Film News

The stars are out already – just look around; plus Guadalupe Arts Center groups regroup and more industry news you won't find anywhere else

True Confessions: If you thought you saw a movie star on the hike-and-bike trail this week, maybe you did. Filming began Monday on Every Word Is True, and the finally confirmed cast list promises rubbernecking nirvana. Sandra Bullock portrays Harper Lee to Toby Jones' Truman Capote in the biopic about Capote's research for the true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. Then there's the rest: Jeff Daniels, Sigourney Weaver, Peter Bogdanovich, Gwyneth Paltrow, and (gulp!) Isabella Rossellini. Filming is to take place in Austin, Elgin, Taylor, and Marlin.

Still Smoking: Film community folk victimized by the Guadalupe Arts Center fire are pulling it together. Sherry Mills of Reel Women reports the group is "rising from the ashes" and following Steve Mims of Austin Filmworks and Kevin Smith and Mike Nicholson of Picture Box Productions to new East Austin digs in the Bread Factory on Tillery in March. Best way to support them? Become a member or volunteer some time. Or come to Reel Women and Austin Film Society showcases at the Hideout during South by Southwest, as all receipts will go to Reel Women. More at Meanwhile, Tim McClure of Mythos Studios reports that 90% of the 300 or so hours of footage shot for the slam poetry documentary Slam Channel is expected to be recoverable from smoke damage. Congrats to Mike Henry and Kyle Fuller, the unstoppable forces behind the film in the making. McClure says the guys still have their eyes on premiering at the Toronto Film Festival.

Get a "Rope": Filming is under way locally on the low-budget thriller For Sale by Owner, for which director Pritesh "Raj" Chheda counts Alfred Hitchcock's Rope to be a major influence. Chheda, who grew up in Bombay and alighted in Austin in the mid-Nineties, is a trained engineer but admits to a 20-year passion with filmmaking. Speaking on his one day off from 12-hour shoots through Feb. 20, Chheda promises the film, which aims for a film festival future, will deliver the three E's: "emotion, entertainment, and enlightenment." He's bolstered by a strong crew, including director of photography Jay P. Lipa.

Get Shorties: The Austin Music Network's student-produced series AMN Student Filmmakers Showcase celebrates one year of showcasing local and national student films by showing a lot of (surprise) student films and interviews with local filmmakers. As many as they can pack in between 8 and 11pm, Sunday, Feb. 20. Find it on Channel 15 on your Time Warner Cable dial, and Channel 24 on Grande Communications.

Even Shorter Subjects: Gary Walker's TexFX just completed 19 visual effects for the Houston-shot independent horror feature Mr. Hell, which was directed by Rob McKinnon, produced by Jolene McMaster, and features Edwin Neal, the hitchhiker from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre... The city of Austin has a new Web site aimed at making the permit process easier for filmmakers. See it at The FX network is shooting the mockumentary Oil Storm in San Antonio... Producer Bruce Gilbert (Jack the Bear, On Golden Pond, 9 to 5) has optioned Shiner resident Jim Mangum's first novel Dead and Dying Angels after being turned on to an advance reader's copy of the book. Mangum is a former sky marshal and Treasury Department investigator whose spooky work has drawn comparisons to Faulkner and Vonnegut... Austin's John McLean will chronicle production of his independent zombie musical Z in a column at, the Web site that began as fiction in Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, then became fact.

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Every Word Is True, Guadalupe Arts Center, For Sale by Owner, Pritesh "Raj" Chheda, Jim Mangum, Mr. Hell, Bruce Gilbert, Dead and Dying Angelss, John McClean, Z

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