Film News

Festival huzzahs

The first tangible signs of the writers' strike in Austin? How about a demontration – not an actual picket, we're assured – in front of the Paramount Theater on South Congress, from noon to 2pm, Thursday, Dec. 13. It's part of a nationwide Day of Action by the Writers Guild... Sure, the never-ending Writers Guild strike has Friday Night Lights crew members twiddling their collective thumbs with no end in sight while the show's actors fill their time busking at car shows, but this holiday season everything Austin and Texan filmic is raking in the noms/awards. For your consideration: Body of War, University of Texas film prof Ellen Spiro's Iraq war saga, was named best documentary by the National Board of Review and, as we told you previously, is short-listed for the Oscars. The NBR named Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men, which was shot partially in Marfa, its best film, ensemble cast, and adapted screenplay. The NBR is a group of film educators and other professionals with no official Hollywood ties, but their picks often presage the Oscars... Jayne Mansfield, Thomas Haden Church, and the film Urban Cowboy are the first announced 2008 Texas Film Hall of Fame inductees. Mariska Hargitay will accept her mom's award, while Debra Winger will explain the mechanical-bull phenomenon sparked by Urban Cowboy, and University of North Texas grad Church will find a receptive audience for tales of the college adventures that inspired his Rolling Kansas. Uh, he might mention his Oscar nom for Sideways, too. Expect more Hall of Fame names in January and a ceremony in March to benefit the Austin Film Society's many wonderful programs... Charlie Koones, publisher of Variety, ranks Fantastic Fest as one of the Top 10 most "interesting and exciting" festivals, which he defines as the ones that aim to provoke their audiences rather than tame them. Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse kingpin and FF point man, responds, "Long live the relentless pursuit of pissing off your audience!"... For those of you who haven't yet heard, Austin's Sundance Film Festival class of 2008 includes Margaret Brown's competition doc The Order of Myths, David and Nathan Zellner's Goliath, and Baghead from Jay and Mark Duplass (sure, they don't live here anymore, but we still claim them as our wayward children). Oh, and P.J. Raval shot Sundance competition doc Trouble the Water, about New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina... Film Independent's Spirit Awards nominees? Chris Eska's August Evening is up for the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for less than $500,000, while Laura Dunn and her Austin environmental epic, The Unforeseen, is up for the Truer Than Fiction Award. The awards take place Feb. 23... Austin Film Festival film program director Kelly Williams was honored for excellence at the International Film Festival Summit in New York City earlier this month... Hey, somebody's working! Austin native Ray Prewitt has a part in Jim Sheridan-directed Brothers, now filming in, gulp, New Mexico, and starring Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tobey Maguire.

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Film news, Body of War, Ellen Spiro, Jayne Mansfield, Texas Hall of Fame, Thomas Haden Church, Urban Cowboy, Debra Winger, Mariska Hargitay, Charlie Koones, Tim League, Fantastic Fest, Chris Eska, August Evening, Laura Dunn, The Unforeseen, Kelly Williams, Ray Prewitt, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

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