Film News

Touchdown! Cue the band and fireworks or whatever; plus, all 'Quiet' on the Burnt Orange front, and more

'Lights' turns on to Austin

Yes, the NBC television series Friday Night Lights will shoot in Austin. Look for an initial 12 episodes to lens beginning in July with Peter Berg at the helm and Kyle Chandler (Early Edition) starring as the football coach. After an early scare that the series might light out for one of the many states offering filming incentives, a strong Austin crew appears to have sealed the deal, says Bob Hudgins, head of the Texas Film Commission. It didn't hurt that the pilot episode finished taping two days ahead of schedule. Speaking of filming incentives, don't forget the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, largely aimed at creating such a program in Texas, is expected to name a board when it meets at 1pm, June 16, at the Capitol. An Austin organizing meeting drew about 80 people last week. More at

Burnt Orange's first film finally flickers

The Quiet, the very first film from University of Texas at Austin film arm Burnt Orange Productions, has been picked up by Sony Classics for an August 25 premiere in New York City and Los Angeles. Look for a quiet summer for Burnt Orange with no new filming planned, says Carolyn Pfeiffer. Instead, the offices are busy as a shooting locale for Rene Pinnell's MTV sketch comedy pilot Meet the Bulldogs. Yes, Rene is indeed the nephew of the late, great Eagle Pennell, who changed the spelling of the family name for the credits of such legendary indie films as Last Night at the Alamo.

Richard Linklater, Chet Baker, Boromir, and "Dear Pillow' walk into a bar ...

Lord of the Rings geeks, prepare to freak. Boromir, aka Sean Bean, has been tapped as The Hitcher's serial killer portrayed originally by Rutger Hauer. Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) is also cast in the Platinum Dunes remake shooting in Austin... Richard Linklater, at the Cannes Film Festival, where his A Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation screened, said he's mulling Chesney, a day-in-the-life pic about jazz singer Chet Baker, according to Cinema Daily. The flick would have to compete with two others already in the works about Baker... Brian Poyser wants to make short film "Best Birthday Ever" starring Rusty Kelley, of Poyser's provocative Dear Pillow, and Joe Swanberg, director of SXSW hits Kissing on the Mouth and LOL. Want to help? Attend a benefit double bill of Dear Pillow and Kissing on the Mouth at 6:30pm, June 15, at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. Did I mention your $15 ticket includes a chance at a raffle for SXSW Film Festival and Austin Film Festival badges?

And the rest ...

Former Austinite Joe Conway (Undertow) is on a screenwriting streak. His Paradise, Texas – with set decoration by James Fowler of Austin – took gold at Houston's recent Worldfest. Next up is Pool Boy, an adaptation of the Michael Simmons novel about a rich kid gone broke, which is slated to shoot in September. And Conway has penned another script, The Other Side, for Anonymous Content... Gary Walker's TexFX is doing green-screen work for a soon-to-be-announced Barry Levinson film starring Robin Williams. And he's doing it all from Austin... Andrew Shapter's music industry doc Before the Music Dies will have a 28-city rock-&-roll-style tour in July sponsored by MySpace. A wide release is slated for August shortly after the soundtrack comes out... It's not too late to sign up for the Austin Film Festival's Cinema/Television Summer Camp for ages 9-17, which starts Monday on the UT campus with a dazzling array of courses. More at UT student Alan Lampert's video "Capital Punishment" is a semifinalist in the Film Your Issue competition, and can be seen at

The submission deadline for the third SXSWclick – "a year-round initiative to showcase short-form storytelling via the Internet and mobile devices" – is Monday, June 12. For more information, see

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Friday Night Lights, Dear Pillow, Kissing on the Mouth, Texas Motion Picture Alliance, The Quiet, Rene Pinnell, Joe Conway, Gary Walker, Andrew Shapter

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