Cinematexas Heads for That Big Screening in the Sky...

But festival season soldiers on

Rumors of Cinematexas' demise are not greatly exaggerated. After 11 years of programming everyone from Werner Herzog to Jim Jarmusch, the semivenerable UT-sponsored international avant-garde and short-film showcase, which would normally kick off Austin's insanely great film-festival season, is no more.

Cinematexas will be greatly missed (look for a Chronicle feature on its legacy in September), though that festival's passing alleviates, if only to a small degree, the annual scheduling nightmare that awaits legions of both local and visiting cinephiles, industry pros, and anyone else with plans to attend Fantastic Fest (Sept. 20-27), the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 6), and the Austin Film Festival & Conference (Oct. 11-18), plus, this year only, the nonprofit National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture Conference (Oct. 17-20).

It's only year three for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's Fantastic Fest (www.fantasticfest.com) – invited earlier this year to become an official member of the illustrious Méliès European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation – and it's bigger and better than ever. Attendees include The Girl Next Door director Gregory Wilson, Spiral director Adam Green, nearly the entire cast and crew of the highly anticipated gore-fest Five Across the Eyes, and enough dark and fantastic cinema and animation to blow your brain through the rear wall of the theatre (where it will most likely be devoured by zombies).

This year finds the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (www.agliff.org) celebrating two decades of both fringe and mainstream gender-bending films from across the planet. Call Me Troy, a documentary on the Metropolitan Community Church founder the Rev. Troy Perry, is locked as the opening-night film. Other notables include Eytan Fox's The Bubble, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo's Dark Blue Almost Black, and a pair of comic closers, Kate Clinton: The 20th Anniversary Tour and Andrea Meyerson's Laughing Matters ... the Men.

The Austin Film Festival and Conference (www.austinfilmfestival.com) is, after nearly 25 years, one of the most welcoming and hands-on useful fests for both established and first-time screenwriters. Hollywood OG-cum-provocateur Oliver Stone will be this year's recipient of the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award, and writer/director/force-of-nature John Milius will be on hand to receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

Austin will also host the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (www.namac.org), "a nonprofit association comprising a diverse range of services supporting independent media, including the support and advocacy of independent film, video, audio and online/multimedia arts." Expect producers, exhibitors, and university-based media-arts mavens to show up and schmooze until dawn while parsing the YouTube/MySpace revolution and more.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin film festival season, Cinematexas, Fantastic Fest, Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival & Conference, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture Conference

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