Jeff Nichols' Shotgun Stories wins the Narrative Jury Award at AFF; plus, Pras, NAMAC, and Willem Dafoe
Nichols Shoots and Scores
Count Jeff Nichols as the next hot Austin filmmaker. His Shotgun Stories, the tale of a feud between two sets of half-brothers after the death of their father, received the Narrative Feature Jury Award at the Austin Film Festival, which rates him not only a cash prize but an additional screening at 7:15pm, Thursday, Oct. 18. If you're reading this in time, rush to the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek, and see what all the fuss is about. And for the full list of AFF award winners, go to www.austinfilmfestival.com.
Is Austin cornering the market on tennis films? First there was Gary the Tennis Coach; now word is that Pras of the Fugees may come to town to star in the film 40 Love, a low-budget comedy about what happens when a hip, young tennis star gets hired as a country-club pro and gets locked in competition with the club's older tennis pro while courting the older guy's daughter. Production offices recently opened with a 30-day shoot expected to commence Nov. 5. Former Daily Texan entertainment writer Weezie Melancon directs.
Screens? We Got Your Screens
Cinemark is opening not one but two new multi-screen theatres in the Austin area this month. A 12-screen theatre opens Friday in the 1890 Ranch Shopping Center in Cedar Park; a 14-screen theatre opens on Highway 71 in Bee Cave on Oct. 26. Both venues include stadium seating.
Who's Your NAMAC Daddy?
The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture is conducting its next conference in Austin from Oct. 17 to 20 with keynote addresses by filmmaker Richard Linklater, al Jazeera English's Jean Garner, and the 21st Century Project's Gary Chapman. The conference is being spearheaded locally by the Austin School of Film @ Motion Media Arts Center in conjunction with NAMAC and the Austin Media Arts Council. Expect lots of cool screenings, music, deep thought, and frivolity. Linklater is curating a program of film shorts for a very special edition of the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow at the Salt Lick. More information at www.namac.org.
And the Rest ...
Is Fireflies in the Garden doing some local reshoots? Either that or Willem Dafoe, who joined Julia Roberts in the film's cast when it shot here earlier this year, just likes to shop at Whole Foods, where he was spotted more than once last week... Bob Ray's Roller Derby doc, Hell on Wheels, screens Friday at the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival in New York City... The soundtrack to Austin-shot Flatland: The Movie, with music by Kazimir Boyle, is out and available through CDBaby.com. Downloads are also available through iTunes and DigStation.com. A special educator edition can be purchased at FlatlandTheMovie.com... Already a Telly Award winner, Sniper '66, a doc about the Charles Whitman murders at the University of Texas Tower is now nominated for a Long Star Emmy. Filmmaker Whitney Milam, a public-history grad student at Texas State, is now at work on a film about the French legation that was commissioned by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
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As we were going to press, the Alamo Draft-house Cinema announced the grand opening of its Ritz venue (320 E. Sixth) taking place Nov. 1. For more information, see www.originalalamo.com and upcoming issues of the Chronicle.