Film News

Big 'Lights,' small screen; the Pod squad; and congrats and condolences

Take Me to the Pilot

Peter Berg's TV pilot Friday Night Lights is set to shoot in Austin in February, according to casting lists. The show is based on Berg's film of the same name, which is based on H.G. Bissinger's book of the same name about Odessa Permian gridiron stars. Meanwhile, an untitled CBS drama pilot set in Austin also seems promising. From gritty writer Jorge Zamacona (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, and Third Watch) the story is said to follow a Latina lawyer and her ex-football-star/bubba husband-turned-investigator.

Turk's Prize Film

Nobelity, a documentary from Austin's own Turk Pipkin, has been picked up for distribution by Craig Baumgarten's FFM Media for a limited theatrical release centered around Earth Day weekend, April 22-23. Pipkin hopes to have 1,000 screenings that weekend in conjunction with nonprofit groups including Amnesty International and the Unitarian Church. A DVD release is set after that through Monterey Media. The film is made up of interviews with Nobel Prize winners, including Bishop Desmond Tutu and nuclear disarmament activist Joseph Rotblat about finding solutions to global problems including poverty and threats to the environment. "The purpose of the movie is to get a lot of people from across the political spectrums to talk about these things without their political agendas getting in the way," Pipkin says. "I want a lot of people to see this. Certainly we can't trust business and government to solve our problems. There's never been a time when individuals had the opportunity to make such a difference."

Pod People

Time to finally upgrade to a video iPod. The Student Filmmakers' Showcase, aka SFS TV, has its first official vodcast on Jan. 30. For more, see "TV Eye," p.49. Meanwhile, shorts by four students from Steve Mims' Austin Film Works classes are available for download to your desktop or iPod at They include the cockroach comedy "Le Cafard" from Melissa Salpietra, hobo doc "Waiting for Spiderman" from Sarah Ware, Austin High senior Elizabeth Mims' look at aging in "Weathered," and the self-explanatory "Weird Beard" from Michelle Pineau.

And the Rest

A sad farewell to one of the coolest DVD rental spots in town, Pedazo Chunk, which closed its doors this past weekend after a great four-year run. It will be missed. If you find yourself on South First, you might want to stop by and see what you can find amid its clearance sale... Harry Knowles reports 2gether 4ever, the horror film he is producing along with Clive Barker, will likely shoot in late March or early April in either Austin or Shreveport... Probably making a filming stop in Austin is road movie Chasing 3000, starring Ray Liotta. It follows two brothers in 1972 as they travel cross-country to see Roberto Clemente get hit number 3,000 for the Pittsburg Pirates... DVDs of Kat Candler's cicadas are available for $25 at, with proceeds going to finish jumping off bridges in time for its SXSW premiere. Congrats, Kat!... John Bryant's dark comedy "Oh My God" is entered in the Web's only film festival as sponsored by Moviefone. Check it out at He used to wait tables at Hickory Street; now, former Austinite Alex Pesquera has a Style Network reality show, Try My Life, that, à la Freaky Friday, has parents and their teens stepping into each other's shoes. Check it out Wednesdays at 9pm... Volunteers are needed for SXSW Film 06, which, as mentioned last week, opens with the North American premiere of Robert Altman's Prairie Home Companion on March 10 and runs through March 18. Also on the slate are Texas-shot The King and the world premiere of Ron Mann's Tales of the Rat Fink. To join in the SXSW fun, fill out an application at

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Nobelity, Turk Pipkin, Friday Night Lights pilot tv, Peter Berg, Melissa Salpietra, Sarah Ware, Elizabeth Mims, Michelle Pineau, Steve Mims, Austin Film Works, Try My Life, Alex Pesquera, Chasing 3000, Kat Candler, John Bryant, Harry Knowles, Pedazo Chunk

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