Film News

Carolyn Banks makes her directorial debut in Bastrop

Frightful Times in Film-Friendly Bastrop

Add Bastrop to the short but growing list (joining Smithville and Nacogdoches) of communities sporting the Texas Film Commission's film-friendly certification, which requires local passage of an agency-approved film policy. The latest evidence is the horror film Invicta, which River Road Studio and Upstart, the nonprofit that runs Bastrop Community Access Television, are shooting in October. Carolyn Banks, best known for her series of comic mysteries, wrote and will direct the film, which she describes as funny with a love story woven in. Austin actors Dawn Erin, Jessica Gardner, and Dionne Ross play key roles. Gardner and director of photography Mike Willey will also work with students from the Bastrop and Smithville school districts who will get a firsthand look at the filmmaking process. Look for frightful special effects, including a fire-ant attack, from Meredith Johns of Hawgfly.

Danes Film Seeks Groovy Mustaches

If you live in the Austin, Bastrop, Georgetown, Lockhart, or Luling areas, the folks behind HBO's Temple Grandin biopic want you. We told you recently that Claire Danes will star in the life story of Grandin, an advocate for both autism and animal welfare (she designed the "humane" slaughterhouse). Now comes the extras casting call. They particularly want men with mustaches and anybody with a cool Sixties hairstyle. In other hints about the production, they want real cowboys in Driftwood and Jarrell who can move cattle through water and teens who can ride horseback. Also, women who resemble 5-foot-6-inch Danes are needed. Send a photo to

And the Rest …

Reel Women wants to turn your script into a short film. The story must have a strong female lead. Postmark deadline is Sept. 29. See more at Austin-filmed Kabluey is out on DVD this month… Comedian John O'Connell (no relation to me, but I do welcome his groupies) reports that The Abduction of Jesse Bookman, which he co-wrote with Steven Chester Prince, took the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the 2008 American Black Film Festival in Los Angeles. O'Connell and Prince also co-wrote the Austin-shot thriller Pineapple, which is out on DVD through Maverick Entertainment… Brent Joseph of Austin has directed a follow-up to his short doc "A Loud Color," which was produced by the nonprofit New Orleans Video Access Center in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Both will be included on the eighth annual Media That Matters Film Festival anthology DVD… Tickets go on sale Sept. 22 at $50 to Texas Motion Picture Alliance members for the spaghetti Western fundraising event slated for Nov. 7 at Star Hill Ranch. On Oct. 6, ticket prices go up to $60 and will be available to the general public. More at

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Bastrop film, Invicta, Carolyn Banks, River Road Studio, Upstart, Mike Willey, Dawn Erin, Jessica Gardner, Dionne Ross, Meredith Johns, Hawgfly, Claire Danes, Temple Grandin, Brent Joseph, John O'Connell, The Abduction of Jesse Bookman

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