Burnt Orange to Tell 'Children's Story'

A tale of two 12-year-old runaways is the next project from Burnt Orange Productions, the for-profit film arm of the University of Texas Film Institute

Carolyn Pfeiffer
Carolyn Pfeiffer

A tale of two 12-year-old runaways is the next project from Burnt Orange Productions, the for-profit film arm of the University of Texas Film Institute. Location scouting and casting has begun for A West Texas Children's Story, which will shoot in Austin this June as a co-production with Mount Film Company. "It's a delightful script that came our way a few months ago," says Carolyn Pfeiffer, president of Burnt Orange. The story focuses on two kids who hitchhike across the country in 1962. The film, with a budget of about $2.5 million, comes with a big name attached: legendary producer Polly Platt, who helped Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson become household names with Bottle Rocket. Television writer Brad Isaacs penned the script and will make his directing debut. Academy Award-winner William Fraker (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) will serve as director of photography, and Don Phillips (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused) will handle casting. Dozens of UT interns and apprentices will work on the production.

Two other long-awaited Burnt Orange projects will likely launch this year, Pfeiffer says. Country musical Austin Angel is in "pre-pre-production," she says, very close to a green light following successful rewrites, and some casting is under way. Director Zalman King and co-writer Rod Harris were in town this week. The other project on the burner is Marfa Lights, which is likely to go before cameras in the fall. But don't look for big-budget blockbusters from Burnt Orange. "It's not the mission here to do big pictures," Pfeiffer says, "but to find really good scripts we can do economically, that are a good learning experience for students, and are truly independent films."

Meanwhile, the first Burnt Orange project, which has been renamed The Quiet from its original Dot, is in the last phases of editing, with Pfeiffer and Tom Schatz of the UT Film Institute traveling to Los Angeles next week for a progress report. Next up is the sound mix, which should be in place by April. The film has already generated interest from independent distributors both in the U.S. and abroad.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Burnt Orange Productions, UT Film Institute, West Texas Children's Story

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