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The Austin Film Festival gets Stoned; plus, a Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund update

Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone

Austin Film Festival gets Stoned

It's not a conspiracy theory. JFK director Oliver Stone will indeed receive the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award at the upcoming Austin Film Festival, which is also honoring screenwriter John Milius (Red Dawn) and a third filmmaking star soon to be revealed. The three will mingle with badge-holders who fork out additional dough for a special luncheon Oct. 13 at the Austin Club. It's the 14th year for the Austin Film Festival and its affiliated screenwriters conference, which run Oct. 11-18. Expect Stone to screen one of his films during the fest and discuss it with the audience.

Panelists to dish out film bucks

Documentarian Sarah Price, underground Chicago filmmaker James Fotopoulos, and Rachel Rosen, programmer for both Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival, make up the panel that will name grant winners from the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund offered through the Austin Film Society. Expect a record $150,000 in cash, goods, and services to go to emerging film and video artists from the state when the grants are announced Aug. 31. The trio will wade through 218 applications, the highest number ever. Meanwhile, AFS is welcoming the panelists with showings of Price's doc The Yes Men on Tuesday at 9:30pm and Fotopoulos' feature Back Against the Wall at 9:30pm Wednesday, both at the Regal Arbor Cinema. Admission is free, but you might want to reserve your ticket at Since 1996, the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund has awarded $600,000 in cash and about $75,000 in goods and services to 222 film and video projects. It's funded via benefit film premieres, private and corporate donations, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

SXSW alumni get seen

HBO has picked up Run Granny Run, the Documentary Feature Audience Award winner at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival, with plans for it to premiere Oct. 18 and airing again on Election Day, Nov. 6. The doc follows Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who, at 90 in 1999, walked across the country in support of campaign finance reform. The film was directed by Marlo Poras, who also made Mai's America, about a Vietnamese exchange student. Run Granny Run also has gotten a DVD deal with release expected on the Arts Alliance America's Morgan Spurlock Presents label. Meanwhile, Joe Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs, a buzz film at the last SXSW and the source of those talky trailers before fest film showings, will be available as video on demand on IFC in Theaters starting this week. The film opened this week as well in New York City.

And the rest ...

Another round of movies for the upcoming – Sept. 20-27 – Fantastic Fest has been revealed. See the skinny (and scary) at Check out Gindie, a new social networking website for independent filmmakers based out of Austin at It's the brainchild of Daniel Benner... Austin actor Curtis Wayne has a recurring role as Cheo on Fox's Prison Break, which is shooting currently in Dallas... Duane Graves and Justin Meeks are having a cast and crew screening of their horror film, The Wild Man of the Navidad, Sept. 9 at noon in Pleasanton at the Plestex 4... Cover girl Kat Candler (see p.51) has a few openings left for her Script to Screen and Teen Filmmaking classes, which begin in September through the Austin School of Film. More info can be found at

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Texas film news, Austin Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, Run Granny Run, Hannah Takes the Stairs, GINDIE, Curtis Wayne

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