Film News

Incentives update, Linklater's baseball film, and what Tom Copeland's been up to

Coming Soon: Film Incentives, Linklater Shoot

Could Richard Linklater be the first beneficiary of an expanded Texas film incentives program? The idea isn't too far-fetched given that Gov. Rick Perry is expected by the time you read this to have signed the enabling legislation that will change the current 5% offered by the program to a flexible amount determined by the Texas Film Commission. Linklater spilled the beans at a recent Dazed and Confused screening in support of Brewster McCracken's mayoral bid that he'll be shooting a new semiautobiographical film, centered on the first days of college for a baseball player, in the Austin area this summer. According to, Linklater referred to it as a "sort of spiritual sequel" to Dazed but not an actual sequel. Here's hoping the soundtrack includes the Judy's, Skunks, Standing Waves, and other Texas bands of that era. As mentioned here before, the big film incentives battle is yet to come – that's the fight to triple the program's current two-year funding total of $20 million. Programs supported by Perry (the Film Commission operates out of his office) are expected to be a hard sell with the Lege. However, millions still remain unspent from the original outlay of two years ago, and those could go to projects such as Linklater's, which mirrors the auteur's experiences playing baseball at Sam Houston State. Don't be surprised if Robert Rodriguez shows up at Perry's incentives-legislation signing to announce that his upcoming Nerverackers will indeed be shot in Austin.

Ready for Film Boot Camp, Recruit?

Tom Copeland, former Texas Film commish and now an instructor at Texas State, wants would-be film folk to get the straight story on the biz. Thus Texas State's Department of Theatre and Dance is offering Film 101, a one-week industry boot camp, June 21-26 in San Marcos. Another session is planned earlier in June in Lubbock. "I've noticed that most people don't really know how the business works and how to get your foot in the door," Copeland says. "Plenty of schools and workshops stress directing, cinematography, editing, and maybe writing, which is all good and fine, and we cover that, too, but those jobs are the most sought-after and most difficult to get, and there's generally only one of each on every film. Meanwhile, you have hundreds of other jobs that offer the opportunity to network and work your way up the ladder." Tuition is $865 and doubtless worth every penny. More info is at, or e-mail Copeland at

And the Rest …

The Austin Film Society is accepting applications for at least $95,000 in 2009 Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund grants. More info is at One of those grants aided production of Michel Scott's documentary, Over the Hills and Far Away, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and has now been picked up for distribution by Zeitgeist Films. It will be retitled The Horse Boy, the name of Rupert Isaacson's book. The film will be released in the fall, when Isaacson's book about the extreme efforts he took to help his son with autism is also set to be released in paperback.

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Texas film incentives, Richard Linklater, Tom Copeland, Film 101, Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, Michel Scott, Linklater baseball movie, The Horse Boy, Rupert Isaacson

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