortium, the mini-fest will feature a quartet of award-winning international films from Senegal to Iran. More info: www.inic.utexas.edu/hemispheres/filmfestival.html... Finally, in our "Sticky Fingers Dept.," Kudos (the suckiest candy bar in the world) to the gang at Austin's apparently content-desperate News 8, who clearly know a good thing when I write it. Snuggled among the local 24-hour news station's Memorial Day coverage was a piece on "Filming Without a Bankroll-- (also on their Web site) that bears a suspicious resemblance to the recent Chron article "The Giving Tree" (austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2002-05-24/screens_feature.html), going so far as to chat up Brittany Baize, the new producer on Tracie Laymon's "hiatus-ing" feature Up, which was prominently mentioned in the Chron's coverage. Hey, anything that helps cash-strapped local productions is cool in my book, so I'll let this one slide ... and next time you can talk to my "agent."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ranch Studios, Alan Watts, 16color.com, Alan Watts, Austin Public Library, Wired for Youth, Michele Gorman, Beth Soloman, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, On War and Peace: Films About World Conflict, Hemispheres, News 8

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