Short Cuts

We're No. 1. But we knew that.

Well, Duh Dept.: It may qualify as big news, but it comes as something less than a shock (more of a tingle) to local filmmakers: Austin has been named the single best place in the United States to live and make movies by that bastion of all things cinematic, MovieMaker magazine. James L. Menzies' article on the "Top 10 Cities for Moviemakers" in the current issue lists Austin as No. 1, up from No. 4 last year, and well ahead of such notoriously crappy film burgs as New York City (No. 2), Los Angeles (No. 7), and (suckers!) Houston (No. 10). Says Menzies, "If it's not careful, Austin may wake up one day to discover it's become the new mecca of American moviemaking. Or has that day already arrived?" We have news for you, James: It has already arrived, we're aware of it, and please, people, stop asking me if you can "borrow" my XL1S. (Mounting it on the bumper of our car without taking into account the possibility of lens-shattering road detritus was a bad idea, I'll admit, but wasn't that what George Miller did for the opening of The Road Warrior? Apparently not.) Menzies goes on to quote Austin Film Office director Gary Bond, local producer/director Damon Chang, and producer/director/editor/babe-magnet Mel Rodriguez, although Chang's claim that a local filmmaker can live here for "about $800 a month" including "rent, food, and expenses" sounds suspiciously like someone whose dog doesn't eat his new trainers on a weekly basis and then demand more, better kibble. But perhaps that's just us. Regarding bottom-lister Houston, Menzies says, "It may be only a matter of time until Houston is not just complementing its Texas sister, but rivaling it." Yeah, right. And Sony 24P HDW F900s might fly out of our butts. Check out the whole article at www.moviemaker.com/issues/53/top10.html ... Just a reminder: SXSW 2004 needs volunteers like you wouldn't believe. To that end, they're holding two meetings, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2-5:30pm, and Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6-9:30pm, at the new Hilton Hotel Downtown, 500 E. Fourth. It's a great way to help out your favorite Fest and, um, get into things for free. Like the Kama Sutra, all positions are available, but the sexy ones go first, so get thee to the Hilton, and take along your DV footage of Paris to annoy the staff and amuse your new friends. More info at www.sxsw.com/volunteer.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

MovieMaker magazine, James L. Menzies, Gary Bond, Damon Chang, Mel Rodriguez, SXSW 2004

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