Film News

Casting news for Terrence Malick's new film, meet the new AFS communications manager, and more

New 'Life' for Malick film

I told you back in October that Terrence Malick was quietly casting for a film to be shot in Austin in the spring. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that film is the long-gestated Tree of Life, with Heath Ledger and Sean Penn in talks to star. Bob Hudgins of the Texas Film Commission would neither confirm nor deny reports the film will shoot in Austin this coming March. "We remain hopeful," he said. The script, once known as Q, is one Malick is said to have been working on since the Seventies and originally was a drama set in the Middle East during World War I with a prologue set in prehistoric times. In 2005, Malick was close to shooting the film at least partially in India with Colin Farrell starring. As recently as last year there was talk that part of the shooting might occur in Malick's hometown of Austin. Penn appeared in Malick's The Thin Red Line, and Tree of Life's production company, River Road Entertainment, made Brokeback Mountain, starring Ledger.

AFS welcomes Varnum

Now charged with keeping film writers like yours truly up to date on Austin Film Society goings-on is Agnes Varnum, the group's new communications manager. She comes with a solid film background centered primarily on documentaries and will be responsible for getting out word on a variety of AFS programs and screenings. She'll continue as an IndieWire contributor, as well. Varnum previously was a marketing and publicity associate for First Run/Icarus Films and associate director for the Center for Social Media at American University.

And the rest ...

"The Second Coming," a University of Texas thesis film by Ya'Ke, won the, gulp, $20,000 HBO Short Film Award at the recent American Black Film Festival. The film will begin airing on HBO in February. He is currently raising funds for his debut feature, Stolen Dreams, which he hopes to shoot in the fall of 2008... Some say the Austin film scene was born with the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre back in the Seventies. You can see the first film and its first sequel Nov. 17 at 7pm on the lawn of Luling's Francis-Ainsworth House. Allen Danziger (Jerry the van driver in the original film) and Bill Johnson (the sequel's Leatherface) will be there to creep you out thoroughly... Paul Bright wants you to add his film Theft to your Netflix queue. The comedy formerly known as Theft of the Drag Queen's Wig had its premiere recently in Houston. Next up is the European Film Market... Ken Johnson's Spanish-language and Austin-shot feature, El Abandonado!, will be available for rent from Netflix and evil, evil Blockbuster starting Dec. 12. He's currently working on follow-up Del Mala Sangre.

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Texas film news, Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, Agnes Varnum, "The Second Coming", Ya'Ke Smith, Stolen Dreams, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Allen Danziger, Bill Johnson, Paul Bright, Theft, Theft of the Drag Queen's Wig, Ken Johnson, El Abandonado!, Del Mala Sangre

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