Film News

Word from the Independent Spirit Awards and Sundance fronts; plus, 'No Pain, No Gain,' Bobby Cannavale, and 'Light From the East'

Kyle Henry and Cyndi Williams in Cannes
Kyle Henry and Cyndi Williams in Cannes

Independent Spirits and Sundance Dreams

Bravo's Independent Spirit Award nominations are going to Kyle Henry's Room in a big way, notably with a Best First Feature nod and a shot at Best Female Lead for Austin stage actor Cyndi Williams. The awards will be announced in February. The news is not so good elsewhere: The Sundance Film Festival passed on Austin-shot films The Cassidy Kids by Bryan Poyser and Jacob Vaughan, as well as Kat Candler's jumping off bridges and Rowdy Stovall's Mexican Sunrise. The bridges crew was also awaiting word from Slamdance at press time, and Candler is having a benefit screening of her first film, cicadas, at 1pm on Saturday at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar to help fund post-production on bridges. Congrats to Michael Cain (no, not the actor) of Dallas, whose TV Junkie was selected for the documentary competition. The film has been compared to Tarnation for its use of extensive home movies to tell a personal story of a media-obsessed guy.

Gridiron Gods

Peter Berg was back in town recently to shoot some sample footage for his Friday Night Lights television pilot. It's the latest promising sign that the pilot, like the film that spawned it, will shoot in Austin. Berg rode on the bus with Westlake High players en route to their bi-district loss to Pflugerville, said Lisa Schlimgen, athletic facilities and events coordinator for the school. She held out hope that Westlake would play a role in the pilot, saying Berg "has a pretty tight bond with certain folks here." Meanwhile, the football film Freedom for Joe recently scouted Austin.

Caine, Adrian, and the Hedgehog

I told you last time that David Carradine is starring in Burnt Orange's caveman comedy Homo Erectus, but now comes word that Talia Shire is onboard the Adam Rifkin project. Oh, and the film's title takes on a new meaning with the further addition of porn legend Ron Jeremy to the cast.

Pumping Up

In an interesting marketing move, Austin-shot No Pain, No Gain will premiere Saturday at more than 250 theatres in 70 cities for one showing only. That includes four Austin theaters all playing the film at 3pm. Sam Turcotte wrote (along with Austin mystery novelist Darryl Wimberley), directed, and produced the film he claims to be the first about the world of bodybuilding since 1977's Pumping Iron introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger to the film-viewing world. Advance ticket buyers are eligible to win more than $25,000 in prizes. More at

And the Rest

Bobby Cannavale, who played the food-cart operator in The Station Agent, is fittingly starring in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation adaptation, which is quietly filming locally... Austin director Amy Grappell's documentary Light From the East is part of Documentary Festival Amsterdam's Docs for Sale program, which helps to get a few good docs out in the marketplace. Light is about an American theatre troupe visiting Ukraine in 1991 during the fall of communism... Jesse Sublett, Austin rocker/writer (and occasional Chronicle contributor), is pleased to see that National Lampoon's syndicated courtroom show Eye for an Eye has popped up on Austin's UPN station. Sublett is a writer, er, consultant, for the Dallas-shot twisted reality show... How could I fail to mention that The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which explores one of Austin's odd musical treasures, and Murderball, whose principal subject is Austin quad rugby player Mark Zupan, made the 15-film short list for a documentary Oscar nomination? Shame on me... The deadline to get your film into South by Southwest Film 06 is Saturday. Find the application at

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Room, Cyndi Williams, Sundance Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, The Cassidy Kids, jumping off bridges, Michael Cain, TV Junkie, No Pain, No Gain

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