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Film News

By Joe O'Connell, April 29, 2005, Screens

Austin Did It: Kyle Henry's Room has been selected for the Cannes Film Festival, this on the heels of a Sundance screening. And the former Rice University biology major blames it all on Richard Linklater and the Austin Film Society. "Slacker probably is why half the people came to the graduate film program at UT," he says, because it made true low-budget filmmaking seem realistic. Room was shot in 2003 in Austin, Houston, and New York with Cyndi Williams starring. Henry describes it as a "midlife crisis psychological thriller." The project rated not one, but two grants from the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, the second when Henry had run out of cash during editing (it's since been picked up by French company Celluloid Dreams, which financed conversion to 35mm). "What's special about Austin is the community of people to support you," Henry says. And you can support Room by attending a pre-Cannes screening at 1pm, Sunday, May 1, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Tickets are $12, $10 if you're an AFS member. By the way, also upcoming at Cannes are Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and Tommy Lee Jones' directing debut, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

Novices Need Apply: Expect a summer shoot for August Evening, the first feature from Chris Eska, a UCLA film grad whose short "Doki-Doki" showed on PBS's Independent Lens. Eska, who grew up near Gonzales, is actively seeking inexperienced actors to lend authenticity to his tale of an aging undocumented worker and his widowed daughter-in-law whose lives are thrown into upheaval. More info is at

Net Production: Call it independent film 21st-century style. The folks behind Everything in Between, which shoots in Austin and Katy in May, are Internet-savvy to the max. To raise their $60,000 budget, they took donated items and sold them on eBay. And their blog ( is a tale of hope and dreams. "It's an adventure. Something I'm terrified and thrilled by, and I'm focusing every day on being more thrilled than terrified," writes director Alyson Shelton of the shoot. "It's something I've dreamed about and now it's here, four days away. It's like Christmas times 100. It's like getting married for 30 days in a row."

Props From Our Homies: A blood-stained blouse Faye Dunaway wore in Bonnie and Clyde. Oil-drenched duds James Dean wore in Giant. The burlap-wrapped corpse from Lonesome Dove. Got your attention? Some 80 artifacts from Texas-shot films will be on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum starting July 9 as part of the "Texas Movies" exhibit.

And the Rest: Mike Judge's untitled comedy is shooting a few extra scenes this weekend that include a woman with dexterous tootsies capable of holding a knife and fork well enough to cut food. Revolver continues to film and is on the lookout for a newborn baby (vittles-cutting skills optional)… Two documentaries by Kirby Warnock are upcoming on PBS. Look for Border Bandits, which examines alleged killings of two Mexican-American men by Texas Rangers, to air May 16. Warnock's 1996 doc, Return to Giant, about the epic Texas film, gets another showing May 11… Scott Nyerges screens his short experimental video "Means and Meditations" this week as part of the narrative shorts competition at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The video, which won a Bettye Nowlin Award for Excellence in Student Filmmaking at Cinematexas in 2004, also screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands in January… Burt Reynolds as J.R. Ewing? Brad Pitt as his brother Bobby? Melanie Griffith as J.R.'s drunken wife Sue Ellen? How about Catherine Zeta-Jones as pretty Pam? That's the totally unconfirmed cast rumored to be on tap for the film version of TV's Dallas.

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