The Austin Chronicle

Film News

By Joe O'Connell, June 29, 2007, Screens

A tale of cavemen, Mexican food, and Girl Scouts

A caveman, a Girl Scout, and Jonathan Demme walk into Las Manitas. Sounds like a tasty three-dot Tex-Mex trio is about to be plopped on your table… Homo Erectus, Adam Rifkin's caveman comedy from University of Texas at Austin film arm Burnt Orange Productions, is now National Lampoon's Homo Erectus with a planned release date of September. The film's title already sounds like a pledge's nickname from Animal House… Demme plans to shoot a doc that includes scenes of Alejandro Escovedo performing at the soon-to-be-relocated Las Manitas restaurant on Congress. That's according to Washington Post film writer Ann Hornaday, who used to write for some Austin-based rag. Oh, she also says some guy named Louis Black is penning a book about Demme… Congrats to doc makers Ellen Spiro and Karen Bernstein, who are back from New York City with prestigious Gracie Awards for their thought-provoking film Troop 1500, about a Girl Scout troop at a women's prison in Gatesville. They claimed the best documentary award, and Spiro was recognized for outstanding achievement as director… Steve Romano of Austin is said to have joined Don Coscarelli in penning a Bubba Ho-Tep sequel, but Bruce Campbell has balked at repeating his performance as an aged Elvis, which, at least for now, may derail the project… Fantastic Fest, like a stripper finishing her first song, has revealed part of this year's lineup, including Uwe Boll showing up for a screening of Postal, a film that promises full-frontal Dave Foley nudity. See the scandalous details at www.fantasticfest.comJim Carrey is set to star in the Texas-set I Love You Phillip Morris, a dark comedy based on a true-crime book written by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker… This Saturday, June 30, South by Southwest Film joins forces with the Dallas Video Festival for a screening at Marfa's Goode Crowley Theater. DVF's Bart Weiss will show shorts and videos from the 19th annual festival, while SXSW Producer Matt Dentler will bring Double Dare, Amanda Micheli's stuntwoman doc. The event starts at 7pm with food and wine. For more information, call 729-4979… The documentary John Henry Faulk: In His Own Words will preview on the Texas storyteller's birthday, Aug. 21, at Zilker Park. Cactus Pryor narrates… Texas-shot Coyote Funeral, about two brothers' journey across the Lone Star State on foot, has just been released on DVD… In the coming-soon category is Docubloggers, a part television show, part blog documentary filmmaking forum expected to premiere in the fall. More at… The Austin film "Chickenfüt," written and directed by Harrison Witt and produced by Jourdan Henderson, was named best short at the Salento Fear Fest in Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy, recently. The film stars Cyndi Williams (Room) and Jeffery MillsZ: A Zombie Musical will screen at the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, fittingly around Halloween… Bonnie Orr teaches an intensive screenwriting workshop during the Writers' League of Texas' Summer Writing Academy at Sul Ross State University in beautiful (and cooler) Alpine this July 23-27. More at

As the Chronicle went to press, the Austin Film Society announced that Catherine Parrington has accepted the position of director of operations for Austin Studios, taking the place of Rachel Blackney. Parrington – Sony Pictures Entertainment's manager of production services and studio operations for the past 13 years – starts on Monday, July 2; a notable order of business is overseeing $5 million in studio renovations as part of Proposition 4. "We are thrilled to have attracted an operations director of Catherine's caliber and experience to Austin Studios," says AFS Executive Director Rebecca Campbell. "Los Angeles' loss is Austin's gain." Look for an interview with Parrington in next week's issue.

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