Once Upon a Time in Austin

The films, the filmmakers, the crews, the making of a scene

Film's local economic impact has been in the hundreds of millions of dollars during the past three years, which doesn't detail the range of projects and consistent aesthetic success of so much local filmmaking. But rather than tell you about Austin's extraordinarily unique film scene, we decided to show you at least some of it. In "Page Two," there's more background and detail as to our thinking. What follows, then, are many lists of films, filmmakers, crew members, and resources. This is not even an adequate introduction. The filmographies are selective (rarely complete); credits for films are woefully incomplete; the crew descriptions and members cited make up barely the tip of the talent iceberg. Too many filmmakers, organizations, and resources are left out, as are UT and ACC faculty. The aim is to eventually get all of this online and then to update it. The emphasis is on film, but some TV is also covered.

Meanwhile, take this as an introduction, a hint as to what is going on. And see Page Two for more.

Austin Film Studios during Cheer Up

Films Shot at Austin Studios:

Austin Studios at the old Mueller Airport is a unique collaboration between the city of Austin and the Austin Film Society. There are currently five hangars for film activities, an office building to headquarter productions, and two long T-hangars where film-support businesses are located. (P: producer, D: director, S: screenwriter)

May-July 2000: Miss Congeniality (Castle Rock Entertainment)
D: Donald Petrie; S: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford; with Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen

October 2000-January 2001: The New Guy (Revolution Studios)
D: Edward Decter; S: David Kendall; with D.J. Qualls, Lyle Lovett, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel

January-March 2001: Lone Star State of Mind (Bedford Falls Productions)
P: Marshal Herskovitz, Richard Solomon, Edward Zwick; D: David Semel; S: Trevor Munson; with Joshua Jackson, Jaime King, John Mellencamp, D.J. Qualls

February-June 2001: The Rookie (Walt Disney Pictures)
P: Mark Johnson; D: John Lee Hancock; S: Mike Rich; with Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths

March-May 2001: Master of the Game (Priles Entertainment)
P: Dirk Higdon, Jeff Stolhand, Uygar Aktan; D: Jeff Stolhand; S: Jeff Stolhand, Uygar Aktan; with Uygar Aktan, Garry Peters, Alex Affolter

May-August 2001: Alas, Poor Yorick (Fool's Guild Productions)
P: Michael Dalmon; D/S: Johnny Stranger; with Michael Dalmon, Benjamin Pascoe

July 2001-February 2002: The Life of David Gale (Universal Pictures)
D: Alan Parker; S: Charles Randolph; with Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney

May 2002: Dioskilos (Mechalopolis)
D/S: Jason Bounds

May-September 2002: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (New Line Cinema)
P: Michael Bay; D: Marcus Nispel; S: Scott Kosar; with Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, R. Lee Ermey

June-September 2002: Screen Door Jesus (FCM Productions)
P: Elzbieta Szoka, Joe Bratcher III; D: Kirk Davis; with an ensemble cast

July 2002: 25th Hour (Texas scenes) (Touchstone Pictures)
D: Spike Lee; S: David Benioff; with Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin

August-December 2002: Secondhand Lions (New Line Cinema)
P: David Kirschner; D/S: Tim McCanlies; with Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Haley Joel Osment, Kyra Sedgwick

August 2002-April 2003: Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (Dimension Films)
P: Elizabeth Avellán; D/S: Robert Rodriguez; with Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Carla Cugino

July-November 2003: The Wendell Baker Story (Franchise Pictures)
P: Mark Johnson; D: Luke Wilson, Andrew Wilson; S: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson; with Luke Wilson, Harry Dean Stanton, Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes

August 2003-January 2004: Cheer Up (Revolution Studios)
P: Marty P. Ewing, Tommy Lee Jones; D: Stephen Herek; with Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Archer, Kelli Garner, Shannon Marie Woodward

February-April 2004: Friday Night Lights (Universal Pictures)
P: Brian Grazer; D/S: Peter Berg (based on the book by H.G. Bissinger); with Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Tim McGraw

Other Films Shot in Austin: 2000-Present

2000: Spy Kids (Dimension Films)
P: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Elizabeth Avellán, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Scott; D/S: Robert Rodriguez; with Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub

2000: American Outlaws (Morgan Creek)
D: Les Mayfield; S: Roderick Taylor, John Rogers; with Colin Farrell, Kathy Bates, Timothy Dalton

2001: Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (Dimension Films)
P: Elizabeth Avellán, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Scott; D/S: Robert Rodriguez; with Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Mike Judge, Steve Buscemi

2002: 30 Odd Foot of Grunts: Texas (Blow the Line Productions)
P: Russell Crowe, Brett Leonard; D: Circumstance, Russell Crowe; with 30 Odd Foot of Grunts

2002: Texas: The Big Picture (GSD&M)
P: Tim McClure; D: Scott Swofford

2003: The Ringer (20th Century Fox)
P: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly; D: Barry W. Blaustein; S: Ricky Blitt; with Johnny Knoxville, Lauren-Elaine Edleson

2003: The Alamo (Touchstone Pictures)
P: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Mark Johnson; D: John Lee Hancock; S: Leslie Bohem, Stephen Gaghan, John Lee Hancock; with Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric

Equipment and Services on Site at Austin Studios

Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment Inc.: camera cranes, arms, bases, dollies, pedestal and remote camera systems

Cinevision Video: video services, including digital video assist, 24-frame playback, and visual effects

Film Fleet: trucks and trailers, generators, and fuel trucks

Gear: lighting/grip trucks, film/video cameras, lights, generators, and the like

Great FX: wide range of special effects equipment

Independent Fabricators: customizes props

Locations Catering: on-site catering

Longhorn Car-Truck Rentals Inc.: wardrobe, star, and camera trailers

McTrucks Studio Rentals: honeywagons

Miscellaneous Rentals: a supply rental house

The Relic Source: period Western props, set dressing, and architectural antiques

The Directors

Hometown Heroes

Mike Judge
Beavis and Butt-head (TV, 1993); Beavis and Butt-head Do America (1996); King of the Hill (TV, 1997); Office Space (1999); 3001 (preproduction, 2004)

Richard Linklater
Slacker (1991); Dazed and Confused (1993); Before Sunrise (1995); SubUrbia (1996); The Newton Boys (1998); Waking Life (2001); Tape (2001); Live From Shiva's Dance Floor (2003); The School of Rock (2003); Before Sunset (2004); $5.15/Hr. (HBO pilot, 2004)

Tim McCanlies
D/S: Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998); Secondhand Lions (2003) S: The Iron Giant (1999)

Robert Rodriguez
Multihypenate, always director, often producer, writer, etc.: El Mariachi (1992); Roadracers (1994); Desperado (1995); From Dusk Till Dawn (1996); The Faculty (1998); Spy Kids (2001); Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002); Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003); Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003); The Princess of Mars (pre-production)

True Texas Maverick

Terrence Malick
Badlands (1973); Days of Heaven (1978); The Thin Red Line (1998)

Working Filmmakers – the Next Generation

Arbitrary list including documentary, narrative, and animated directors and producers of features and shorts

Laura Dunn
(Doc.) Green (2001); Become the Sky (2002)

Kyle Henry
(Doc.) American Cowboy (1997); University, Inc. (1999); Room (2003)

P. Dirk Higdon
P: Midsummer (1999); Bullfighter (2000); On the Borderline (2001); Master of the Game (2002); M.O. of M.I. (2002); Drop Dead Sexy (preproduction, 2004)

Andrew Garrison
"Fat Monroe" (short, 1990); The Wilgus Stories (2000)

Alex Holdridge
Wrong Numbers (2001); Sexless (2003)

Steve Mims
(Austin FilmWorks) "Aunt Hallie" (short, 1990); "Horror Hayride" (short, 1992); Corn Flicks (1992); The Perfect Specimen (1999)

Tommy Pallotta
P: High Road (1996); "Roadhead" (short, 1999); "Snack and Drink" (short, 1999); "Figures of Speech" (short, 2000); Waking Life (2001); Hell House (2001)

Bob Ray
Rock Opera (1999); "Six in Austin: Wrecked" (short, 2002); Hell on Wheels (with Werner Campbell, in production, 2004)

Bob Sabiston
(Animator, innovator) "Beat Dedication" (short, 1988); "Grinning Evil Death" (short, 1990); "Roadhead" (short, 1999); "Snack and Drink" (short, 1999); "Figures of Speech" (short, 2000); "Grasshopper" (short, 2004)

Cauleen Smith
Daily Rains (1990); "Chronicles of a Lying Spirit (by Kelly Gabron)" (short, 1992); Drylongso (1999)

Jacob Vaughan, Bryan Poyser
Dear Pillow (2004)

Diane Zander
(Doc.) Girl Wrestler (2003)


UT Film Initiative and Burnt Orange Productions
Innovative program to produce commercial films

Harry Knowles
Ain't It Cool News guru having conquered the Internet has now taken aim at Hollywood as he signs on to originate and produce studio films.


Legendary Pioneers

When most screenwriters still lived in L.A., Austin was home to two Renaissance talents: Shrake is also a novelist, biographer, and sports reporter; Witliff is a photographer, publisher, curator, and collector.

Edwin "Bud" Shrake
J.W. Coop (1972); Kid Blue (1973); Nightwing (1979); Tom Horn (1980); Songwriter (1984); Pair of Aces (TV, 1990)

William "Bill" Witliff
The Black Stallion (1979); Honeysuckle Rose (1980); Raggedy Man (1981); Barbarosa (1982); Country (1984); Red Headed Stranger (also director, 1986); Lonesome Dove (TV, 1989); Legends of the Fall (1994); The Perfect Storm (2000)

Working Writers
Bird is a novelist, Wright is a journalist, Broyles is no longer living here, Harrigan writes for cable, and Rapp is set to direct.

Sarah Bird
Don't Tell Her It's Me (based on her novel The Boyfriend School, 1990); Hawkeye (TV, 1994); Yesterday's Children (2000)

William Broyles Jr.
China Beach (TV, creator, 1988); Apollo 13 (1995); Entrapment (1999); Cast Away (2000); Unfaithful (2002); The Polar Express (postproduction 2004)

Stephen Harrigan
The Last of His Tribe (TV, 1992); The O.J. Simpson Story (TV, 1995); Cleopatra (TV, 1999); Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (TV, 2000); Take Me Home: The John Denver Story (TV, 2000); King of Texas (TV, 2002)

Anne Rapp
Gun (TV, 1997); Cookie's Fortune (1999); Dr. T & the Women (2000)

Lawrence Wright
The Siege (1998); Noriega: God's Favorite (TV, 2000)

Documentary Filmmakers

Galán has been making important TV political documentaries for more than two decades. A documentary scene was emerging, but accelerated when Stekler arrived at UT. Most teach at UT.

The Mainstay

Hector Galán
The End of the Race (1981); Vaquero: The Forgotten Cowboy (1988); The Hunt for Pancho Villa (1993); Songs of the Homeland (1995); Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement (four-part series, 1996); The Border (six-part series, 1999); The Forgotten Americans (2000); Accordion Dreams (2001)

The Teachers

Paul Stekler
Eyes on the Prize II (TV, 1990); Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics (1992); Last Stand at Little Bighorn (1992); Vote for Me: Politics in America (1996); George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire (2000); Last Man Standing (2004)

Ellen Spiro
"DiAna's Hair Ego" (short, 1990); "(In)Visible Women" (short, 1991); Greetings From Out Here (1993); Roam Sweet Home (1997); Atomic Ed & the Black Hole (2002)

Don Howard
Letter From Waco (1997); Nuclear Family (2003)

Richard Lewis
Born Wild: The Exotic Animal Pet Trade (1992); "Snow Monkeys of Texas" (short, 1997); "Chimp Rescue" (short, 1998); Reading Rockets (2002)

Anne Lewis
On Our Own Land (1988); "Fast Food Women" (1991); Justice in the Coalfields (1995); "Evelyn Williams" (short, 1995); Rough Side of the Mountain (1997); To Save the Land and People (1999); Shelter (2003)

Nancy Schiesari
Green Flutes (1984); Martin Scorsese: History Man (2003); Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer (2003)

Friend of the Family

Karen Bernstein
(Producer) Lena Horne: In Her Own Words (TV, 1996); Jack Paar: "As I Was Saying ..." (TV, 1997); Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart (TV, 1998); Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (TV, 1999); Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (TV, 2000); Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows (TV, 2000)


Wes Anderson: Bottle Rocket (1996); Rushmore (1998); The Royal Tenenbaums (2001); The Life Aquatic (2004)

Stephen Herek: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989); The Mighty Ducks (1992); Mr. Holland's Opus (1995); Rock Star (2001); Cheer Up (2004)

Tobe Hooper: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974); Salem's Lot (TV, 1979); Poltergeist (1982); Taken (TV, 2002); The Toolbox Murders (2003); Brew (2004)

Daniel Pearl, cinematographer: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974); Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Kevin Reynolds: Fandango (1985); Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); Waterworld (1995); The Count of Monte Cristo (2002); Tristan & Isolde (postproduction, 2004)

Thomas Shlamme, producer and director: TV includes The West Wing, Sports Night, Ally McBeal, ER; films: Miss Firecracker (1989); So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Secret Weapons

Richard and Laura Kooris: Helped found 501 Studios, lived through and worked with three generations of Austin filmmakers. Richard is a producer and cinematographer on Drop Dead Sexy.

The Teamsters: In most places citing them would be just yielding to political pressure, but here it's a heartfelt endorsement. They work beautifully with productions, making magic happen. Kudos to Phil Schriber, Cecil Evans, and Greg Fawcett, the area's extraordinary main coordinators.

Texas Film Commission: Serving all of Texas, TFC is an unmatchable resource in so many areas and on so many issues.

IA local 484: The union is dedicated to its members and to filmmaking.

ACC workforce: Austin Community College is working with the Austin Film Society to create a film-job training program that will include course work, technical workshops, and apprenticeships.

Film Crews: The Foundation

The depth of talent in Austin's film crew community not only can support three productions, but also are some of the best in the business at what they do.

Art Department

The production designer is responsible for the film's overall look, the art director supervises set building, and the set decorator is responsible for every item used.

Cary White, production designer: Red Headed Stranger (1986); Lonesome Dove (TV, 1989); Selena (1997); The Faculty (1998); Bullfighter (2000); Spy Kids (2001); American Outlaws (2001); Freaky Friday (2003); Mean Girls (2004)

John Frick, art director: Waiting for Guffman (1996); The Newton Boys (1998); American Outlaws (2001); Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002); The Ringer (2004)

Jeanette Scott, set designer: Spy Kids (2001); Beyond the Prairie, Part 2: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (TV, 2002); Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002); Cheer Up (postproduction, 2004)

Randy Hulke, set designer: Picnic (TV, 2000); Miss Congeniality (2000); When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (2003); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003); The Ringer (assistant set decorator, 2004)

Also John Huke, Brian Cross, Christopher Stull, Kevin Wier; property masters Stanford S. Gilbert, Byron Scott Thomas; set decorators Carla Curry, E. Colleen Saro, Terri Wright

Location Manager

Finding locations, making deals, and managing sites

Eric Williams: The Newton Boys (1998); The Faculty (1998); Spy Kids (2001); The New Guy (2002); Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002); The Alamo (2004)

Drew Dillard: Mickey Blue Eyes (1999); Sweet and Lowdown (1999); Small Time Crooks (2000); Miss Congeniality (2000); The Life of David Gale (2003)

Also Robbie Friedmann, James Crowley, K.J. Kiernan, Marcel Meyer, John Patterson

Line Producer/Production Manager

Has the hands-on job of watching the budget and supervising the crew

Alma Kuttruff: Miller's Crossing (1990); Dazed and Confused (1993); Coyote Ugly (2000); The Life of David Gale (2003); The Cat in the Hat (2003)

Bill Scott: The Newton Boys (1998); The Faculty (1998); Spy Kids (2001); Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002); Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)

Also (major projects) Joe Dishner, Rich Chapla; (low-budget projects) Susan Kirr, Dirk Higdon, Dominic Cancilla


On Hollywood productions they usually handle regional casting; on local productions they do it all.

Jo Edna Boldin: Screen Door Jesus (2002); The Missing (New Mexico, 2003); The Alamo (2003); Cheer Up (2004); The Wendell Baker Story (2004); The Ringer (2004)

Beth Sepko: The Rookie (2002); Levelland (2002); The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2002); America Brown (2004); Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003); $5.15/Hr. (HBO pilot, 2004)

Also Gary Chason, Amy Grappell, Liz and Sari Keigley, Donise Hardy

In more specialized areas Austin also has deep strength; here are just three:

Lee Daniel, cinematographer: Never Leave Nevada (1990); Slacker (1991); Rift (1993); Dazed and Confused (1993); The Making of "... and God Spoke" (1993); Before Sunrise (1995); SubUrbia (1996); I Remember Me (2001); Before Sunset (2004)

Sandra Adair, editor: Dazed and Confused (1993); Before Sunrise (1995); SubUrbia (1996); The Newton Boys (1998); Waking Life (2001); Tape (2001); Rolling Kansas (2003); Sexless (2003); The School of Rock (2003); Before Sunset (2004); $5.15/Hr. (HBO pilot, 2004)

Wayne Bell, sound: Red Headed Stranger (1986); For All Mankind (1989); Before Sunrise (1995); Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998); George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire (2000); Waking Life (2001); A Land Called Texas (2003)

The Dearly Departed

Eagle Pennell
When starting Sundance, Robert Redford specifically cited Pennell as the kind of filmmaker it would serve.
The Whole Shootin' Match (1978), Last Night at the Alamo (1984), Ice House (1989), City Life (1990), Doc's Full Service (1994)

Warren Skarran
Founding Texas Film Commisioner, titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Screenwriter: Fire With Fire (1986); Top Gun (worked on script, but only credited as associate producer, 1986); Beverly Hills Cop II (1987); Beetlejuice (1988); Batman (1989)

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