Film News

Here a Studio, There a Studio

Austin Studios celebrated its sixth anniversary last weekend with a party touting a city of Austin bond proposal that would provide $5 million for full soundproofing and air conditioning for two of its five stages, improved security and safety, and state-of-the-art digital infrastructure. The Austin Film Society, including founder Richard Linklater, launched the I'm for 4 campaign by noting the more than $650 million brought into the Austin economy by movies shot at the former Mueller airport site.

Meanwhile, a new studio in Kyle is gearing up for its first film. Look for The Lights, a horror film with comedic elements, to christen David Cuddy's Ranch Studios in Kyle when it starts filming next month. Joe Estevez and Kerry Wallum star in the tale of a man who is jilted by his wife and moves to the country where strange lights cause him to flip out. A car containing some lovely college kids breaks down nearby and bloodshed ensues.

The script is from Bonnie Orr, who also manages the new studio. "What's exciting for me is working with someone who has a vision of a complete studio," says Orr of Cuddy. "He's spending his own money to set it up. He just wants to tell good stories and have fun doing it." John Sjogren is directing The Lights, and Orr said some cast, including those crazy college kids, are still being sought. Drop her a line and a photo to

Hands on an Altman Film

Austin writer Stephen Harrigan has the fun task of turning the documentary Hands on a Hardbody into a feature script for none other than ensemble-flick god Robert Altman. S.R. Bindler's original 1997 doc highlighted the 1995 Longview contest in which contestants vied for a free vehicle as the last one to take a hand off of it. Harrigan said a spring shoot is likely, but the story won't match up with the doc. "We don't know where it will be shot yet, or who will be in it, but Altman should have no trouble getting it cast, since everybody wants to work with him," Harrigan says. The actual contest came to a screeching halt last year when a contestant dropped out of the event, went across the street to a Kmart, broke a window, took a gun and fatally shot himself.

Doc's on a Satellite Radio, Radio

Andrew Shapter has pulled off another coup for his documentary of the music industry, Before the Music Dies. The movie is becoming a satellite radio channel on XM starting next month. The movie itself will be broadcast and filmmakers will be introducing their favorite artists to the world with full creative freedom, which, ahem, is the whole idea. Joe-O sez check it out.

And the Rest ...

If you see this on Thursday, run to Texas Hillel, 2105 San Antonio, for a 7:30pm free screening of Deepa Mehta's Water in advance of the Austin Jewish Book Fair. Salman Rushdie called the acting "intimate, painful, wounded, jaundiced, corrupted, tender, tough"... Duane Graves' uplifting documentary Up Syndrome took the grand prize at Kevin Smith's Movies Askew fest last month. The prize includes the opportunity to work on Smith's next project, a horror flick. Graves also showed his project with Justin Meeks, Rio Peligroso, at the fest... Severance, Troy Anthony Miller's fun, noirish, Austin-shot comedy that got a strong reception at the South by Southwest Film 06, was recently named a finalist for the grand prize at the American Artist Film Festival... Bennie Klain and Kristina Mann took their work-in-progress doc Weaving Worlds to the Independent Feature Project Market recently. The film looks at the deep stories of Navajo weavers... Foster Davis writes that he has taken the role original cast with Lew Temple in South Austin Pictures' God Thinks You're a Loser. Foster is back in Austin from NYC where he's been dipping deep into the theatre scene.

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